Mobile Media Showdown: Tablet Vs Smartphone

23/12/2013 12:31 GMT | Updated 19/02/2014 10:59 GMT

How today's smartphone and tablet behaviours are changing the ads we see

Smartphones and tablets have quickly become a part of our everyday life. More than half of Brits use a smartphone or tablet whilst watching TV, 81% of under 25s sleep with their phone next to them on the bed and a shocking 35% of tablet owners admit to using their device in the bathroom. As mobile devices have become more ingrained in our lives, patterns have emerged around how we use our smartphones and tablets. These behaviours, in turn, are changing the ways brands and advertisers communicate with you.


When it comes to tablet devices Content is King. People primarily use their devices for longer periods of interaction, with over half of tablet owners using their tablet devices during "dwell time", which typically occurs in the evening.

However, getting a tablet user's attention is difficult. Expect to see less traditional adverts and more immersive, rich media ads that are seamlessly integrated into your content. In fact, you might not even know you're viewing an ad because the quality matches the quality of your tablet experience.

If Content is King on tablets then Context is definitely Queen. Tablets are often shared devices among families or colleagues. Smart companies will recognize this, and deliver messaging that is relevant to whoever is using the device.

Increasingly tablet users are die-hard gamers. The "power-ups" or credits you receive while playing a game for downloading an app or viewing an ad are called "incentivized media." Incentivized media is a common tactic used by brands to ensure the user is given some sort of value in their interaction with advertising.

Tablet usage is fundamentally driven by "watched" content. Tablet users are nearly three times more likely to watch video on their device compared to smartphone users, with 1 in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily on their device. So expect to see more and more video ads.

Tablets are an everywhere device and follow their users on and off the plane. Expect to see offers that target your travel preferences and your location, in real time.


Smartphone users care about what their friends think and mobile users act on others' recommendations and opinions, whether that be in the form of social media or review destinations. Increasingly, advertisers will make sure that messaging is socially friendly and relevant to your expressed interests.

Mobile users most often turn to the easiest channel that meets their needs. In fact, there is a 50/50 time split between mobile app usage and mobile web usage. Marketers are beginning to recognise the difference between user behaviour across app and web, so you'll start to see offers and ads based on how you interact with each of them differently. For example, if you're more likely to browse on the mobile web site and buy in the browser, you'll likely get more coupons and offers in the app.

Mobile phones are key devices for playing games, socializing and consuming content. The cross-screen experience has begun. Expect to see more and more brands delivering integrated campaigns across all your mobile devices (and into your desktop and set-top box experiences as well).

Mobile users are receptive to coupons and offers. Most mobile users find these the most useful because they are delivered at the right place at the right time. Mobile coupons are getting much smarter about where and when you're most likely to use them, using location-based targeting.

Consumers' mobile devices are cluttered with apps. They all want your attention. More apps are going to make use of in-app notifications that involve cross-screen campaigns to establish more meaningful, sustained relationships across your digital screens.

In the tablet versus smartphone debate, both consumers and advertisers are winning. As companies learn more about the people they're reaching, we expect to see more relevant ads that look more like content on both platforms. If you're looking for timely, targeted by-the-minute deals, look to your smartphone during the day. In the evening, you'll see tablet ads that blend more seamlessly into the content of the tablet apps you spend hours with at home. Overall, adverts are becoming more beautiful, more immersive and more useful. You may not even notice them as they blur the line between apps and ads.