Tablet Ownership racing ahead of all other devices: What does this mean for marketers?

There are distinct patterns of behaviour between mobile, tablet and desktop usage that the smartest digital marketers are beginning to use to their advantage. Are most of your users flicking through their phones before they go to sleep or first thing after waking? Do your users have a second screen while watching TV to read up on what they are watching?

According to eMarketer, this year, as many as 1.06 billion tablet devices are expected to be in use, worldwide. By 2018, that number is expected to reach 1.43 billion. Tablets are not nearly as popular as smartphones (among online adults, 80% now own a smartphone) as for a number of reasons most notably use for communication and of course their practical size. A key point is that tablets are still considered by many to be luxury items, while many smartphones are much more affordable. However, people who stream video content on their tablets take advantage of the larger screen size, which makes the experience potentially much more engaging than smartphones. In addition, the device can be used to browse the Internet more easily directly or via enhanced apps with comparative usage spiking in the evening.

So, while tablets aren't quite as practical as smartphones, tablets have a wide range of uses that set them apart and make them very important to digital marketers due to the potential for enhanced engagement. Companies should begin advertising on mobile devices as part of their media plans and target tablet users specifically. This particular audience is unique in their requirements and also clearly expanding at a fast pace. Mobile video content that is designed to display on this platform can be a great way to connect with a potentially more affluent consumer base.

The growth rate is predicted to have slowed to 7.9% by 2018 but this is still a significant volume of devices with most of these expected to be in the developed world. A key reason for the projected slowdown in growth is that owners are choosing to hand devices down to other members of their family or sell on to others removing their requirement to buy a new one. Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said: “The lifetime of tablets is being extended – they are shared out among family members, and software upgrades, especially for iOS devices, keep the tablets current.” This makes it very important for marketers and technology providers to consider how they track devices. If a device is linked to a user and no deduplication is run against the data there is a real danger of cross pollination of behavioural data, as with mobile in a tablet world good deduplication based on a unique identifier is key. This key consideration is only becoming more and more important in an Omni Channel world.

So the message to marketers is:
'Don't be afraid to change the way you publish content or when you send an email. A big prediction for 2015 is that many more marketers will take advantage of the opportunities presented by mobile and tablet use’.

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