The video ad is autoplay (without audio) and plays in the expanded (320x180) unit until the end or a user closes the ad by clicking an X icon in the upper left corner. A message at the bottom of the video invites users to click for more product information, which could lead to a brand Web site, additional videos or other content.
Zumobi CEO Ken Willner views the new video ad format, launching on the company's mobile app network, as less intrusive than pre-rolls or the type of interstitial video ads associated with gaming apps. “Our solution is a teaser that takes up a small portion of the screen and the user can decide whether to go on further,” he said.
But the ad still takes up a good chunk of a phone's precious screen space and since the video is autoplay, it's interruptive — even if it doesn't fill the screen. While users may be annoyed by having to watch a pre-roll before a selected video, that ad type doesn't necessarily autoplay before the video.
Willner emphasized that users have the option of immediately closing the ad if they don't want to watch the video. But the collapsed banner will remain at the bottom of the screen. Regardless of the user experience, video ads are gaining a higher profile on mobile devices as ad options increase and smartphone and tablet adoption grows.
Facebook on Monday announced the availability of video creative for its mobile app ads, likely as a preliminary step to a wider rollout of video advertising in the news feed on desktop and in mobile. The social network also recently began testing autoplay videos in the mobile news feed, limited initially to musicians, bands, and celebrities.
eMarketer projects U.S. mobile video advertising this year will more than double to $576 million from $244 million last year. But it remains a small portion of the $8.5 billion in overall video advertising the research firm forecasts in 2013.
Corona and Nissan are among the brands using Zumobi’s new mobile video unit, which will soon be available to run on any MRAID-compatible app or mobile site in addition to its own network of over 1,000 publishers.