Mobile Video TubeMogul

Making mobile work: Five ways to make sure your ads aren’t skipped



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December 16, 2014 | 5 min read

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Following the IAB’s announcement that mobile video is the fastest growing ad format in the UK, it is worth taking stock of the fact that only 15-25 per cent of skippable online video ads are viewed to completion.

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That means that at best, 75 per cent of all mobile ads are skipped. However, in order to help maximise the opportunity afforded by mobile video, brands can take the following steps to ensure their ads have the best chance of being seen:

1. Make ads specific to online environments

Repurposing TV ads that make use of a full 30 seconds for online environments isn’t effective. Skippable ads are by definition, advertising by invitation. If brands want to be let onto individuals’ screens for extended periods of time, they need to strive to create a compelling and engaging invitation possible. That means starting with a ‘bang’, and leading with an attention-grabbing scene within the first five seconds of the ad.

2. Use software to make sure the ad is relevant to the audience

As digital video advertising spend increases dramatically, it’s clear that advertising budgets are following audience eyeballs across devices. Video on Demand (VOD) services are helping drive this behavioural shift: Netflix, for example, added 1.7 million new customers in the first three months of this year and advertisers have taken note.

This new digital landscape offers the ability to meticulously track impressions and conversions, analyse the customer journey and importantly, target specific demographics to ensure ads are reaching a relevant audience. Where television relies on antiquated methods of measuring viewers to sell advertising, brands have a wealth of data analytics and measurement tools at their disposal in the VOD and online world. Relevant ads for specific audiences can be delivered more effectively and success can be gauged more accurately.

3. Add an interactive element

Adding interaction gives the user incentive to click through, opt-in and even ask questions, ultimately providing them with a more personalised and engaging user experience. Elements that allow advertisers to do this include a click, mouseover or rollover that could initiate further action or content; a clickable button that allows the user to access a brand’s social media channels; a call-to-action within the video footage itself, which pauses the action and allows the user to vote or click-through; or an overlay that initiates a microsite within the actual ad experience.

4. Incentivise the viewer not to skip

A few years back, Facebook began to incentivise users to watch sponsored videos embedded in games and apps by paying them ‘credits’. Ultimately, it didn’t work as advertisers weren’t getting quality leads. Instead, they attracted people who just wanted the credits. The lesson here is that the incentive (whether it be a competition prize, reward points or a travel upgrade) needs to fit the ad’s targeted user profile so it strikes the right chord with the right people.

Other ways to incentivise include evolving the story structure to allow the targeted audience to have a say in how ‘their’ content unfolds; offer viewers a choice of perspective so that their experience can be both shared and unique; and incorporate interactive product placement, which allows the user to order free samples or be in with a chance of winning that dream car / holiday etc.

5. Consider the ad length

Nobody wants to watch a feature-length ad in order to watch a two-minute music video. With this in mind, long-form ads need to have short-form edits so that they can better compliment the content they precede. The IAB recently found that 15 seconds appears to be the optimal length for digital video, but noted that ‘30-second spots do well at conveying a complex or emotionally resonant message’ – but that these formats work best when userinitiated.

Ad length, therefore, needs to be subject to a number of considerations – the content it precedes, the context in which it sits and the degree of user interaction, as well as the message that it is looking to convey.

Nick Reid, managing director UK , TubeMogul



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