In a little over two years since the inception of the iPad, tablet computers have rapidly been popularized and diversified to an astounding degree in the tech world. Tablets are being increasingly thought of as second screen devices – an alternative means to browse the Web or engage in e-commerce. In this period of time, the amount of options within the tablet market has expanded significantly, with varying improved system specifications, operating systems, and price points.

Over the past year, screen size and resolution have emerged as the primary methods (other than branding) for differentiating tablets. For instance, the new retina display was a major feature of the marketing campaign for Apple’s latest iPad (which put up record sales figures). Other companies have stepped up, offering comparable devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which has a 10 inch screen at a high resolution.

Given the recent emphasis of screen size as a major differentiating factor for the tablet market, Chitika Insights analyzed a range of tablet screen sizes in the context of mobile ads. The goal of this study was to determine whether tablet screen size influences user browsing behavior, as well as the likelihood of clicking on an ad. This also poses other questions. Which tablets are optimal for Web use? Which tablets see the highest levels of Web use? And which screen formats lend themselves to the highest user-engagement rates?

To quantify this study, Chitika Insights analyzed millions mobile impressions from the Chitika ad network, drawn from a date range of June 19, 2012 to June 25, 2012. A user agent analysis was conducted to determine which impressions belonged to tablet devices, and the corresponding screen size of these devices. In aggregating the data, two different data sets were created – one including the iPad and one without (due to the massive Web presence of the iPad in the tablet market). The charts below offer a breakdown of advertisement CTR (click-through rate) and Web usage by tablet screen size:

In the above chart, the statistic that stands out immediately is that of all tablets, those with an 8-inch screen have the highest likelihood for their users to engage and click on advertisements. In this product group are some notable manufacturers such as Vizio and Pantech. However, it is important to note that the 8-inch tablet group also makes up the smallest overall share among all other screen sizes, although they do present a sample size that is statistically significant. This may be a testament to the fact that these tablets are less adept for Web browsing, or at least their users are. Moreover, the 8.9-inch tablets, which have the second lowest Web presence according to this study, have the second highest CTR of all tablets at 1.03%.

Another metric that becomes readily apparent is the CTR increase when the iPad is included. With iPad impressions included, 9.7” tablet users click 1.02% of Web ads. The iPad makes up over 90% of tablet traffic in Chitika’s ad network, so by not including it we see a more accurate picture of what click rates are for all other 9.7 inch tablets. The reason for this significant increase is based on the iPad’s undisputed dominance of tablet Web usage, along with its previously observed high CTR.

In terms of screen size (after excluding the iPad), 10.1-inch and 7-inch tablets make up a majority of tablet Web use, just over 55% and 27% respectively. Some of the most popular tablet devices fall into this product range, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Asus Transformer Prime, and the Kindle Fire. Adding the iPad back into the mix further illustrates its position as market leader in the tablet market, claiming 90% of tablet Web use.

For advertisers and marketers, the results of this study show the importance of recognizing the physical medium through which consumers browse the Web and are exposed to advertising campaigns (in this case, we’re talking about screen size). Critically analyzing physical factors such as screen size or monitor resolution (to indicate computer age) can provide some deep insights into the behavior of consumers.

Stay tuned to future news and reports focused on technology and online advertising coming out of Chitika Insights!

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