Tablet usage has exploded in the last two years – are you doing enough to address this valuable audience?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that 31% of the U.S. Internet population owns or regularly uses a tablet, and that percentage will reach 47% by 2013 (OPA). In addition, tablet users bought an average of $359 in products from their devices in the last 12 months.

Clearly, this is a segment that marketers can’t ignore. Here are five tips to help you assess the size of your tablet audience and provide them with an engaging experience.

1. Review your web analytics.

Determine the size and behavior of your tablet audience by reviewing analytics for your web properties. Adobe reports that tablets make up about 4% of total web traffic, so if you’re seeing a similar or larger share on your site, consider making strategic marketing investments. In addition, drill down and look at metrics like bounce rate, average visit duration and clickstream to learn about their behavior.

2. Optimize existing content for tablets.

Unless you have a fair amount of money and time to devote to a tablet-specific site, it’s probably best to optimize the desktop version of your site for tablet users, as described in a recent post. However, optimization goes beyond your web site – tablet users are reading your emails and visiting your advertising or promotional landing pages as well.

Optimizing for tablets is ultimately about simplifying your design, and by doing so you will improve the experiences of tablet and desktop users.

3. Create content with tablets in mind.

The OPA reports that 94% of tablet users access content or information on their devices, far higher than those that play games, check email or use a social network.

Tablet users enjoy a lean-back experience, and you can hold their attention by delivering engaging multimedia content. Are you creating marketing materials or PDF’s for your site? Try a tablet-friendly solution from Zmags. Want to drive more interaction in your e-commerce section? Try adding 360-degree product images.

4. Video is king.

Tablet users love their video, and according to comScore, they’re nearly three times as likely to watch video as smartphone users. If you’re not already using video on your web site and elsewhere, now is the time to start. Make sure to prominently feature videos for product tutorials, case studies, reviews and more.

5. Attract new users with rich media advertising.

Not only do tablet users like to watch videos, they also engage with ads. Medialets found in their Q1 2012 benchmarks report that rich interstitials yielded a 10% engagement rate on tablets, while rich expandable banners yielded a whopping 17%!

Take the opportunity to engage users with a lean-back ad experience using rich banners, interstitials or pre-roll video. Need a partner? Try Medialets or Millennial Media.

No matter what the size of your business or your budget, there are plenty of ways you can engage tablet users – get started by acting on one of these tips today!

About the Author: Cory Gaddis is a regular contributor to the 60 Second Marketer and helps Mobilize Worldwide create mobile marketing campaigns for a wide variety of clients.