Sizing up the iConomy's challenges and opportunities.
Android, Motorola Zoom, iPad, iOS, and iPad 2. What do these operating systems, and tablet devices mean to marketers? How are marketers able to effectively reach consumers using tablets?
Steve Eisenberg: What are challenges that marketers face when trying to tap the potential of tablets?
Harry Kargman: The issue with any new medium is creating a uniform way to both standardize new advertising campaigns and measure performance.At the beginning of any medium, brand marketers have difficulty quantifying the value of their reach in that medium. The goal should be to standardize on industry-agreed inventory types and create a uniform standard to both buy and measure effectiveness on those ad campaigns. Of course the challenge is that as content and campaigns become more unique, creative and engaging, marketers are challenged with quantifying their success.
Chuck Martin: Well, one of the biggest issues right now is the market saturation. One, it's not a large enough market yet. Two, the patterns of usage are not yet fully developed because people who get tablets, they don't yet know what to do with them, so they're trying to do various things, and then they explore and expand from there.
The market needs to get a little bit matured, if you will. You had Apple with iAd generating a lot of initial creativity that belonged to the tablet, but a lot of commercialization, there wasn't the audience for it. So when you look at the size of the tablet market, say versus the mobile market, you had estimates of between 18 to 20 million units sold last year, and by the end of this year, it will be somewhere 50 [million] to 55 million. When you look at the cell phone penetration, it's really 5 billion. So it's a market maturity issue, so it's just a matter of time, that's really the biggest thing right now.
SE: Choosing a traditional interactive marketing agency, a mobile marketing agency, or trying to do in-house. What's the norm?
CM: It depends on what organizations are trying to achieve, but agencies are all over this, and they have been since the very beginning…New York, Chicago, California…so, it's not like it's a surprise. The tablet is very attractive to somebody in advertising as a vehicle…The advertising market bought into it big time - the brands did, the agencies did, the marketers did. So it really depends on the actual campaign, and it could be one way or the other. It could be a mobile agency, or it could be the mobile division of a traditional agency, and both exist right now.
SE: The issue of bandwidth or lack thereof will impact how marketers reach consumers using tablets in the future. Example: Will long-term evolution [LTE] networks reach a saturation point where rich media may take on a different form?
HK: With domestic carriers innovating and aggressively competing to scale next generation WiMAX and LTE networks across the country, mobile will experience a fundamental shift in network access and speeds. When such "4G" networks and beyond come to fruition, consumers will benefit from standard, wireless speeds which rival or maybe even exceed current typical at-home cable Internet packages. These networks are built for high levels of usage and extreme bandwidth, which allows mobile publishers and marketers to tap into new possibilities. Combined with new app framework and device capabilities, such networks give real fuel towards a future with real-time, cross platform web apps that function just as well as native applications.
What's even more exciting is that mobile and tablet devices will also accelerate technical innovations alongside network growth. Multicore processors, crisp high-resolution displays, powerful graphic rendering, " pro-sumer" quality cameras, and polished operating systems open up a wealth of possibility. I am fascinated with the evolution of rich media. I can easily imagine progress from today's fragmented mobile video transcoding technologies to standardized HTML5 in-browser video players, which can dynamically change video content and advertising based on targeting and audience. But even further, the network and hardware improvements will allow for real time interaction of mass audiences with extensive creative. There may be a point where rich media simply becomes mini-rich web apps within a greater app or web app.
Kargman identified three elements that are needed to accelerate technical innovations alongside network growth. He said they include:
- Handset processing power/clarity of video screens.
- Capabilities of HTML5/app platform. By capabilities of HTML5, he is referring to the adoption of HTML5 across browser standards and the extension of HTML5 functionality and capabilities as mainstream and big technology players adopt and push forward HTML5 standards. In addition, there will be app platforms that will leverage HTML5 and an assortment of other technologies to make easy-to-deploy HTML5 app frameworks.
- Total bandwidth with networks like LTE. By total bandwidth, he is referring to total available network data resources. The extension from dial-up speeds of 56 kbits per second to fast wired ethernet connections at 100 Mbits per second, and then taking those speeds that were once wired and making that bandwidth available wherever you are with next generation wireless networks.
There's more ground to cover on the topic. I'd like to hear what your thoughts are, by posting comments below.
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Steve Eisenberg is principal of Media Resource Networks (MRN). MRN is a consulting firm specializing in business development and Internet strategy with expertise in online video and mobile marketing.
He also worked for seven years at the Walt Disney Co. He developed online marketing strategies for ABC Entertainment advertising clients, including General Motors, Procter & Gamble, and Barnes & Noble, resulting in increased ad revenue by $1 million. Steve also received a business citation from Michael Dell on success of a partnership between ABCNews.com, Microsoft, and Dell for producing an online promotion with Good Morning America.
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