So the festive season is over.
We are all back to our work stations happily refreshed to take on the year. The trials and tribulations of 2012 are long forgotten...and what's that? We now all have shiny new tablet devices protruding from our trendy satchel bags.
And for once this isn't just a 'media twat' phenomenon. The last time I wrote about the tablet craze was a full eighteen months ago. Then I admitted to getting the iPhad demand curve wrong and was being quietly impressed by the likes of Wired and GQ creating user-friendly bespoke apps.
Fast-forward to Christmas 2012 and it seems the early adopter vanguard has been swiftly followed by the late majority wave.
Using omnipresent and powerful press and television advertising campaigns in the run up to Christmas, the purveyors of these wonderful, portable devices peddled their wares expertly to the ever expectant UK audience.
Whether it was the ability to play Angry Birds on a nine inch screen, tweet from the comfort of your own sofa whilst Tom Daley splashes down or the chance to use your TV catch-up app whilst waiting for the bus - the UK listened and bought in their droves.
The beautiful iPad, the nifty Nexus, the slinky Samsung and the 'mazing Microsoft Surface all flew from the shelves. According to the very reliable Daily Mail, twenty one and half million devices were sold in 2012 making the tablet uptake quicker than any device that preceded it.
What does it mean for advertising agencies and publishers? Is it just another screen that needs existing image or video-based advertising repurposed for a larger screen? That certainly seems to be the case so far with the majority of commercial activity that I have come across.
Perhaps it is because the usage research that I have seen thus far is extremely inconclusive in regard to the prevailing trends in how we choose to use our new electronic friends, but if I was to make a prediction - as is oh so popular to do at this time of the year - the in-app commercial community seems to be the one most likely to prevail, at least in the short to medium term.
There are a few examples of independents thriving on this sector - and Essence and Fetch are the two names that I hear most often on the agency side. They seem to be companies who are making nimble progress exploiting this new growth.
However, unlike search, and to a lesser degree social (both of which caught the big media factories unaware), the big groups seem ready and able to deal with the addition of tablets to target audience media consumption patterns and therefore to client media plans.
However, back to the issue of what this activity should look like, obviously repurposed existing ads can be used very easily on all the tablets via the open web and by in-app advertising; but I feel the real opportunity is wider than that and especially for the media owner community.
I have used this column previously to talk about the power of bespoke commercial content created by publishers. The rise of the tablet is another reason why all forward thinking media owners will be resourcing both their tablet development team and their creative solution department.
Of course critical mass will be crucial in order to show success for bespoke applications or content but this needn't be mass market. I can see this being as applicable for a strong niche upmarket publisher - let's say with the Luxury sector, or indeed with a B2B brand if they again can offer an engaging and popular solution to a relevant brand.
Whilst the written word and audio visual content are (and due to human biology are likely to remain) the most prevalent message type, the combination of touch screen, big data, interactive and click through real-time world of the tablet should bring big benefits to all brave enough to invest in this sector...before the next Big Thing comes along.
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