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New CES Toys Highlight the Coming Year of the ‘Phablet’

Posted by Tom O'Regan on January 13th, 2014 at 6:36 pm

CES just wrapped, and everyone was talking about screens, particularly mobile screens. Samsung, ASUS, Qualcomm, among others, unveiled new devices that feature over-sized screens with tablet features. These sleek products are gearing up to be the biggest evolution the tech industry will see in 2014, and the most creative name we’ve come up with to define them is the term 'phablet.' While the term does not exactly roll off the lips, these extra-large smartphones have serious implications for altering the mobile ad industry.

With higher resolution screens, faster processing chips and even more powerful mobile networks, consumers are adopting these new technologies as quickly as they are released, particularly the affluent, who are early-adopters of new technology.

From the consumer’s perspective, mobile devices are getting even better and they expect experiences on these devices to meet the new level of sophistication of the technology. For advertisers, this means that messaging should be more engaging and the content should be more meaningful. Video is going to be a huge opportunity this year, as consumer behavior will lean more towards video adoption and the technology is there to support better experiences. According to a study from Business Insider, about 50 million people in the U.S. watch video on their mobile phones. In addition, the report found that 15 percent of all online video viewing hours globally are accessed through tablets and smartphones.

In this setting, advertisers and publishers are going to have to resolve to create and distribute ads that offer a single share of voice. Targeting is no longer enough. Multiple ads on a single page will not work. Brands need to create high-end experiences that match the sophistication of the technology and audiences in order to engage these savvy consumers and capture their attention. Think of a car commercial shot in high-def that clicks to allow a consumer to interactively explore the interior of the vehicle and book an appointment for a test drive all within the interactive unit. Or perhaps, they can even test drive the vehicle using the screen as the steering wheel. The IAB Rising Star units offer a great delivery mechanism for this kind of compelling rich media content. These units give brands a third dimension and the ability to offer up an alluring experience, rather than just serve up a static image. This single share of voice scenario can be profitable for both advertisers and publishers. Publishers can charge more for these units and advertisers can expect a greater return on investment, as the ads are more attractive to consumers.

Consumers are willing to watch a good video, even if it is branded, as long as the content is high-quality. The onus is now on the advertisers to provide highly entertaining material in order to drive deeper engagement. Advertisers that succeed will grab the attention of consumers for longer periods of time. But brands should not take video for granted. Just because they create a video doesn’t mean that it is a good experience. Brands need to be careful to design creative that takes advantage of the technology and is targeted to the right consumer. Technology companies have created the framework for great tablet and phone experiences and consumers expect all content to live up to a high standard.

Advertisers will also have to examine their success metrics in this environment, and hone in on ‘time spent’ as a measure of success. The idea should be to develop videos that entertain and delight consumers and in doing this, viewers will be willing to take the time to spend with the material.

The new releases from CES are exciting for consumers and advertisers alike, but they also present a challenge for advertisers to live up to the advances in technology. Consumers will have less patience for media pollution and will be expecting better experiences. Advertisers that aren’t able to compete with these enhanced experiences will lose out.

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