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What’s the Future of Advertising on Tablets?

Apple’s debut of the iPad in 2010 ignited a firestorm of consumer interest. By 2015, Pew reported that more than 45 million Americans owned a tablet, a fact that also grabbed the attention of advertisers. But these days, all is not well in the tablet market. Sales of new tablets have seen steep drops, and Extreme Reach’s own Video Advertising Benchmarks Reports reveal a downward trend in ad impressions delivered to tablet devices. But even if it seems tempting for advertisers to hit the “off switch” on tablet-focused ad campaigns, there are still lots of potential opportunities. Here are a few ways for advertisers to evolve their future tablet approach.

Consider the second-screen opportunity
Tablets may not have the same luster with consumers as a few years ago. But even if tablets are no longer the sole focus of consumer attention, they remain an important component of overall media consumption habits. Consider the example of “second-screen” behavior: a recent study by Adobe Digital Insights found that 60% or more of consumers between the ages of 18 and 49 engage with second-screen devices during commercial breaks. Advertisers interested in engaging this audience might consider complementing their TV buys with second screen content designed with tablet and smartphone users in mind. It’s exactly the approach taken by many advertisers during this year’s Super Bowl.

 Make mobile the focus
Another reason behind the supposed decline in tablets is that hardware-makers continue to produce smartphones with bigger screens. Often called “phablets” (phone + tablet), these smartphones offer the perfect blend of portability with larger screen sizes (many are up to six inches). For advertisers, this means there’s more opportunity to target former or lapsed tablet users via traditional “mobile” campaigns. Whereas in the past, many advertisers made a point of creating separate tablet-focused ad budgets, it’s increasingly possible to reach this audience via mobile devices.

Target tablet-loving business users
Despite the overall decline in tablet usage, not all consumers have given up on tablets. According to research from Forrester, a growing segment of business users are warming up to tablets as they use the devices to complement their office work on PCs. For advertisers hoping to reach this growing audience of tablet-loving office workers, this might mean more business-focused ad creative or more ad buys with business-themed publishers.

Tablets continue to make up an important portion of many consumers’ daily media habits. But the ways that consumers use these devices is evolving, and it’s up to advertisers to keep pace. Whether that means adapting campaigns for second-screen consumption habits, focusing on mobile, or shifting towards the business market, there’s still plenty of opportunity. Don’t count the tablet out just yet.