In App Ads On iPad? The Future of Mobile Engagement is Synesthetic

Today, Steve Jobs announced iAds, Apple’s mobile ad network.

Zach Rodgers, from ClickZ, took a first look at the iPad news apps that were ad supported at launch a few days ago. You can see it in action in the video below:

While at SEW we’d love to cover the iPad just so we can keep touching it, unlike the iPhone, the iPad does not create any new signals for search engine ranking algorithms and uses the same App Store as its smaller counterpart.

However, there are a few things search marketers probably need to know:

How the basic ads we have seen so far (i.e. not Apple iAds) work:

Magazine like ads – if you tap the ad it does not leave app environment and you can go straight back to the article page. There is a lot of potential for this ad format. The types we saw led to in app microsites that called an iFrame.

Interstitial ad – within the app. You just wait to get past it or you can tap to see more. These are not as annoying on as on the web, but that may simply be due to the novelty of the iPad form factor. Personally i think, interstitial ads on a large touchscreen have the potential to be highly engaging – imagine the synesthesia of drumming your fingers on a colorscape or simulated rock pool whilst waiting for your latest content to load.

Web banner ads, fires up in app frame which calls the main picture. These can be closed without having to close the app. It’s easy to imagine talented designers being able to create simple but tactile adverts via web pages.

Cute (but hidden annoyances):
Popup ads in the bottom of the screen. They look nice when they pop up really fast. However, tapping the ad launches a browser. This means you have to close the browser and re-open the app your were on, putting you back to the beginning.

Ads that simply click out to Safari. These are annoying for two reasons. Firstly, opening Safari is slow and incongruous with the app experience; so the user is thrown out of the active tactile experience and into a passive observer mode. Secondly, you have to close the browser and re-open the app which puts you back to square one.

New interface, means new behaviours.
Whilst there is nothing on the iPad that creates new data for search engines to use, what it does potentially do is change how people search and when they search. Visual search could be a winner on the iPad.

Checkout the video demo below of Gap’s new store search iPad app. It’s a unique and tactile way to search it’s clothes catalogue (and it’s brand identity actually). You can buy from directly within the app too. What we like about this is it returns clothes shopping to a casual experience, which now you can do from your sofa or kitchen table. The acutely cerebral experience of searching dozens of clothes listings from your desk, using a keyboard, instantly seems passe. Why click back, when you can flick and tap?

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