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Mobile UK Media

The rise and rise of mobile video: Who said we wouldn’t watch TV on a small screen?

By Julian Smith |

December 1, 2014 | 4 min read

Mobile video is exploding. It has never been easier to watch video on your smartphone thanks to larger, sharper screens and ever faster mobile internet. On top of that, with more and more people adopting smartphones worldwide there are simply more devices capable of it.

According to Ooyala, mobile accounted for 21 per cent of online video watched globally in January. By June this was 27 per cent. By 2016, over half of all online video will be watched on a mobile device.

And this isn’t just short YouTube clips either. Ooyala claims that 75 per cent of time watching videos on mobile is spent on content over 10 minutes long, a higher percentage than on either tablet or desktop. This length of content is hugely important for marketers as consumers are more likely to sit through an ad if it is followed by longer content.

Video is a natural medium for mobile advertising. It allows creative expression without paying for complex formats like touchable or shakeable mobile ads, and is perfect for building your brand and conveying the traits that you want to be associated with. Communicating your brand more clearly lets customers understand your offerings more, and drives greater engagement with your brand.

As a consequence of audience behaviour, video is one of the fastest growing sectors of mobile advertising. A BI Intelligence report suggests that it will have a compound annual growth rate of 76 per cent between 2013 and 2018, second only to display advertising. Furthermore, as consumers get more comfortable watching longer videos on mobile, the length that advertisers have to work with increases too.

Brands are realising this possibility, and we are starting to see native, long-form mobile video ads appearing. PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats, for example, is running full 30-second video ads within the Pandora iPhone app. This is a fantastic development for consumer packaged goods and other brands that often tell longer stories in their ads that are not easily cut down to 15 seconds.

On top of this, video is becoming an ever more important method of standing out in the crowded app stores. Google Play has allowed app preview videos for a while now, and Apple has just joined it. These videos allow a far better demonstration of what an app is about than simple screenshots, and with the two major app stores each having well over a million apps, this could be the extra touch that makes an app stand out.

With the growing number of marketers looking to buy mobile video ads, media owners are focusing on providing them the opportunity to. Apple is boosting its iAds offering by opening up inventory for full screen mobile video ads. Earlier this year, Facebook allowed autoplay of video ads embedded into users' newsfeeds, and Twitter is testing ‘Promoted Videos’ to take on Facebook with its own news feed video ads. Interest in the area can also be seen by the acquisitions that have been made: just this month, Yahoo purchased Brightroll for $640 million.

There does, of course, remain some challenges with mobile video. Standardisation and measurement are the two biggest obstacles that marketers come up against. Mobile is a very different platform for video to desktop, and extra considerations need to be taken when advertising on it.

Companies including Brightroll aim to make this easier by maintaining a standard across the ad spots they offer. Measurement is difficult in that companies can see views and clicks made, but would like a greater understanding of the brand building benefits of the medium. Greater adoption of brand effectiveness studies in mobile will be needed.

If you are a traditional TV advertiser, you now need to be thinking of how to distribute your audio-visual brand content on the small screen mobile channel as well as the 42” plasma in the corner of the living room.

Julian Smith is head of strategy and innovations at Fetch

Mobile UK Media

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