Mobile video: don’t just repurpose, rethink

In an edition of a magazine coming out in spring, the season of change, we suggest it’s time for brands to also embrace change and update their way of thinking, perhaps not to ‘mobile first’, but certainly to ‘mobile equal’ when planning cross channel video campaigns.

According to the latest figures from the IAB, mobile video remains the fastest growing advertising channel, up 142 per cent year on year, so it will soon be one of the biggest lines on your media plan if it isn’t already, why then is it still not being done right? At a time when we discover goldfish now have longer attention spans than us (thanks to the very devices under the spotlight here) and with audiences set to diminish in the face of emerging ad blocking technology, it’s important for brands to refresh their outlook.

Ad blockers will only gain traction if we continue to offer disruptive advertising experiences, but if we ensure relevancy then audiences will mind less. In fact, it was highlighted in this very publication that nearly half of consumers (49 per cent) wouldn’t mind their usage being tracked if it meant more relevant advertising. The easy conclusion to draw at this stage would be to use cookies, but when you consider, according to Flurry, 86 per cent of time spent on mobile devices is in app and that cookies don’t work in those environments, it does pose something of a problem.

The option remains to overlay online cookie data to mobile, but relating these different machines back to a single user currently carries with it the inevitable accuracy issues, not to mention the way we’ve all evolved in our usage of the various devices we each have in daily use – current figures strongly suggest it’s desktop for work and mobile for play. There is obviously some correlation but equally if our audiences are creating differentiation then we need to follow suit.

This paves the way for making use of what is unique to mobile, such as it being the only always-on device we carry with us everywhere. It is also infinitely customisable to the way we want to use it through the apps we elect to install, so without being overly intrusive there is an incredibly rich data pool available to reference even at the point an ad is served. Rather than relying on typical user data, we can make use of actual individual user profiles. If the audience targeting solution you’re buying doesn’t reflect this then you cannot be assured relevancy is being delivered.

Not only does the app eco-system enable the deployment of this invaluable insight, it also answers the first question we should be asked, but rarely hear, ‘how is my video going to look?’ Screen resolutions now enable a true HD quality viewing experience, but how much of that potential is actually being used? Unless supported by Wi-Fi many placements will be slow to load and grainy due to compression. It’s not dissimilar to connecting a wire coat hanger to the back of your 4K TV. You wouldn’t accept that at home so why expect your audience to similarly hang around while you try to advertise to them? Reality is 80 per cent of your potential viewers will have migrated away if the buffering process takes eight seconds. Talk about playing in to the hands of the ad blockers.

Apps enable video to be pre-cached so that when the viewer encounters your ad the play is high quality and instant. This isn’t future gazing; this is the least you should expect for the audiences you’re investing so much to reach.

Time is also an incredibly important factor; we’re now checking our mobiles 50 times a day, snacking on content rather than investing hours or even minutes on digesting information, so it should be no great surprise that according to TubeMogul completion rates fall by nearly a third between seven to 10 second and 15 second ads, versus just six per cent online. It’s therefore not only common sense dictating that on mobile less is most certainly more.

This research is still in its infancy. For example, our initial findings support that 15 seconds is verging on being too long and that sound can be somewhat redundant. There is however still plenty to explore so we recently launched the $1m Short Form Video Fund, which is available for brands to partner with us in establishing data led best practice for video on mobile. We’re currently shortlisting so contact us at to take part.

Jon Williams, Marketing Director EMEA, Opera Mediaworks

Tel: 020 3434 2400



Twitter: @OMWEMEA