Does my brand really need an iPad app?

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It surprises some people when I tell them that I rarely open my laptop when I’m at home during my off-hours. Yes, I work in the tech industry, but that doesn’t mean I want to be glued to my computer screen at all times. Instead I prefer to leave work at work and relax while watching House of Cards or go out to a brewpub with friends. However, this doesn’t mean I’m disconnected. I look up curiosities, browse Instagram, or play games on my iPhone all the time, and will gladly do the same kind of spontaneous browsing on an iPad. I know I’m not the only one with these kind of tech habits, so it’s a mystery why more brands and publishers aren’t taking advantage by creating valuable native apps for iPad.

Brands have already figured out (for the most part) that they need to be seen where users and consumers are looking. That’s why we are bombarded with advertisements in print, on TV, on Facebook, and on smartphones. But with the continuous rise of the tablet, 34% of American adults now own one, desktop usage is going down. What that means is that more and more the place where brands need to be seen is on tablets, and specifically, the iPad. So the short answer is yes, your company really does need an iPad app.

As my own personal experience confirms, laptops increasingly mean “work” and mobile devices increasingly mean “fun.” And it’s easy to see why. Anyone who has experienced the iPad in all its glory knows that it’s an enjoyable, leisurely experience. Your chosen apps personalize your iPad to your own interests and tastes, and you can lay back and let yourself get lost in content from your favorite apps and the often-beautiful designs. Brands and publishers, especially those in the lifestyle and entertainment sectors, should want to get into this space, but it requires more than just a carefully-crafted ad.

The best apps are those that inform the user about something they are genuinely interested in. If your brand can become a trusted source for whatever you specialize in, users will keep coming back for more. A great example of a brand moving into the iPad sphere is RCI’s Endless Vacation. It used to just be just a custom-published magazine for RCI, the largest timeshare vacation group in the world, but now it’s an interactive iPad app that can inspire users to travel while they peruse content on their iPads. They are taking advantage of where they know consumers are spending their time.

Another example you’ve probably heard about (they’ve pushed it in TV ads) is the Lowe’s app. Before you go to a home improvement store like Lowe’s, you need to know what you are looking for. The brand’s app is keying into that by giving consumers important information on products and saving the products that they have previously purchased so that they will know what to buy in the future. Notably, Lowe’s biggest competitor, Home Depot, has no such app. If I’m choosing between the two stores and am an avid iPad user, I know which one I’m going to pick. If Home Depot wanted to get in on the game, they could build a similar app and go one step further by including valuable DIY and home improvement content to inform and inspire consumers even more.

Whether brands like it or not, tablet and iPad usage is on the upswing and that trajectory will probably not change anytime soon. Brands will just have to adapt to survive, and that means bringing valuable content to where users want it. And with tablets now accounting for more web traffic than smartphones, building a quality native app is unquestionably a smart move.


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