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Mar 17

The Future of Mobile Video Advertising


In: Strategy Insights

If you follow the digital marketing space at all, hearing that “mobile and video are the future” is likely a familiar sentiment. The predictions of the past few years have been spot on—mobile and video are officially the present. In 2016 more than half of all views on YouTube were from mobile and over 1,000,000,000 mobile videos are watched on the platform each day. Considering we check our phones about 75 times a day, the need for mobile advertising to adapt is obvious. Which raises key questions—what does great mobile video advertising look like? How does your ad change to better suit the mobile viewer, and what can we expect to see going forward?


Digital Consumption Continues to Grow

Back when everyone was talking about the Content Shock Apocalypse, it was assumed that consumers had only a finite number of hours they could be viewing their screens each day. Then viewers started multitasking—browsing their phones while watching a TV show and simultaneously shopping online. According to a 2016 eMarketer report, while total daily media consumption continues to inch forward each year, time spent is shifting from traditional media towards digital. Television may remain the bread and butter of US media consumption with over 4 hours per day in 2016, but digital video (including both desktop/laptop and mobile) is expected to rise from just 1 hour, 1 minute in 2012 to 1 hour, 46 minutes in 2018—a 73% jump.

Overall growth in digital media consumption is slowing (as expected), but mobile video in particular remains resilient, growing in usage from 9 minutes to 34 minutes from 2012 to 2018, a 278% increase. While we are no longer seeing the year-over-year, triple-digit jumps experienced as mobile phones and tablets became common household items, the moral of the story is mobile video continues to take a larger piece of the pie.


Mobile Advertising Growth Keeps Pace

It is understandable then that advertisers have shifted a larger percentage of their spend towards digital platforms—mobile in particular—as consumers have shifted their behavior. Back in 2014, consumers hit the “mobile tipping point,” spending more of their digital time each day on a mobile device than a desktop or laptop. Then in 2016, mobile marketing crossed that threshold as well, according to eMarketer.

Suffice to say, the biggest question surrounding mobile video advertising hasn’t been “will it grow?” but rather, “what will work?”


Mobile Video Advertising vs Traditional

With the growth of mobile video both for entertainment and for advertising, brands have been forced to experiment in uncharted territory. How does a successful TV spot perform on mobile? How can format and messaging be changed to improve mobile performance? Back in 2015, Google took a shot at answering these questions by testing a successful Mountain Dew TV spot alongside two spots designed specifically for mobile video advertising. The outcome? The longer, less story-driven, and less brand-focused ad performed the best on mobile.

Obviously, this Google experiment is anecdotal at best, but what we can take away is that mobile video advertising should focus on entertaining and captivating attention, rather than just pedaling products.


Making the Unskippable Ad

According to a recent study by IPG Media Lab, 65% of people skip video advertising as soon as they get a chance. As the Google case study shows, utilizing curiosity and non-traditional story arcs can play a part in getting viewers’ attention and keeping it for longer than your average TV spot. Emotion can also act as a strong driver to keep people watching long after the “Skip Ad” button has appeared.

In February of 2017, YouTube announced they would stop offering 30-second unskippable ad spots, focusing instead on the 6- and 20-second placements. What this means for marketers is there are now two ways to play in the mobile marketing space going forward: creating short, powerful, impactful ads that make a point in a matter of seconds, or creating long-form videos that captivate viewers and entice them to keep watching.  

No matter which type of mobile ad you’re creating, the key takeaway is to get attention and to get it fast. This means less product placement and more creative storytelling which is a win for both advertisers and viewers alike.
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