Mobile video ads are seeing a surge in popularity in the wake of various studies showing markedly improved performance vs. static media ads. Invodo reports that 57% of consumers consciously acknowledge that they are more likely to have confidence making a purchase if they first view a product video. Adobe reported that mobile video consumption grew 300% in 2012, and eMarketer recently projected that mobile video ad spend in the US will more than double between now and 2016--reaching an annual sum of $2.1 billion.
It makes sense: if you competitor shows the consumer a polished, attractive video ad, and you only provide a static image, who has made the stronger impression?
But while mobile video ads are growing undeniably more popular with advertisers, they still rank only third in terms of consumer preference--largely due to advertisers not appreciating the unique considerations involved with mobile video.
Here are some key factors to making sure that your mobile video ads are helping your brand--and not devaluing it.
Mobile video ads - Shorter Is Better
When it comes to television ads, consumers have grown accustomed to the standard, 30 second commercial spot--but mobile is an entirely different ballgame. Smaller screen sizes, limited data plans, and a totally different context for engagement mean advertisers need to approach video length very carefully.
In the US, the prevailing philosophy is to make mobile video ads as “snackable” as possible--which typically means 15 seconds or shorter. After all, people use their mobile devices very differently than they use their televisions: instead of “vegging out” on the sofa at home, mobile consumers interface with their devices in short bursts of activity, with a specific goal in mind. Mobile video ads that are too long run the risk of disrupting this goal.
"No one is going to watch a six second Vine followed by a 30 second ad," said Lewis Rothkopf, SVP of network development and publisher acquisition at Jumptap.
The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association’s) Mobile Video Benchmark Study found that lengthier mobile video ads (longer than 30 seconds) received only about half the click-through rate enjoyed by shorter ads.
Mobile Video Ads - To Skip, or Not To Skip?
Not surprisingly, the MMA study reported an overwhelming discrepancy in completion rates for videos featuring an optional “skip” button vs. videos consumers were required to watch all the way through. Regardless of ad length, the completion ratio of skippable vs. non-skippable remained fairly constant: 92-96% completion for non-skippable ads vs. just 9-14% completion rates for skippable ads.
It’s a tradeoff--adding a “skip” feature to a mobile video ad may mitigate brand devaluation from consumers who find the ad irrelevant, but it also means you will get only get your message out to 1/10th of the people--many of whom could well be ideal consumers who are only skipping your ad because they can. The industry as a whole seems to prefer to avoid the “skip” feature--68% of all mobile video ad impressions are unskippable.
Mobile Video Ads - Which Vertical Gets The Best Engagement?
As this chart shows, though the Entertainment industry uses by far the most mobile video ads (53% of all mobile impressions have video), they lag in overall engagement compared to mobile video ads from the automotive industry and retail.
Mobile Video Ads See The Best Completion Rates With Night Owls
People who keep odd hours are much, much more likely to engage with mobile video ads, according to the MMA report. While engagement rates fluctuate only a little throughout the day (hovering around 50%), mobile video ads on smart phones and tablets alike see a huge spike in completion rate around 2:00 AM, jumping to more than 80%.
On smartphones, the click-through rate followed this pattern as well, spiking to an all-day high of 2.5% around 2:00AM (tablet CTR was not affected by this trend).
In-App Space Dominates Mobile Video Ad Industry
75% of mobile video ad inventory purchased is in-app, not the mobile web. This overwhelming percentage actually underrepresents the time consumers spend in apps, however--which is reported to account for a full 80% of mobile use.
One of the big advantages of serving mobile video ads in apps is the option of serving your media in an ”opt-in” capacity, meaning consumers actually choose to watch a video as part of the app experience, usually in return for some sort of reward (in-app currency is the most common). Opt-in video ads see substantially higher completion rates and retention compared to the more disruptive interstitial mobile video ads that play automatically between in-app events.