With every new media platform introduced, resounding noise is made in the marketplace about its usability and true value for a b2b agency in not only reaching but also impacting its target audience. There is no question that the core advertisers first to market supporting this platform are large brands with equally large discretionary budgets. These brands—FedEx, Capital One, Buick, Coca-Cola and Oracle—are undoubtedly true leaders. They are using the space as a means of “primary research” to gauge response around the specific application. For example, Capital One’s message reads “Get Double Miles Every Time You Buy a New Gadget,” introducing its new Venture Card. Others are simply brand awareness such as the introduction of the new 2010 Buick LaCrosse, or Coca-Cola’s quest for clean oceans via its Ocean Conservancy program.
So what does all this mean for the B-to-B world? It is no different than the traction we already see. The real question is scale. 5 days after launch, 450,000 units were sold and there were 3,500 iPad specific applications available; Apple announced on May 3 that over 1M iPads were sold and users had downloaded over 12 million apps. When will the audience usership of the iPad reach the level that B-to-B advertising can be effective in reaching a target audience, above and beyond the novelty? The Wall Street Journal, the B2B industry’s bible, has come out of the gate with an iPad application that demonstrates an accelerated level of core competency with the platform, while strategically aligning useful and timely information for its users. The functionality for advertisers also reaches new heights with the endless potential for engagement and interactivity. This is the future. It offers content that is exclusive to the iPad such as “Now,” a real-time edition covering the latest breaking news and top stories, allowing the user to save entire selections for later reading. It also offers a seven-day-edition archive that can be downloaded for reading any time, even offline.
For advertisers, a variety of units of space are currently developed across iPad applications. For example, the WSJ’s app features a small sponsor “button” on the bottom left of a page, and, when touched, this area expands to a unit covering about one-third of the bottom of the screen. Further, this banner can be redirected to an advertiser’s full arsenal of materials, inclusive of audio and video. As in the WSJ example, advertisers can also own an entire screen that is embedded in between content. In addition, there are no apparent limitations to the depth of information contained on the iPad once a user is interacting with the advertisement, and, of course, if connected to a Wi-Fi network during use, the advertisement has full functionality to link with its website. The clear potential benefits for B-to-B advertisers, once the scale is there, is the design of the iPad with its color and unprecedented resolution, mimicking the size of a single magazine page, making it an ideal environment for reading digital magazines. Publishers are embracing this format by investing in the technology and specifications required for the iPad.
Tracking is not at the level that we are accustomed to for digital media at large, but is quickly making inroads.. A handful of the B2B iPad applications do offer advertisers (such as the New York Times) the ability to install tracking pixels that operate similarly to the mobile platform, yet others are more primitive, basing results on number of units sold times SOV of advertisers.
Pricing models for advertisers are all over the board as this new platform comes to life. Some advertisers are paying north of $1 million for their “trial period,” and others have been given the space as added value coinciding with their already placed integrated campaigns. The only catch for the advertiser is having the technology to develop iPad-functional ads.
The iPad is all about interactivity. Many critics believe the iPad will provide a resurrection of the print and video industries by providing new economic-on-demand frameworks that reset content and marketing values to reflect the expectations of digital users—and beyond. So while the iPad certainly has its fun factor, I believe it is here to stay as a tool in enhancing our opportunities to communicate with B2B audiences in unprecedented ways.
Frannie J. Danzinger
Senior Vice President – Media, North America
*This post has been revised to include updated, more accurate information