News & Opinion

Responses to tablet ads are up to 40x higher than online

Newsworks publishes the results of its Tablet Project, creating key benchmarks for tablet advertising for the first time.

Announced at an exclusive breakfast event this morning, the results show that the average tap rate (interaction) with a tablet ad is 0.79%, up to 40 times greater than the average online display click-through rate*. Consumers also spend an average of seven seconds with tablet ads.

With tablet ownership up to almost 18 million in the UK, these benchmarks are timely. Tablet owners are most likely to be 35-44 years old (47%), a core media audience. Newsbrands now have a weekly reach of more than 1.5 million via tablets.

Vanessa Clifford, deputy CEO at Newsworks, ran the project in conjunction with agencies and Newsworks' stakeholders. She said: "Tablets have a growing and engaged audience, particularly across newsbrands. However, there has been a lack of data and understanding around tablet advertising – what makes an ad successful, what metrics should brands expect, what kind of ad types and language should we be using? These results will offer the advertising community first-stage industry norms, with some standard metrics, creative learnings and a common language for the first time."

Newsworks' Tablet Project tracked 20 campaigns across five key sectors – motors, retail & travel, finance, tech and entertainment – between October and December 2013. Participants included Virgin Holidays, Cancer Research UK, Sony, Nationwide, Audi and YouView, among others.

For each sector there are distinct variations in key metrics, which will enable planners to shape expectations and judge campaign delivery for clients. Individual sector averages are:

Motors - average tap rate of 0.61%; average dwell time of 6.9 seconds
Finance - average tap rate of 0.87%; average dwell time of 5.9 seconds
Retail & travel - average tap rate of 1.04%; average dwell time of 6.1 seconds
Tech - average tap rate of 0.84%; average dwell time of 6.8 seconds
Entertainment - average tap rate of 0.57%; average dwell time of 10.1 seconds

The ads were grouped into three core creative types - text link, video and interactive. The results show that each type has a different role to play: text links drive above average tap rates; video provides a powerful combination of tap rate and dwell time; and interactive ads hold attention with considerably higher dwell time.

Text link - average tap rate of 0.82%; average dwell time of 5.6 seconds
Video - average tap rate of 1.06%; average dwell time of 7.1 seconds
Interactive - average tap rate of 0.42%; average dwell time of 9.0 seconds

Tara Mendelsohn, investment associate director at OMD, said: "As pioneers in the tablet space, the Tablet Project findings will help us prove the value that tablets add to media plans using industry agreed insights, norms and benchmarks that will help shape our client conversations moving forward. Newsworks have propelled the tablet agenda to the forefront, a move that has been welcomed as a huge step forward for the publishing industry and one that will define and shape the future."

Jo Blake, head of outdoor, newsbrands and radio at Havas Media, added: "It's sometimes difficult to sell in new things to clients - will it work, is it cost efficient, creative barriers and so on - which is why Newsworks' Tablet Project was an excellent idea. The results will not only help us sell tablet formats to clients but the learnings also show the best way to use the medium creatively – that was why we wanted to be involved in the project."

The Tablet Project infographic

See 'Tablet advertising: The key metrics' for more

Useful terms:

• Ad views – the total number of views an individual ad receives
• Taps – various interactions within the ad
• Tap rate (%TR) – interactions as a percentage of views
• Dwell time – time spent with an ad

Creative observations:

• Text links drive strong tap rates when the link is clearly signposted and copy is action-orientated
• Video delivers a powerful combination of both tap rate and dwell time but it is key that video content is clearly signposted with a play button and the content is relevant and fresh
• Interactive ads engage readers, with considerably longer than average dwell times, but keep content informative, engaging and easy to navigate

Top tips:

• Keep it simple – from a redefined language for tablets that acknowledges their unique characteristics to simple, fun and engaging copy, don't over-complicate tablet comms
• Be directional – tell the reader what you want them to do with your ad
• Give the user control – allow them to choose how much or how little they want to interact
• Remember the campaign objectives – keep the aim of the campaign at the heart of your thinking; don't let what is possible control what you do with your ad - let what needs to be achieved dictate the type and level of interaction


*The average tap rate (interaction) with a tablet ad is 0.79%, up to 40 times greater than the average online display click-through rates, based on an average online display click-through rate of 0.02%.

Participants: Audi, Sony, Nationwide, AXA, NatWest, YouView, SEAT, Virgin Holidays, Argos, Kia, DFS, Vodafone, Canon, Channel 4, blinkbox, Cancer Research UK, TSB, Citroën and LG.

20 campaigns ran within a three month period from October to December 2013 in the Guardian, The Times, Mirror, Mail Plus, Evening Standard, Independent, i, The Telegraph and The Sun.

Tablet ownership is up to 17.9 million in the UK, according to comScore. Ownership is highest among 35-44 year olds (47%); women (52%); ABC1s (61%), according to YouGov.

Newsbrands have a weekly reach of 1.54 million via tablets, according to TouchPoints 5.

by Liz Jaques 20/05/14

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