It's hard to look up without reading about the iPad. I am sure that it is a wonderful device. And I know nothing about it that you can't read and see in all the usual places. But if you are wondering what you need to know about it for your business, the answer is probably "nothing." And that is a good thing.
For all the hype that you'll hear about the iPad, the best thing about it is that it is a revolutionary new hardware category (because tablets have all failed in the past), but the software is refreshingly evolutionary.
Yes, people might suddenly buy tablets in droves and have a new device to find your business. But the way they find your business won't require much from you that is any different from what you needed before. Sure, if you run a magazine or a publishing company, this is big news, but you have a lot of other things to worry about, too. But for normal small businesses, there isn't anything new here, which is great news.
Here are the ways that an iPad user can find you:
- Old-fashioned search in a Web browser. We don't have details yet, but it is likely that your plain old boring Web site will work just fine here. If you have already optimized your site to be found, the 1024x768 resolution should display your site just fine, with one exception: Flash is not supported. That will probably be fixed soon, but not today. (If your site doesn't render well without Flash, you probably have other issues that prevented you from optimizing it for search anyway.)
- Local search. If you have a local business that benefits from walk-in traffic from people on the go, you should already be thinking about local search. If so, it is unlikely that you need to do anything special to support the iPad. From what I read, the iPad does not appear to include a GPS chip, so it won't be aware of exactly where people are (unlike most smart phones), so its local search is limited to knowing approximately where you have connected to the Internet. This isn't much different to how computer users are treated in local search, so I don't see any revolutionary changes to what marketers must do.
- Apple apps. I want to call them iPhone apps, but now that they run on iPods and IPads, I think they need a different name and I am not smart enough to know if they already have a different name. Regardless, all of these existing apps are said to run on the iPad, so if your business already has an iPhone app or can be found by an important iPhone app for your industry, it will be found by iPad users with that app, too. You should expect to see some folks update their apps to take advantage of the larger screen size. If you have your own iPhone app, you might want to do that, too, but I don't think there is any fundamental marketing change needed here.
So, there is mostly good news here for digital marketers. If you've been ignoring how folks find you online, or you have no idea what local search is, the iPad is just another in a series of wake-up calls that you need to listen to. But if you've been paying attention to what's been going on the last few years, the iPad doesn't seem to add anything to your to-do list.
If the iPad takes off and creates a new successful category for mobile devices, then more folks will be searching and shopping and that will be great. What's even better is that what you are already doing to be found when they search is just about all you need to do to be found on the iPad. So, if you want to immerse yourself in the details because you are gadget hound, go ahead. But if you'd rather get back to work and mostly ignore all the hype, be my guest. Your business will be just fine.
January 27, 2010
Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.
Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.
Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.