Millennial Media is the latest mobile ad network to announce new ad units tailored to the newly launched iPad. The company on Friday will roll out a software development kit (SDK) for the Applet tablet and its "PadMedia Creative Suite," which includes both standard mobile ad units and new formats for the iPad.
The new in-application units include a floating ad that allows advertisers to choose where on the screen it will expand after someone clicks on it. Ad creative, for example, can be displayed in a given quadrant of the screen or as a leaderboard to avoid interfering with the action in another section of a gaming or other type of app. A return-to-play unit geared toward entertainment developers will let consumers pause to respond to an ad offer while using an application and resume when they are ready.
Marketers can also opt for full-page interstitials that appear when an application is launched or during transitions in game play for branding purposes or to drive traffic to landing pages. Each of the ad formats can also be set in motion via the iPad's accelerometer, allowing users to manually interact with ad content by turning or rotating the device in different ways. That capability first gained attention with Dockers "shakable" ads that debuted on the iPhone last year.
Other mobile ad companies including Medialets, Greystripe, Jumptap and Mobclix have already announced or launched new formats capitalizing on the iPad's larger screen. AdMob's new developer tools for the iPad are expected to launch in the next couple of weeks and Apple itself is expected to unveil its new iAd unit for its family of mobile devices, including the iPad, as soon as today.
Although ads on the iPad may more closely resemble those on a PC than a mobile phone, traditional online ad networks are still at a disadvantage since the Apple tablet doesn't support Adobe's Flash, widely used to power rich media ads on the desktop Web. Companies such as Greystripe, however, have come up with technology workarounds to help advertisers extend Flash-based ads to mobile.
Advertisers, vendors and media companies are counting on the iPad to become a mainstream media-consuming platform. Apple said 300,000 units were sold when they hit stores on Saturday. That compares to 250,000 iPhones sold the first weekend they went on sale in 2007 and 1 million during the opening weekend for the iPhone 3G S in 2008. Research firm iSuppli estimates that 7.1 million iPads will be sold worldwide in 2010. Hedging its bets, Millennial said its PadMedia creatives will be formatted and ready for other tablet devices later in the year.