In "Messaging, In-App and Mobile Internet Strategies 2012-2017," Juniper analyst Charlotte Miller stated, "Mobile advertising gives marketers the chance to reach consumers on a more personal level than any other types of advertising. Creating immersive and entertaining experiences to attract the attention of the consumer is essential for marketers wanting to take advantage of the massive increase in app usage." I couldn't have said it better myself, except to add that mobile video ads offer brand marketers one of the best ways to run immersive and engaging creative. And marketers are taking notice. According to eMarketer, mobile video is the fastest-growing mobile ad format and mobile video ad spending is predicted to reach $395.6 million in 2015.
So how can brand marketers make the most of this emerging opportunity? Below are five things to consider when running mobile video ads.
New data from a Harris Interactive survey suggests that consumers don't like mobile ads that are patterned after web-based units. According to the survey, only 40 percent of smartphone owners prefer to see banner ads, while 60 percent prefer to see immersive and interactive ad units. Additionally, only 38 percent of smartphone owners prefer to see pre-roll video ads in mobile apps, while 62 percent prefer to either initiate the video ad or view it during a natural break in app usage. These results unveil the need for new mobile video advertising formats. The good news is that the industry is headed in the right direction. Recently, the IAB's Peter Minnium, head of brand initiatives at the IAB, stated, "I estimate that well over 90 percent of digital video advertising is linear and non-interactive and that's a huge problem because it's just repurposed TV advertising then…we need to establish right now the fact that when you see a digital video ad on a laptop, phone, or tablet that you should be able to do more with it." Amen. New mobile video ad formats are offering brands a new canvas that include interactivity, social sharing, and many other features that are sure to make marketing messages all the more impactful.
The Pew Research Center reports that 44 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and the number of tablet owners grew by 50 percent since last summer. What is this audience doing on mobile devices? They're flocking to apps. What's more, consumers are spending half their time on mobile devices using gaming apps. For this reason, games (among other apps) are great environments for brand advertising. They offer marketers a one-to-one connection and 100 percent viewable advertising, all the while delivering a massive and engaged audience. According to eMarketer, this year 73.5 million mobile users will play games at least monthly; by 2015, more than 100 million U.S. adults will play games regularly on their phone. Imagine how impactful and entertaining interactive mobile video ads will be when displayed in front of this audience.
Mobile video ads shown in apps create an experience similar to television commercials, where a brand's ad is always viewable and marketers get full share of voice. Since the entire advertising experience happens within apps, marketers have the option to rethink how they're measuring mobile video ads. They should consider offering top-of-the funnel metrics that take the onus off of clicks and impressions. For example, video views, social views, social shares, and time spent offer new and exciting ways for brands to measure impact.
When running mobile video ads, marketers should make sure to offer the optimal user experience. First, partner with vendors offering pre-fetch technology, which preloads video ads onto the phone before they are served. Pre-fetch technology won't eat away at consumers' bandwidth and will ensure video ads load immediately so there is no buffering. Second, all video ads should be user initiated or appear during natural breaks in app usage -- such as in between levels of a game -- so that consumers won't be disrupted while they're using an app or playing a game.
Brand marketers should run their mobile video ads across a variety of devices, including Android phones and tablets, iPhones, and iPads. They should also facilitate social sharing for Facebook and Twitter so their video ads can appear on consumers' Facebook walls and in their Twitter feeds. With this approach, brands are putting mobile first and moving from mobile to social and to desktops, all the while increasing the reach of their mobile video ad campaigns. In short, marketers shouldn't be afraid to experiment with interactive advertising formats, such as video ads, and keep an eye out for innovations. This will be done most effectively with ad formats that respect user experience.
Ari Brandt is CEO of MediaBrix.
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"Smartphone mobile video" image via Shutterstock.
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