Food for Thought: The iPad, the iAd and Branded Content

The world of digital readers and tablets is being embraced now, and will grow in popularity in the future

Like everyone else in the online publishing world, I’ve been weeding through the latest iPad news, carefully digesting the actionable information for our industry.

During the search for knowledge I’ve come across the two often overlooked concepts for the iPad, apps and competing digital readers: the iAd and branded apps.

The iAd


iAd Image (courtesy of

Launched in July, the iAd is Apple’s own advertising network that features rich media advertisements. Referred to as an “app inside an app”, iAds can feature audio, video and even games.

As potentially expected from any new advertising medium, initial participation was limited. This may be due to the fact that iAds are not yet available on the iPad, a device that allows for more media-rich content than iPhones. The iAd network requires the iOS 4.0 software, which is not currently available in the iPad. It is reported, however, that this technology will be coming to the iPad and the iAd network in November.

Due to the lack of advertisers on the new advertising platform, those who are signed up are paying high price tags. Many of these companies are global industries that can afford to spend $1 million to be included on the platform. However, when the iAd and iPad meet up with compatible software in November as speculated, will more companies jump on the network? With the added opportunity to create multi-media experiences for users, I could envision it happening. This in turn would likely bring the price of advertising on the network much lower, and lead to a larger, stronger network.

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It also helps that towards the end of July, Apple made it possible for iPhone developers to sign up to have their own apps advertised via iAd.

Imagine digital advertising platforms working for your publication, be it the iAd network or Google’s AdMob. Within the near future it may be possible to have interactive, media-rich advertisements imbedded into branded apps for your publications at a cost-efficient price.

And speaking branded apps…

Currently, there isn’t a ton of branded content in the world of apps. Why is this? Is it because there hasn’t been enough iPads sold yet for companies to work on branding through the device? Or is it because it’s not worth it to as many companies; ones that feel they cannot have multi-media, interactive content made for an app?

Regardless, some notable companies are creating branded apps successfully. Many of these are household names with a lot of brand recognition already. Some of these companies include Kraft, JC Penney, Gap and Nike iD.

As the number of iPad sales increase, will branded apps make more sense? If you ask me, I think so, depending on the company in question. Kraft’s used the iPad’s larger screen and media-rich functionality to create an interactive app that houses recipes, how-to videos, games and other interactive elements.

Companies that are about interacting, creating, or sharing aesthetically pleasing content will be the best for branded apps for digital readers.

Want more information on the iPad and iPhone apps for publishers? Join Mequoda Group’s Executive Director Don Nicholas, Jeanniey Mullen, the Global EVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Zinio LLC and VIVmag, and PixelMags’ Chief Operating Officer and Founder Ryan Marquis for the iPad and iPhone Apps for Publishers Webinar. These content-producing gurus will help you decide which mobile application strategy is the best for you.


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