What you need to know about tablets, now

For a surprisingly growing number of people, the tablet is the gateway to all things online—especially content.

For a surprisingly growing number of people, the tablet is the gateway to all things online—especially content.

I was an early tablet adopter. In fact, I was probably the only person on this end of the galaxy to have an iPad® before a smartphone. (I owned my average-intelligence phone embarrassingly long.)

It’s a little hard to imagine life without my iPad, actually. I use it for my emails, scheduling, browsing, research, and even drawing. (I use a Bamboo® stylus, and it rocks.)

I know that many marketers are obsessing on the smartphone phenomenon right now—and they should be. But part of what’s driving that, I think, is that you see everyone, everywhere, with their face in a phone. However, according to sales, stats and tracking, tablets are becoming a tidal wave, too:

  • Half of American adults now own either a tablet or an e-reader (MarketingCharts.com)
  • There’s even an award for apps on tablets called—you guessed it—the Tabbys.
  • Internet users view 70% MORE pages per visit when browsing with a tablet, compared to a smartphone (CMO.com)
  • Worldwide online purchases from tablets, including travel and food services, will top $76 billion this year (Forrester)
  • More than half of IT decision-makers say they “always” use their tablets at work (IDC). Content consumption is a major business application for tablets.

I read, a lot, on my iPad. And so do most tablet users, whether it’s consumer or business. A few months back, I wrote a blog about how Flipboard is redefining how people are reading and enjoying content on tablets. At the time, the platform was exploding, and it still is.

Bottom line: People are spending serious time with these electronic monoliths of information. And that’s something to think about when you’re a B2B or B2C marketer.

So, here are several key tips to keep in mind about tablet users…

SEO matters more for tablets than any other device. Google is HUGE on tablets. In 2013, more than 2.5 times more visitors to publishers came from Google on iPads than Facebook, according to Onswipe. Yeow. Plus, tablet users were more engaged—taking in twice as many pageviews per visit and spending twice as much time on the sites (more than four minutes per visit).

The lesson: If your audience uses tablets, you better have a bulletproof SEO strategy.

Email dominates on the iPad. Yes, email! Not Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Email is the mechanism most used to share content on the iPad—nearly 55% of shares, as opposed to Facebook, which tops out at 29% (again, according to Onswipe).

In essence, this mirrors smartphone usage. Lots of people use email on their phones, so it makes sense that this behavior would carry over to their tablets.

The takeaway: If you’re creating content for iPad users, make email one of the methods for them to share it. Chances are, you’ll get a lot more viral coverage.

Understand how—and when—people use their iPads. The busiest time for iPad usage is between 9 and 10 p.m., EST. I’m on there at that time, too, come to think of it, when I’m relaxing with some compelling content at the end of my day. Later in the night, around midnight, people will spend as much as seven minutes with content—it’s a great time to post some more in-depth stuff. Another peak time is the morning, probably as people are starting their day over their choice of caffeine.

What to do: Understand usage with your particular audience and how to take advantage with the right content at the right time. How do you find this out? Ask them!

Men’s lifestyle content dominates. Onswipe also reports that iPad owners love men’s lifestyle content—they spend more time on those pages than any other category tested.

The manly thing to do: If you have content that particularly appeals to men, consider posting it at peak usage times.

The big screen message from all of this seems pretty clear: When you’re creating any kind of content marketing, imagine it being used on a tablet, most likely an iPad. Because that’s very likely how it will be seen.

– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group

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