The Future of Mobile Video Advertising

Two weeks ago, we referenced a report from eMarketer which showed that Americans are spending more time engaging with digital media than television—mobile accounts for almost half of the time people spend with digital media. According to the AdAge Mobile Fact Pack, mobile advertising has experienced growth of 75% in 2013. No longer an emerging channel, mobile is now an essential part of any digital marketing strategy.

In the past two years, the share of mobile and tablet video viewing increased by a factor of 10 (Ooyala Q2 2013 Global Video Index).

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In the first three months of 2013, the share of video viewing on mobile devices experienced exponential growth.

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Obviously, advertisers are responding to the increases in mobile video viewing. This will not only have an impact on the kinds of content brands produce, but it will also affect mobile video formats. At first, many marketers repurposed television spots for mobile users. Over time, mobile video marketing evolved as companies began to create unique, tailored content for mobile devices.

The mobile video marketing space is constantly changing. With the introduction of short-form video apps like Vine and Instagram Video, marketers have started to experiment with six-second and 15-second video length limitations. The branded clips distributed on these sites have generated thousands of interactions and conversations—advertisers and brands are contributing to the popularity of short-form mobile videos.

While on mobile devices, users are simply more receptive to shorter video content. FreeWheel, in its Q1 2013 Video Monetization Report, found that short-form video views dominated, comprising 87% and 86% of total video views for Linear + Digital and Digital Pure-Play (see definitions below chart).

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Several articles claim that five- and 10-second mobile video spots are expected to increase in popularity. YouTube holds significant potential for mobile video marketing, but that’s nothing new. YouTube dominates when it comes on online video and brands have been using the site to deliver pre-roll ads, full length advertisements and other marketing content. I believe the true opportunity lies in pre-roll ads, many of which are skippable.

This may seem like a roadblock for advertisers and brands who take more than five seconds to deliver a message. Yes, there are skippable ads that make users watch up to 60-seconds of an ad. However, most pre-roll ads allow users to skip the ad after five seconds. Brands have absolutely no problem creating six-second Vine videos; would five-second pre-rolls be any different?

If given the option, most YouTube users are going to skip pre-roll ads—so deliver your message in five seconds! If viewers have to sit through at least five seconds of your ad, make those seconds count. Of course, you would still need to make additional content available if a user decides to watch the entire ad. With the growing popularity of short-form mobile video content, it’s surprising that a majority of brands aren’t getting creative with skippable pre-roll video ads.

YouTube is only one of hundreds of other sites companies can use to promote mobile video. As time goes on, brands will have to tailor content across video hosting and seeding sites in order to appeal to internet users. The future of mobile video advertising is short-form content, and marketers who adapt to meet the video viewing needs of mobile users will most likely see a greater ROI.

Have you seen any great examples of short-form branded mobile video content? Any thoughts on the future of mobile video advertising? Let us know in the comments below!

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