At last week's American Magazine Conference in Chicago, much of the discussion focused on how magazines could take advantage of the iPad and smartphones to sell ads.
“The tablet,” said Joe McCambley, co-founder of Web design firm Wonderfactory and a speaker at the conference, “is the greatest advertising vehicle ever invented.” He pointed out how the device offered audio, video and text in a mobile package.
Another speaker at the conference, Anthea Stratigos, CEO of analyst firm Outsell, presented the results of a survey her company conducted on how consumers, advertisers and magazine publishers are using tablets and smartphones. Outsell surveyed about 400 consumers, 200 advertisers and 50 publishers online this summer for the study.
Consumers who have these devices often use them for work (presenting opportunities for b-to-b marketers), are affluent and can't get enough of their devices. “It's like their hand, their third arm,” Stratigos said. “It's an extra appendage.”
Consumers who have a smartphone said they spent an average of more than 25% of their waking hours interacting with the device, although the number of hours per day varied by brand: Android (5.3 hours), BlackBerry (4.6 hours) and iPhone (4.5 hours).
Respondents on average said they used their tablets less often than their smartphones. IPad users said they used the device about 2.6 hours per day; eReader users said they interacted with the device 1.9 hours per day.
Consumers plan to buy more of these devices. For instance, Outsell found that 24% of those surveyed plan to buy an iPad.
Plenty of other evidence from the survey indicates that mobile device users rely on these tools for information. They have an average of 30.9 apps on their devices, 5.2 of which they use daily and another 8.7 weekly. (On the downside, they seldom if ever use the 17.0 other apps they have.)
While the Outsell study found that consumers interact with their mobile devices frequently, advertisers have yet to catch up. Fifty-six percent of the marketers responding to the survey said they were currently doing no mobile app or browser advertising.
Many advertisers were at least starting to make a move: 17% said they were considering it, 9% said they were in planning and development stages, 9% said it had become mainstream and integrated into their marketing, 6% were experimenting and 3% said it was their dominant focus.
The survey also found that 57% of marketers went directly to consumers with their mobile advertising; 23% used networks and exchanges. Just 21% placed mobile advertising with publishing brands.
Stratigos said Outsell saw the same thing happen with the Internet, as marketers have spent billions producing content that is placed on their websites. She advised media companies—in addition to creating mobile advertising vehicles—to also develop “mobile marketing services” to help marketers reach their customers and prospects.
“Our research is telling us it's very early days,” she said.