Tablet advertising: The key metrics

The Guardian research

 

 

Newsworks’ Tablet Project, conducted in partnership with agencies and Newsworks’ stakeholders, offers first-stage industry norms for tablet advertising, with standard metrics, creative learnings and a common language for the first time.

The Tablet Project set out to establish some key benchmarks for tablet advertising in order to answer a number of important questions, including: what makes an ad work on tablets, what metrics should brands expect from tablet campaigns, and what kind of ad types and language should the industry be using for tablet communications?

The study 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.

The results show that the average tap rate (or interaction) with a tablet ad is significantly higher than the average online display click-through rate. The findings also demonstrate the importance of using different formats on tablets, including video and interactive, depending on the brand’s goals.

The project has established some sector-based average metrics, which will help planners to shape expectations and judge campaign delivery, as well as useful terms, creative observations and top tips for developing successful tablet ads.

Key findings:

  • The average tap rate (interaction) with a tablet ad is 0.79%, and the average dwell time is seven seconds
  • Text links drive strong tap rates when the link is clearly signposted and the copy is action-orientated
  • Video delivers a powerful combination of both tap rate and dwell time but it is key that video content clearly carries a play button
  • Interactive ads engage readers, with considerably longer than average dwell times

Since there are now almost 18m tablets owned in the UK, the Tablet Project offers some timely insights and benchmarks. For instance, tablet owners are most likely to be… 

… 35-44 years old (47%), a core media audience and newsbrands now have a weekly reach of more than 1.5 million via tablets (Source: TouchPoints 5, May 2014).

The results of the Tablet Project show that for each sector there are distinct variations in key metrics. 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 seconds

Useful terms for tablet advertising:

  • 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-oriented
  • 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

Notes:

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 (assuming 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.

A digital version of the results can be found here

The pioneering Tablet Project’s 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 has 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.

Tara Mendelsohn, investment associate director, OMD