The iPad certainly hasn't lacked for hype, starting with Apple CEO Steve Jobs' introduction of the tablet computer as "a truly magical and revolutionary product." But new findings from Nielsen suggest the iPad may be delivering on its promise as a new ad platform.
According to Nielsen's new Connected Devices Playbook, iPad owners are more receptive to advertising than people using other gadgets, including the iPhone, and more likely to make a purchase after seeing an ad. Nearly 60% of users across the iPad, iPhone and all other connected devices said they were "OK with advertising if it means I can access content for free."
But iPad users were more responsive when asked about enjoying ads that have interactive features, finding ads on their device new and interesting, and enjoying viewing ads on their device. For instance, 45% of iPad owners said they were more likely to click on ads that included multimedia than 26% of iPhone subscribers and 27% of other connected device owners. That bodes well for the launch of Apple's iAd platform on the tablet.
Perhaps more important, a higher percentage of people using the iPad indicated they had bought a product through the desktop Internet, in a store, over the phone or directly through their device because of an ad. Nearly a quarter (24%) of iPad users, for example, made an in-store purchase compared to 10% of those with other devices. That suggests the iPad may be helping guide people to brick-and-mortar stores when they're out and about.
The only question is how much of the enthusiasm for ads on the iPad is driven by the tablet's novelty factor and will naturally diminish over time.
The extent to which people searched for more information, clicked an ad to view a full product offering, used or requested a coupon, or discussed a product advertised with a friend, was roughly parallel between the iPad and other devices.
The Nielsen study also found iPad owners tended to skew younger and more male than users of other devices, including the Acer Aspire One (netbook), the Kindle, the iPhone, iPod touch and Sony PlayStation Portable. So 65% of iPad users are male and 63% are under the age of 35. That's closest to the PlayStation demographic: 62% male and 68% under 35.
When it comes to affluence, the Kindle owners were tops, with 44% earning more than $80,000 a year, compared to 39% of iPad owners and 37% of iPhone owners. They also tend to be more educated, with 27% of Kindle users possessing master's degrees or doctorates. A connection between book-reading and higher education? Who knew? Amazon has yet to introduce advertising on the Kindle, though.
The findings in the Nielsen's Connected Devices Playbook were based on a survey of more than 5,000 consumers who already own a tablet computer, eReader, netbook, media player or smartphone, including 400 iPad owners.