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Research to date on tablet advertising has typically found that placements that take advantage of the full features of the device—like video, 360-degree views, striking photos and interactivity—appeal most to users. An Adobe-sponsored study found flashy iPad ads were more engaging and effective than their static print counterparts, and earlier research from UM and Time Inc. indicated that videos were the most desired feature of iPad ads.
On smartphones, by contrast, users seem to prefer to keep it simple. A Pontiflex survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that very few smartphone users preferred ads that were like commercials or that featured video. Just 15% of all adults liked such ads on their phone, vs. 63% who preferred more basic coupons, deals or newsletters.
The Nielsen Company found in August 2010 that 40% of iPhone users were more likely to look at ads with an interesting video, significantly higher than the 15% in the Pontiflex survey. But Nielsen also found iPad owners were 9 percentage points more likely to say the same, and about 20 percentage points more likely to enjoy ads with interactive features or click on ads with multimedia events.
Smartphone users also like ads to keep things simple by leaving them within the app where the ad appeared. Pontiflex found 71% of all adult app users preferred this behavior, vs. ads that pulled them out to a web browser.
The Nielsen study found an identical 71% of iPhone owners had the same preference. iPad owners were somewhat more easygoing; 60% would rather ads did not take them outside an app.
These preferences suggest that while smartphones and tablets are both mobile devices, usage habits and preferences do not fully overlap. Smartphone owners are more likely to be on the go and task-oriented, compared with a more casual entertainment-based focus on tablets.
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