As many in the business world power down their work computers, set up their out-of-office reminders and anticipate tapping away on their new iPad Airs at home, many of us in the ad business are still ramping up massive mobile video campaigns on Dec. 25, Jan. 1 and in between. Still, amidst the rush, it's the perfect time to reflect on what we learned about mobile video in 2013 and think about what we need to know for 2014. It has been a watershed year for the advertising industry as a whole, but especially for those in the mobile video ad space.
What We Learned About Mobile Video Advertising In 2013
- We learned video is currently the fastest growing ad format in mobile, and mobile is the fastest growing channel across all digital ad spending. Mobile advertising is expected to blow past desktop by 2017, with much of this growth catalyzed by mobile video.
- We learned mobile is 20 percent of global Internet traffic, and ad views on mobile devices tripled year-over-year. Eyeballs are shifting to mobile at an astounding rate.
- We learned short form is the right form for mobile video ads. Do you want to watch a 60 second-plus ad on your iPhone? Didn't think so. What could be worse than that? Sitting through 30 seconds of pre-roll just to get to 30 seconds of sports highlights. Think 15 seconds or less.
- We learned today's audience lives in their apps – a full 80 percent of time spent on mobile takes place in apps as opposed to mobile web. The majority of this time spent (about 87% of it) falls under games, entertainment (video and music), social, news and lifestyle. Knowing where the "heat" or audience is in the planning process for mobile video is a huge advantage for brands.
- We learned not all mobile video technology is created equal; there are still providers and platforms delivering grainy, choppy, forever-buffering experiences to consumers. Mobile video viewers won't wait more than 3 seconds for ad content to load before losing interest. Advertisers and publishers should never, ever be OK with a poorly delivered ad experience.
- We learned mobile video is a bridge to engagement. Stunning, HD mobile video followed by the opportunity to interact in ways that are endemic to mobile really works. Think tactile, touch-friendly, shake-able, tap-able, swipe-able, map-able and watch-able.
- We learned publishers are embracing mobile video advertising and driving significant revenue by monetizing all kinds of app content (not just video) with it. Yes, eCPMs really can be that high. You'll get used to it, we promise.
- We learned TV and mobile video are amazingly complimentary. They make one another's impact stronger than when alone. Anecdotally, we're seeing more synced TV and mobile video ad campaigns coming up in 2014 than ever.
What Should Be The Approach for Mobile Video Buying In 2014?
- Know where your target audience is actually spending their time and consider the user experience – especially when it comes to mobile. Look at the top ranked apps in the App Store – games, entertainment and music apps rule and are the best environments where consumers are receptive to video. (Note: Social apps are also huge, but may require a unique approach given the environment.)
- Know the technology you're buying. Don't settle for bad experiences for your potential customers. Long load times and grainy video can be eliminated.
- Keep mobile video ads short and sweet. Don't be afraid to go where few have gone before. There are amazing things that can be done with sight, sound and motion in 15 seconds or less.
- Leverage data and use the app ecosystem as your personal innovation lab to test and optimize creative.
- Get users to engage with richer experiences and simpler, cleaner calls to action. Engagement is the secret sauce for more effective mobile video advertising.
The next quarter alone brings out some of the best in the advertising industry. From the Super Bowl to the Academy Awards to the Winter Olympics, the primetime engagement experiences in mobile apps will not disappoint brands who have spent countless hours developing brilliant creative. Savvy advertisers have secured their positions in the hottest apps in the world across categories to take advantage of mobile in 2014.
Hats off to marketers, publishers and technologists for raising the mobile video advertising bar as we know it for this year. We can't wait to tap into 2014.