Advertisers often lump smartphones and tablets into the "mobile" category, but I think we need to focus less on their portability, and more on how these devices are used. A smartphone is constantly connected and is mostly used on the go, whereas a personal computer tends to be more stationary. Plus, people have grown accustomed to the type of ads they see on both of these devices.

A tablet, however, falls somewhere between the smartphone and the traditional web experience one has on a computer. We are still at the very early stages of understanding how consumers are using this device – only 10% of consumers own one, compared to the 44% who own smartphones and nearly 80% who own personal computers. But, Forrester Research projects that U.S. tablet sales will grow from 26 million in 2011 to more than 50 million in 2012.
So what is the right format for this advertising? Is this experience a lean-back and watch interface, or do people expect to engage with ads like never before? Are in app-ads the best way to go? Is it video?

If we look at how consumers use their tablet devices, we know that its main uses are gaming, web browsing and email, with ecommerce quickly gaining an edge. In fact, a recent study conducted by comScore and Jumptap found that 63 percent of tablet owners have made a purchase with their device.

This tells us that their experience is not unlike the traditional web browsing we've seen for years. Our research shows that tablet usage occurs mostly in the morning and evening (50% above day usage), which clearly suggests that PCs are being replaced by tablets. Additionally, tablet users sessions are significantly longer - almost 5X longer - than mobile devices, also suggesting that tablet usage is PC-like.

But what makes a tablet different is the functionality of the device. The touch screen on a tablet is very different from that which ones uses on a smartphone, and is completely different than most PCs. This needs to be the driver of advertising innovation on the tablet.

People aren't looking for a traditional 250x300, click-induced direct response ad – they want to be able to swipe and drag through ads as if they were apps themselves. We need to push ourselves to build not only the technology for a dynamic content experience on tablets, but an incredible ad experience as well.

If you're at CES today, stop by Digital Hollywood at CES at 12 pm PT to discuss this very topic.

Track I - STC7 - SmartPhone & Tablet Conference
Location: North Hall N261
iPad-Tablet-SmartPhone Advertising - the Premium Advertising Platform