7 things all app marketers should know about 7-inch tablets
At Apple’s event on October 23, we are expecting the announcement of the ‘iPad Mini’, Apple’s answer to the other 7-inch tablets out there. Also soon to be launched are the new 32 GB version of Google’s Nexus 7 tablet and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. With the arrival of these new 7-inch tablets and the Christmas season upon us, we’re going to see an even greater influx of new tablet users from now until the end of the year. The sales projections for the tablets are huge and tablet apps are still such a young market with relatively few other tablet-optimized apps available.
With the number of very competitive smaller tablets on the rise, we thought it was about time to shed some light on the promising yet often neglected tablet market. What do app marketers need to know about the new 7-inch tablet generation – and how can an app, and app marketing campaigns, be optimized for them?
Our hot tip: be fast! The market is young and competition is still low – so get going and be a tablet-pioneer!
Here’s our 7 things that every app marketer should know about in order to conquer the 7-inch tablet wave.
How many 7-inch tablets will be available?
The iPad Mini, Apple’s U-turn on their smaller-tablets-won’t-work statement, is rumoured to be announced at their forthcoming event on October 23. Google’s new 32GB version of the Nexus 7 will soon be available but it’s not sure exactly when and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD will be released on October 25 in the UK. Sharp have also announced a new 7-inch tablet with its new IGZO display which will launch on October 24, and there is likely more to come.
How many are going to sell?
Apple, sources say, are preparing for a sales rush by having 10 million iPad Mini devices manufactured, and Amazon have put in an order for 5 million Kindle Fires to be made (though it’s predicted that 12 million will sell by the end of 2012). Projected sales for the Nexus 7 are between 6 and 8 million this year.
As a whole, the tablet market is exploding at the moment, and while it hasn’t quite caught up with smartphones, it’s set to be a big deal. The worldwide tablet app revenue is predicted to be $2.3 billion this year compared with $9.4 billion made by smartphone apps, rising to $8.1 billion in 2015, when smartphone apps will reportedly bring in $29.4 billion. It is believed that by 2016, annual sales of tablets will hit 377 million, by which point they will overtake laptop sales.
How will this impact app marketers?
We know that the record-breaking iPhone 5 sales performance was great news for app developers. When users buy new devices, it follows that they seek and download new apps. The result for you: the potential for more new users and revenue.
How well is my app suited to tablets?
While smartphone usage is often on-the-go, tablet usage is often at home. Clearly user behaviour is different and some apps were more well-suited to tablets than others. More and more, tablets are preferred for games, shopping and making purchases, reading (books, magazines, news) and watching content (film, TV, videos). Commerce, gaming and content apps are especially suitable for tablets, but all apps’ user experience factor – apart from perhaps music, photography and social media apps – could benefit from the bigger screen.
How many tablet-optimized apps are available already?
Fortunately, right now there aren’t many. Compared to the smartphone app market, the tablet market is a dream world for all app marketers. There are currently only 225,000 apps that are specifically optimized for the iPad, but only a few hundred which are Android tablet-optimized, probably due to the huge fragmentation in this market (compared to 700,000 iPhone apps and 650,000 apps just in Google Play). With so many new users and a relative lack of competition amongst apps here, tablets present an excellent marketing opportunity for app developers.
How necessary is it to optimize an app for 7-inch tablets?
Some apps have already been optimized for 7-inch tablets, and it really matters if you want your app to look great and to provide the best user experience that you can – which you obviously do. Shrunken apps which were previously optimized for the larger tablets will most likely look OK, but the touchscreen buttons might be harder to press as they’ll be smaller too. Enlarged smartphone apps, on the other hand, may appear out of proportion due to the varying aspect ratio. Google have put together this handy guide to optimizing your apps for tablets.
Also think about adapting your app to tablets generally. The bigger screen size means you can show more content and graphics than with a smartphone app, so use the opportunity to add more features or show off more of your product – it could help boost your revenue.
How is marketing tablet apps different from marketing mobile apps?
In order to achieve a high level of downloads and build up a large user base, you also have to target your users where it is most effective – on their tablets. Since many tablet users pick up their tablets whilst watching television, think about synchronising your mobile ads to advert breaks or what’s on the box. Mobile advertising, search and app ranking boost campaigns will be necessary to help you elevate your app user base and revenue.
The most important thing here is still to track your campaigns thoroughly and analyze your data, find the best campaign settings for you, and then optimize your marketing. It’s vital, as ever, to only spend budget on traffic sources which are proven to perform well and bring you loyal users and revenue. Of course, on top of this you should make sure you’ve built a great app, use social media, cross-promote, get good PR coverage from bloggers and magazines and implement App Store Optimization techniques to increase visibility, search rank and conversions.
So, if you have a tablet app or are thinking of creating one soon (and 2 out of every 3 mobile developers are planning to within the next 6 months), remember these points – make the most of the wave of potential new users between now and the end of 2012.