Emerging TechnologyMobileBridging the Gap Between On-the-Go and On-the-Couch

Bridging the Gap Between On-the-Go and On-the-Couch

Making sure your content doesn't get stuck in limbo between smartphone, full-size tablet, and desktop consumption.

A few weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of viewers huddled around their screens in hopes of catching a first glimpse at Apple’s newest tablet, the iPad Mini – a 7.9-inch tablet that has been compared to the likes of the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7.

It’s obvious that Apple’s intention with the iPad Mini is to rival its smaller and, arguably, more mobile competitors in the marketplace, but advertisers have historically described the iPad as an “on-the-couch companion,” largely used in a lean-back setting. So how will a device, two inches smaller than its forefathers, change the consumer’s innate tablet behavior?

Typically we think of mobile consumers as being rushed and distracted, always on the go. This often results in marketers stripping out features under the assumption that consumers won’t spend as much time with the content on a mobile device. Contrarily, we build rich, interactive experiences on tablets that often have as much, if not more, content than desktops to satisfy the browsing behavior of tablet users.

According to mobile research performed by Harris Interactive last year, 85 percent of users expect the mobile experience to be at least as good as the desktop version, and a 2011 Pew study found that 28 percent of mobile web users said they rarely or never use a desktop anymore. Meaning, we make too many assumptions based on screen size.

Not only are we developing experiences based on these assumptions, but we are also using these to inform the type of ads being served to consumers. For example, tablet ads often include whole-screen takeovers, ads that drive people to e-commerce sites, and other such experiences made for browsing. Looking at the three mobile mindsets of consumers – “I’m multitasking,” “I’m bored,” and “I’m local” – brands should be giving consumers as much content on mobile as they would on the desktop, letting the consumer decide how much time she wants to spend with it based on her current mindset.

But now we have these hybrid models where content can easily get stuck in limbo between smartphone, full-size tablet, and desktop consumption. Marketers and mobile advertisers will have to be increasingly more flexible to solve how to bridge the gap between adding more on-the-go features without affecting the on-the-couch mentality of current tablet users.

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