Video will become the largest driver of global mobile traffic by 2017. Nearly 40% of YouTube video views are on mobile. Propelled by large screen smartphones and fast data connections, video mobile consumption has increased dramatically in recent times. This is creating huge opportunities for brands to reach their customers through video ads, a nifty ad format for brand communication and customer engagement.
Marketers will spend over $1.4 billion on mobile video ads in 2014, or close to one-quarter of total digital ad spends, per eMarketer. Overall, the US digital video ad spend alone is projected to more than double between 2014 ($5.96 billion) and 2018 ($12.71 billion).
A number of factors are driving ad dollars from online video to mobile video.
- Users spending more time consuming content on mobile,
- Higher click through rates (CTRs) for video ads on mobile compared to online, and
- Higher user engagement on mobile compared to online
Given these trends, how can marketers maximize their chance of success for mobile video ad campaigns?
1. Not all screens are used the same way
Although most video ads can run on tablets and smartphones seamlessly, each of these platforms brings unique value to video marketers. Smartphones offer greater reach and usage distribution through the day compared to tablets. Mobile marketers should factor this in while determining the targeting parameters - if the campaign requires a wider reach or targeting throughout the day, smartphones might be the way to go.
2. Interactive content drives higher consumer engagement
Marketers need to customize and personalize content for high consumer engagement. However, customization comes at a cost. One way to work around this cost, is to build in some level of interaction into the mobile video ads. For example, ads which allow the users to interact with them by touch and gestures, tend to be more effective.
3. Shorter video ads work better on smartphones
Fifteen-second or less ads are much more effective than thirty-second spots for capturing smartphone users’ attention. Thirty-second ads that are more entertainment-driven are better suited for tablet devices. Marketers need to adapt the length of the video ad to the target platform.
4. Go beyond basic targeting for improved ad performance
Targeting is crucial. Go beyond demographic targeting to drive campaign performance.
- Location targeting or geo-targeting Location enables highly contextual targeting by inferring base locations (home, office) or locations around points-of-interest (POI) and showing only relevant ads.
- Day parting Tablets tend to be prime time, at-home devices, whereas smartphone usage is spread across the day. Day parting helps an advertiser’s ad dollars go farther.
- Targeting based on network infrastructure Video ads are more sensitive to bandwidth fluctuations compared to other ad formats. A savvy marketer would deliver video ads that are adjusted for bandwidth for a great user experience.
5. Determine How Video Display Type and Platform Impact Cost and Effectiveness
Mobile video ads can be divided into three main types, delivered in two different contexts. For ad types, there are in-stream, in-banner and interstitial ads. And for ad contexts, there’s the choice between ads running in apps or on the mobile web
Ad Types: The choice between in-stream vs. either in-banner or interstitial video ad types is often a choice between impact cost level
Ad Context: Marketers will have to decide depending on the audience and their campaigns. While mobile web has a large number of audiences, native apps are the best way to go for an engaging experience. Research from Nielsen released in March 2014 shows a strong leaning toward apps over the mobile web. In Q4 2013, US smartphone users spent 89% of their monthly time consuming media through mobile apps vs. only 11% of media time through the mobile web. Tablet users were not too different: 81% of their monthly media time was through mobile apps and 19% was via the mobile web.
One additional issue to take into account when weighing apps vs. mobile web ads is games. Games are a central setting for mobile video advertising. eMarketer estimates that more than 58% of US mobile phone users in 2014 will play games—more than those who will listen to music (33.2%), conduct searches (51.2%) or tap into social networks (50.2%).
6. Measure, measure and measure
Measure key performance indicators for your mobile video ad campaign and optimize continuously. The key metrics to track include:
- a. Interaction rate - which helps gauge engagement
- b. Generation metrics - which offer insight into how long it takes users to go from viewing the ad to some desired action
- c. Time spent - which works better with tablets than smartphones
- d. Cost per view - which helps marketers evaluate the quality of those views
- e. Completion rates - which act as a proxy for branding
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