THE BLOG

iPhone 6 - Does a Bigger Screen Mean Bigger Ads?

17/10/2014 12:35 BST | Updated 16/12/2014 10:59 GMT

The new 4.7 inch screen is one of the iPhone 6's main features. Not only is it bigger, it also has higher resolution, with 38 percent more pixels than the iPhone 5s and curvy glass that meets seamlessly with the aluminum back to make the phone look slimmer.

So a bigger and sharper screen for iPhone 6 users, surely this can only be a good thing? Based on my family's reactions there are mixed views.

As the iPhone 6 made its debut on the nightly news, I thought the larger screen make it look like a Samsung or Android knock off. My Grandma said "It's like forcing people to carry small TV's in their pockets!" And, always the cynic, my mother asked, "Does this mean we will be bombarded with bigger ads"?

The family turned to me and waited for my answer, since I am the appointed tech nerd. I explained how different ad delivery mechanisms can influence ad size. Here is a summary of my main points.

Ads in the Apps

Free mobile apps including online games, earn money by delivering ads behind the scenes while apps are being used. Mobile in-app ads are growing at about 60 percent a year and are expected to surpass PC online display ad revenue by 2017, according to a report by market researchers IDC.

At the moment the ads are usually a slither at the bottom of the screen, so as not to obstruct the users view or interfere with the usability of the app. It has taken a few years for marketers to all near-enough agree on a suitable size. Big screens will mean advertisers have more freedom to make ads bigger without obstructing the users view but standardisation of new ad sizes will be slow and likely take a year or more to adapt. Eventually, ads will take up more of the screen in a ratio similar to the amount they take up today.

Ads in the mobile Web

Advertisers can also reach mobile users while they browse the web on their iPhone. In this case mobile ads appear on the screen the same way that ads appear on a desktop computer, just with the limitation of the smaller screen.

Mobile web pages were designed to be user friendly so they will resist having mobile ads that clutter up the screen. This reduces the quality of the web page and the value of the advertising space. If consumer focus is distracted by too many ads, the value of each ad goes down.

However, they will take advantage of the higher resolution to make ads prettier, and the additional space to make them more interactive and creative. As the canvas of the screen opens up we will see more inspiring ads with the added advantage of not having to squint to read the tagline.

But it was what my Grandma said that got me thinking the most, my eyes fell upon the device I use as a lifeline to the online world I adore. Are we really carrying TV's around in our pocket?

It appears we are when you consider the explosion of online video content, the Channel 4 players, the MSN players, the Youtube's of this world which are commanding more and more of my attention, my little screen in my pocket is becoming more and more like a TV.

By watching TV in this new way, what will this bigger screen size mean for the TV in my pocket?

It will mean more space to engage with the TV ads with the advantage that I can interact with them. I am able to swipe and press on hotspots in the video. I could even buy that new pair of running shoes from inside the ad just before the latest episode of the apprentice comes on, bringing new opportunities to engage with adverts that my Grandma's generation never dreamed of.

I applaud Apple's decision to increase the size of the screen on the new iPhone. The new screen size is about enjoying immersive video more than just browsing the web and just like my TV I can actually look forward to watching elegant, innovative ads, as well as higher resolution video content.

This blog was co-authored by Gregory Cristal, Director of Global Accounts, Sizmek