Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Make a Killer iPad Ad

It’s the very, very early days for iPad advertising–just about any tablet-specific ad you see today is an experiment. But Condé Nast thinks it has learned enough in the past few months to offer a few tips to marketers. Those would be the same marketers Condé hopes will buy ads on its iPad apps, of course.

The publisher is rolling out its “best practices” for iPad ad makers this morning, via a press release and presentation. Most of this stuff seems like common sense to me: Take advantage of Apple’s (AAPL) device, but make sure readers know how to engage with the ad, etc. But again, it’s the very early days, and if you haven’t spent much time with the tablets, it will be news to you.

Ditto for the other findings in Condé’s research, which I would find more interesting if the publisher put them out in raw data form instead of qualitative assertions. But Condé thinks it’s worth sharing with the outside world. So if you want to take a look, too:


Results pave way for initial recommendation of “5 Best Practices” for advertisers

NEW YORK, October 13, 2010 – Condé Nast, which was the first magazine publisher to offer digital magazines on the iPhone and iPad, released key insights today derived from the first stage of a multi-phase research initiative evaluating consumer engagement. Based on over 100 hours of one-on-one interviews and more than 5,000 in-app surveys this early feedback on overall consumer usability, expectations, and sentiment has shaped initial recommendations on “best practices” for advertisers. Brands included in the study were GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired and Glamour.

Overall iPad and brand experience:
“We continue to see that reader engagement with our digital magazines apps, in terms of time spent, is on par with or exceeds our print editions,” said Scott McDonald, SVP market research, Condé Nast. “We were surprised to find however that many iPad users surveyed were not the typical tech “early adopter” or familiar with Apple products and their navigation conventions. This has very important implications for application interface design.”

Specific to Condé Nast digital magazines, eight in ten reported that the content and experience associated with the brands met or surpassed their expectations, and 83% reported a likelihood to purchase the next month’s digital issue. Eighty-nine percent felt the apps were easy to use and, on the whole, users showed little sensitivity to download times.

It was also noted that users preferred to read the magazines in portrait mode, but chose to watch video in the landscape orientation. There was also an expectation for flexibility in buying options, e.g., a single copy purchase, a digital subscription or supplement to their print subscription.

User recall and enjoyment were the basis for establishing the overall success of a particular ad.

The study showed that readers expected to find ads in digital magazines and expressed that their inclusion was an enhancement to the experience, which is often the case with printed magazines.

“When we initiated our R & D phase, we felt strongly that by choosing a multi-advertiser model for our digital magazines it would enable us to garner some valuable learning that we could pass on to our clients,” said Condé Nast Chief Marketing Officer Lou Cona. “With such a rapidly changing marketplace, we expect behaviors to evolve quickly; however, our initial results enable us to offer clients our five best practices for producing successful digital magazine creative, insights we feel will be helpful as the industry navigates this new medium.”

Condé Nast’s five best practices for creating advertising that will engage and resonate with the user:
1. Take advantage of This New Medium’s functionality: Users responded positively to the additional functionality of the iPad. Therefore advertisers that included compelling and unique experiences, that were self contained and exclusive to the environment, were liked more than those that did not. Increased opportunities for engagement including video, photo galleries and links to websites are recommended.

2. Provide Clear Instructions on How to Engage with Your App: As many surveyed were not familiar with iPad navigation, ads that included clear calls to action and cues on how to engage the creative were more effective. Icons should be clearly visible and intuitive and state whether more content or additional functionality can be found.

3. Supply Additional Information but Avoid Repurposing Creative Assets Used for Other Media: Users enjoyed advertisements that provided something new and useful. Including detailed product info and how-to’s are recommended, however re-purposing video or creative used for other mediums is not suggested.

4. Tell A Story: The most remembered ads contained narratives. The iPad’s ability to showcase various forms of media offers a unique opportunity for telling a brands’ story. However, it was discovered that users became bored when the same advertisement was used repeatedly throughout a single application.

5. Lead Them Down the Purchase Funnel: Brands that enabled a user to directly access and purchase the featured product faired better than companies who offered homepage links alone. It is also recommended that due to compatibility issues, Flash not be used.

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