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5 ways you can screw up mobile video

5 ways you can screw up mobile video Scott Swanson

Mobile marketers are excited about the possibilities of mobile video advertising -- as they should be. It seems like every day a new study comes out. Cisco, for instance, reported that 51 percent of all mobile data consumed is video, and it will grow 16-fold to be two-thirds of the world's mobile data traffic by 2017.

And as viewing increases, so will ad dollars. Mobile video ad spend is set to quadruple from $518 million to nearly $2.1 billion in 2016. The growth rate will be far greater than that of television, online, or even total digital.

If you're a brand marketer, you might be itching to quickly get on the mobile video ad train before it passes you by. But be careful; like any quickly growing medium, there are bound to be some misconceptions around the real capabilities and best applications of these new ad units.

Here are some of the most common mistakes we've seen newbies make, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

Relying on publishers to provide mobile video inventory

If you want to run a mobile video campaign with any scale, there are only a handful of individual publishers that have sufficient volume to fulfill your buy. And even those on their own might not provide exactly the right audience for you. You'd have to do dozens of buys to get the right combination. Instead, many choose a brand-friendly mobile ad network. Some have transparent, customizable site and app lists, so you can get the extra security of knowing for sure that the content is safe for your brand.

Putting all your eggs in the "tablet" basket

Sure, lots of tablet users are consuming video. What else is your iPad for if not binge-viewing "Arrested Development" in bed? The larger screen and lean-back usage make it a great choice for video consumption. But tablets only really account for 10 percent of time spent watching mobile video. Smartphones account for the remaining 90 percent, according to mobile analytics firm Flurry.

In addition, unlike tablets, smartphones are always on. Consumers watch premium video on their phones all day long, not just in the evening. That allows you as an advertiser to capture their attention at all times of day (and night) and share a consistent, persistent message, which means better recall and greater impact.

Assuming that pre-roll ads are the best

Sure, pre-roll is the most requested form of mobile video advertising, and it's where the bulk of the inventory lies. But while they do get significantly more impressions, you shouldn't discount the rest. Mid-roll ads have the highest completion rates, as well as better click-through rates than pre-rolls and post-rolls, according to Adobe's latest report on mobile video. And if you're a direct response advertiser, consider post-roll ads. Logic dictates and metrics prove that viewers are much more likely to tap on a call-to-action that takes them away from their video once they're done viewing it.

Treating mobile video like an online video "mini-me"

Yes, the screen is smaller. But that doesn't mean you can just shrink down your online video campaigns to mobile size and call it a day. Successful mobile video campaigns are those that consider the difference in platform, use type, and behavior.

One big difference, for example, is that unlike desktop, mobile operating systems support full-screen, immersive experiences. When you play a video on your smartphone or tablet, it takes over the whole screen. While the platform is designed to "single-task" at that moment, mobile device users are more accustomed to multitasking. Tempt them with interactive, clickable elements on top of the video such as text, graphics, or video overlays. You might be surprised at how hard that temptation-to-tap is to resist.

Measuring video like you do display

This might seem like a stupid mistake because as you know, video is a different medium than display. But you'd be surprised at how many people still have clicks and impressions in their head and forget that mobile video ads are closer in comparison to TV commercials than to display campaigns. Top-of-funnel metrics like video views, completion rates, time spent, social views, post-click engagement, and social shares are how you should be measuring impact.

Just as you might with TV, you can run brand studies and ad effectiveness studies that correspond with your campaign to understand its effectiveness. However, this is where mobile video blows TV out of the water. Up until recently, mobile video spots were a lot like TV commercials; you couldn't interact with them. Now, however, we have interactive video units that allow users to engage with the ad in ways they cannot on TV, which not only means deeper brand impact but also allows for more measurable results.

Scott Swanson is CEO of Mobile Theory.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Worried teenager with mobile phone" image via Shutterstock.

Scott Swanson is CEO and co-founder of Aki Technologies (www.a.ki), the first ad platform built for mobile moment targeting and insights. A pioneer in mobile advertising, Scott previously founded Mobile Theory, one of the industry’s most...

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