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A marketer's guide to mobile video advertising

A marketer's guide to mobile video advertising Paul Bremer

Mobile video is no longer a niche medium, and is now poised to challenge TV as the preferred choice for consumer-content consumption. Mobile video ads are more engaging than TV spots and outperform online in all-important metrics, boasting an 87 percent average completion rate (nearly 25 percent higher than online). Currently, some estimates peg the U.S. mobile video audience at more than 150 million. JP Morgan predicts over 100 million tablets will be sold worldwide in 2012. Google recently reported that more Americans have internet-capable mobile devices than PCs. As a result of this unprecedented growth, the audience for mobile video is here now and here to stay.

Now that the consumer has arrived, advertisers need to understand the subtleties and unique qualities of mobile. Here are five basic rules of mobile video advertising that will help brand advertisers take full advantage of this transformative medium.

All mobile video ads are not equal

The type of ad served and environment in which it is placed greatly affect the user experience and, therefore, the success of mobile video advertising campaigns. The four primary types of mobile video ads are:

  • In-stream video -- The premiere advertising option in mobile. These units appear directly before videos clips or as a commercial break in full episodes. They are most similar to the "pre-roll" video unit that is so popular in video programming online.

  • Interactive pre-roll video/ interstitial video/ pre-app video -- Called by many names in the industry, these ads appear outside of the video experience. For example, at app launch, between game levels, or at screen change.

  • In-banner video -- This unique ad plays video automatically in a banner, enticing the viewer to tap. Once the viewer taps, the ad expands seamlessly while the video restarts with audio, allowing viewers to watch the entire video in a more robust experience.

  • Tap-to video -- An unobtrusive display ad that offers consumers the choice of experiencing a video ad by enticing them to tap to a full screen video ad.

Along with ad type, user experience must also be considered when crafting a mobile video advertising campaign. Because of increased demand for mobile video ads, publishers, and networks have begun to insert them in both natural and unnatural environments. As with all advertising, campaigns that have the audience's expectations as the first consideration achieve better results.

Context matters

The subject matter and type of content in which mobile video ads are shown has a notable affect on ad performance. For example, interactive pre-roll ads have more than 50 percent higher completion rate when served within premium media properties. Video ads within premium video content provide a fair value exchange for viewers who expect to watch an ad in order to access the desired content. For example, when entertainment and consumer packaged goods ads are played within content on entertainment properties, they experience a 6 percent increase in completion rate. Consumers are more immersed in ads that are contextually relevant.

Consumers watch mobile video throughout the day

Unlike online, and especially TV, mobile video is much more consistently viewed throughout the day. There are no peak "primetime" hours. Consumers use their mobile devices first thing in the morning, at work, during their lunch hours, and even in their homes at night. Watching video on mobile devices is sometimes a complimentary piece to consuming media via other avenues but, oftentimes, mobile is the sole source of media consumption, especially when away from the home. As a result, mobile video "pods" tend to be one or two ads, typically 15 seconds in length. No need to wedge six to eight ads back-to-back when mobile users are digesting content on their terms and on their time.

Targeting and interactivity capitalizes on the engaged mobile user

Much like online, mobile video advertising can identify and target specific audiences and types of consumers. Targeting along with the unique interactivity options available on mobile helps brands achieve specific goals for their campaigns. Specific actions allow an engaged consumer to continue to interact with a brand and foster a deeper, more meaningful brand experience before seamlessly returning to the content. Here are some examples:

  • Mobile advertising offers call-to-action buttons that allow consumers to "like" a brand on Facebook, call a local store, add an event to their calendar, share the video on Twitter, make a purchase on Amazon or Fandango, etc.

  • Mobile also takes advantage of proven methods for zeroing in on an audience like daypart, demo, and geotargeting.

Executing mobile ad campaigns well isn't easy

Serving high quality and consistent mobile video advertising is uniquely challenging due to a wide variety of devices and screen sizes, as well as different operating platforms. Video ads must be served at assorted speeds and need to adhere to a variety of streaming protocols. Vetting a mobile video partner to ensure consistently high quality ad serving can make or break a mobile video advertising campaign.

As media consumption continues to shift, advertisers need to stay ahead of the curve. Understanding the subtleties of mobile will allow advertisers to get the most from their mobile video campaigns. Mobile advertising and especially mobile video advertising are relatively young mediums that will continue to evolve over time. No matter what the future holds, understanding mobile will be vital to advertisers looking to effectively engage an active public that controls consumption as never before.

Paul Bremer CRO for Rhythm.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Mobile device video" image via Shutterstock.

As an accomplished and well respected expert in digital media, Paul leads Rhythm's brand sales strategy and national sales team. Paul brings 15 successful years of digital advertising sales and management to his role as chief revenue...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Kevin Rice

2012, March 07

Great insights Paul.

You mentioned having a CTA. This is something that as a mobile consumer I notice is frequently being lost sight of. I will watch a video, become engaged, and then be left with a blank screen. Tell me what the next step is. Do you want me to interact with you on FB? Do you want to give me a coupon? Do you want to help me find your product?

I love mobile, it is the future of consumer engagement, but advertisers have a long way to go in learning how to improve brand experience in the mobile space.