Increasing diversity in the tablet market

The iPad's dominance of the tablet marketplace may be slipping, and that could mean that brand advertisers may need to rethink their ad strategies in relation to tablets.

Posted on Oct 5, 2012 by YuMe

Companies using online video advertising have been wise to target tablets, as they are one of the most popular devices for watching digital ads. A comScore report from June found that 53 percent of Americans over 13 who owned a tablet used the technology to watch video content at least once a month from February to April of this year. J.D. Power and Associates found in June that tablets were the most popular handheld device for viewing paid content. And, the Interactive Advertising Bureau reported in July that about 47 percent of tablet owners engage with an advertisement on the device at least once a week.

"Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in history and are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world both on-the-go and perhaps most notably, in the home," Mark Donovan of comScore said in a statement. "It’s not surprising to see that once consumers get their hands on their first tablet, they are using them for any number of media habits including TV viewing."

However, when it came to tablets, the long held assumption among video advertisers was that the only device that mattered was the iPad. The flagship tablet computer from Apple has dominated the marketplace since it was first introduced in 2010. In August, Gartner reported that the iPad had a more than 61 percent market share, with 73 million units expected to have been sold by the end of the year. Android-powered tablets make up only about 32 percent of the marketplace, with close to 38 million Android tablets expected to have been sold by 2012, The Associated Press reported.

Yet, the iPad's dominance of the tablet marketplace may be slipping, and that could mean that brand advertisers may need to rethink their strategies in relation to the device. An October report from the Pew Research Center found that the percent of tablet owners with an Apple product has been noticeably slipping since 2011. Last year, 81 percent of tablets owned were iPads and about 15 percent were Android devices. In 2012, 52 percent of all owned tablets were iPads, with the rest being Android tablets. The numbers also do not take into account two of the most recently introduced tablets – Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD – as they were not yet release when the study was conducted.

The shift comes in relation to the increasing popularity of Android-powered devices, with non-iPad tablets becoming less expensive and with users of Android smartphones wanting to maintain the same browsing system across all of their mobile devices, according to ZDNet.

What the shift means to brand advertisers
Internet video advertising already needs to accommodate a variety of screens as part of a successful campaign. Consumers no longer rely on one source for their media, as now smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and computers are all a part of the mix. For example, a study from August showed that 90 percent of people used at least two different devices when accomplishing a task online, GigaOm reported. The Pew Research Center's findings suggest that brand advertisers must now also consider screens for Android-powered tablets.

Another aspect to consider is that advertising on mobile devices will differ based on the size of the screen. While the iPad has a 10-inch screen, many popular Android tablets have a seven-inch or a five-inch screen. While the difference may seem minute, according to CNET a variance in screen size can alter how users see a video or image since the dimensions have to be altered to fit the specific device.