It would be tough to be an advertiser and reconcile the contradictions they must hear about video advertising via mobile devices.
On the one hand, mobile use is skyrocketing—132 million consumers accessed the Internet via mobile devices last year-- and much of the time, mobile users are out in the marketplace. Whether you’re selling shoes, sub sandwiches or Subarus, the fact that your potential customers are carrying around your message in their hip pocket sounds enticing.
On the other hand, a Forrester Research study done for Tapjoy late last year shows that 70% of mobile users say in-app ads they receive over their mobile phones are interruptive, and two-thirds of them also found them annoying. Those percentages don't change much if the ads instead appear on their mobile device as they search a Web site, or browse through sites like YouTube.
It’s probably not sound business to base your decisions on negatives, but that’s a higher annoyance rate than TV or Web-based advertising.
When Forrester asked respondents what they did the last time they saw an in-app ad, half said they ignored it completely. Forrester quotes an analytics manager who says, well, that’s what everybody can say about a television ad, too.
Which is true, but not an overpowering retort.
Forrester prescribes some ways mobile video advertisers can (perhaps) have a better chance of getting their message across. To my reading it gets down to understanding that in unique ways, advertisers have to accede to mobile users’ POV more than they have so far.
For example, the study says 59% would be more at home with mobile ads that gave them some incentive for watching, and though Forrester says some advertisers resist that idea (it makes them seem like discounters), the distaste for the idea is going away. Forrester endorses the idea but does say advertisers shouldn’t make their offers look like bribes.
Another route is to offer an online video ad that is relevant—to the app, to the person or to their location. Forrester suggests giving consumers a choice of what pitches they want to see helps the completion rate. Opting-in is key. Yesterday Media Post’s Steve Smith made this very point, also using Tapjoy data.
Bottom line, Forrester says, mobile users probably aren’t going to watch long messages, even if they happen to be watching a long (for mobile) piece of content. Mobile users are neither the lean-back viewers of TV nor the lean-forward types using a laptop. They are somewhere in between—or just not leaning at all.
Forrester’s abstract of this doesn’t seem to point this out but more than any other type of screen where an advertiser is trying to make an impression, mobile users are usually doing something else (including shopping or on their way). Advertising really is a nuisance in many of those instances, not just annoying. But catch that mobile user at the right time, and that’s gold. You have a small screen, and a short window to get them. There’s a big reward if you do....if you do.