By Daniel Hunter

A new report from the Brand Perfect initiative by Monotype Imaging Inc. reveals the need for brands and technology providers to collaborate with global publishers, enabling all parties to harness the growth opportunities that a cross-platform approach to advertising could bring.

The report, Adventures in Publishing — The New Dynamics of Advertising, exposes an untapped opportunity available to brand advertisers who want true access to mobile audiences. In the study, primary research focused on the current state of online consumer publishing across 100 top titles in the U.K., U.S. and Germany, and identified the fragmented nature of publishing channels today.

According to IDC predictions stated in the report, sales of tablets and smartphones will outstrip desktop sales by two to one, with tablets alone on target to do so in 2013. In an independent analysis by venture capitalists, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, smartphones are expected to more than double from 1 billion units in 2012 to more than 2 billion units by 2015, with the number of tablets almost tripling in the same timeframe from 1.1 billion units to just fewer than 3 billion units.

This expansion demonstrates the need for brands to ensure that their advertising strategies focus more heavily on these platforms. However, 93 percent of the publications reviewed in the Brand Perfect report have yet to offer true multi-device viewing.

Of the 78 consumer-facing English language publications detailed in the report, 83 percent have at least one app available in the Apple® App Store, Newsstand app or the Google Play service. Of these, 65 percent have published iPhone apps and 40 percent have published apps for the Android™ platform. All 78 publish on the iPad device.

However, only 25 percent of these were optimized for any form of tablet display, with most publishers using scaled-down versions of their desktop sites instead. Of the German titles reviewed, 10 percent are optimized for tablets. Publishers are continuing to find their mobile footing, as documented in the report, with 38 percent of publications offering an iPhone-optimized option.

Despite the emergence of responsive Web design, which enables optimal viewing experiences across a wide range of devices, the report identified that publishers are not supporting its use in online advertising. Where device-ready sites are not available, advertisements served are scaled down, often resulting in illegible typography and distorted imagery.

“Many brands know that they need to be developing campaigns that work across multiple devices, from the desktop, or even the TV, down to the smartphone," Neil Ayres, the editor of brandperfect.org, said.

"To support this, brands need adaptive media that enable them to reach consumers directly. This will only happen if more publishers invest in websites that satisfy readers regardless of what devices they use to access them.”

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