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5 tips to develop an effective tablet strategy

By Krishna Subramanian

From the continued popularity of the iPad to the more recent release of the Kindle Fire, there is no denying that the tablet is more than a passing fad. 

In fact, according to a recent eMarketer report, an estimated one in three online consumers will use a tablet by 2014.

As consumers are now opting to use the tablet as the preferred way to surf the Web, read books and shop online, brands are beginning to recognize the opportunity that the device presents to them for marketing.

However, before a brand begins to create a tablet strategy, it is crucial to keep the below tips in mind to ensure success.

Creating a tablet friendly site
Last year was pivotal for the tablet.

The skepticism behind the staying power of tablets has faded as consumers continue adopt the device in droves. In some regards, it has already outshined the smartphone as the mobile marketing weapon of choice for brands.

For example, the tablet is outpacing smartphones with an add-to-cart rate of 10.8 percent compared to the mobile device at 5.9 percent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to research by ecommerce services company Monetate.

Considering this, a mobile strategy that is specifically tailored for the tablet is transforming from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have for brands.

However, simply offering a smartphone optimized site on a tablet will not be sufficient. Brands must go the extra mile to create a tailored and unique tablet site or application.

Additionally, with the number of brands of tablets increasing, it is smart to use a technology such as HTML5 to create a universal mobile site.

All about the customer
Since the tablet is a new channel, it is crucial to create an experience that will delight users from the beginning and encourage them to come back.

Marketers should take advantage of the exceptional software and hardware capabilities that tablets offer to showcase their products. 

For example, video and multimedia components should be embraced as a way to engage consumers.

Additionally, tablets allow for crisp images, which users can easily pinch to zoom to help with their shopping experience.

Indeed, even offering elements as simple as an attractive and engaging user interface and tablet-specific specials goes a long way in winning a user's heart and loyalty.

Continuing the conversation and keep the customer coming back for more
While acquiring new customer is important, it is only half the battle.

It is up to the brand to establish creative ways to continue the conversation with its users.

Push notifications and tablet-optimized emails are strong ways to continue a brand?s conversation with customers online and offline to help drive sales.

Additionally, a brand can choose to offer specific content and features exclusively for the tablet such as a video component, and drive customer to the tablet site or application through other channels including editorial content in a magazine.

Data is still the king
To increase the likelihood that a tablet strategy is a success, a brand must first look at the data to understand its customers and how they are engaging with its product or service.

By analyzing the data, reviewing the engagement funnel and identifying key areas with high bounce and exit rates, brands can establish which methods its customers are using to engage and which cause the most positive response rate.

From there, a brand can tailor its tablet strategy to cater to its customers? preferences to enhance its growth.

Preparing for what is next
In early 2011, Cisco predicted that mobile traffic originating from tablet devices will grow 205-fold from 2010 to 2015.

As of October 2011, smartphones and tablets drove just about 7 percent of digital traffic nationwide, according to comScore.

Considering this, it is fair to assume that tablet traffic will skyrocket over the next few years.

It is crucial for brand to prepare for this substantial increase in traffic by ensuring scalability to support this growth.

Brands must have a system, network or process in line to accommodate this growth and uphold exceptional performance.

THIS YEAR, the tablet will be more relevant than ever as it continues to get in the hands of more consumers.

Brands should undoubtedly take advantage of the opportunity that tablets offer as a new marketing channel to better engage and interact with customers, but should consider the above tips before implementing a new strategy.

Krishna Subramanian is San Francisco-based chief marketing officer of Velti, a global provider of mobile marketing and advertising services for brands, advertising agencies, wireless carriers and media. Reach him at .