The key to achieving marketing success on the iPad and similar platforms is to recognize the essence of the tablet experience: the user must feel as if they are accessing a complimentary and entertaining service, not an ad.
To email marketers accustomed to conducting Madison Avenue-type campaigns, this can be a challenge, but here are three email campaign tips that can help you maximize your brand’s impact on the iPad.
#1. Take Advantage Of The Greater Engagement Factors
Recent surveys by Gannett’s PointRoll and Opera’s AdMarvel have shown that the iPad is delivering engagement metrics well above the norm for email marketing. Average interaction times are up to 53 seconds; interaction rates top 1.5%, and the percentage of users watching integrated video is nearly 70%.
These are statistics that are literally unheard of in conventional email marketing, but remember that the pad’s level of engagement is directly relative to the quality of the content.
In other words, your prospects are not going to linger for 53 seconds over a thinly-disguised hype-fest, but they will stick around for emails that complement an ad’s message without overwhelming it. By using the following two strategies, you can keep your iPad subscribers interested and engaged.
Contentual – Forget TV commercials, instead, immerse your iPad prospects in an audiovisual, fully interactive presentation of the relevance of your brand to their lifestyle. IPad email marketing that focuses on the outdated “Buy This Now” approach will be trounced by fly-through Avatar-like extravaganzas that succeed in entertaining the viewer while associating positively with your brand.
Technological – The functionalities specific to the new generation of tablet computers have necessitated an innovative GUI featuring orientation changes, zooms, swishes, and pinches. Most iPad adopters are technologically proficient thus will react favorably to your brand’s plenary tablet interface integration.
Apple’s war against Adobe’s Flash technology is well documented, but email marketers don’t have to set up a completely separate set of non-Adobe tools to generate multimedia animations for the iPad. New utilities such as Smokescreen can run basic Flash presentations within an iPad browser quite successfully, but most email marketers will want to create specific HTML5 H.264 encoded content for the iPad to take advantage of the native optimizations.
#2. Make Your Email iPad-Friendly
An iPad is not just a PC monitor you can carry around, but a completely different way to interact with a computer. In the rush to create content for this platform, there are various critical design prerequisites that some email marketers are ignoring at their peril:
Minimize text input
The greatest drawback of the iPad and indeed all tablet computers is that entering text is extremely awkward. 90 wpm typists find themselves handicapped with the inadequate onscreen keyboards, and attaching the iPad to a keyboard dock defeats the purpose of having a tablet in the first place.
To combat this, iPad-intended emails should minimize text entry in favor of graphical and motion elements. Keep in mind that this policy should also extend to any landing pages.
Position Actions Accessibly – Volumes are being written about how users handle their iPads, and not surprisingly few of them use it propped on a fixed surface: most of the use is while the tablet is being held with both hands. This position creates considerable ergonomic challenges to the placement of actionable surfaces, but the general rule “of thumb” is to place them within easy thumb reach, thus at the edges.
Carefully Size Tapping Surfaces – The iPad’s built-in calculator features control surfaces with a target area of 44 pixels x 44 pixels (square), and that should be considered the essential overall standard for the minimum tapping size.
There are some variables to consider, however: if your audience is older, then apply a 55 pixels square minimum; and if it is younger and tablet-savvier, you might be able to get away with a 30 pixels square tapping area.
#3. Prepare For The Attack Of The Clones
With Apple selling an iPad every three seconds, the floodgates have been opened for scores of tablet competitors to inundate the market. Although much debate has dealt with the necessity for iPad clones to incorporate Windows-like functionalities, it is effectively inevitable that the new tablet standard will orbit around the Apple archetype and that the platform will soon represent a significant percentage of the email marketing audience.
So, despite the new-ness of the iPad, this is no time for email marketers to sit on the fence. The iPad/tablet format is undoubtedly here to stay, and wise email marketers must embrace this new platform’s capabilities today in order to maximize the success of their targeted campaigns.