AdMob isn't waiting on the sidelines for the Google deal to close. The mobile ad network has introduced interactive video ad units for iPhone applications. Advertisers can run video ads either as click-to-play or auto-play, with the latter option launching ads as soon as an app is uploaded.
The format also lets marketers add "action" buttons to ads that take users directly to the App Store or iTunes to help drive downloads of branded content. Others would allow people to share videos with friends or connect to social networking sites within the video player. Or go directly to an online retailer like Amazon to buy an advertised product.
"This ad unit helps advertisers and agencies extend their existing campaigns to mobile by using video assets created for other mediums and overlaying interactive elements in the highly measureable mobile environment," wrote Ali Diab, vice president for product, at AdMob, in a blog post.
To help insure video ads load fast and run smoothly, AdMob is relying on its network of distributed servers to power the system. Each video is created in different file sizes and then streamed according to the appropriate connection type, whether Edge, 3G or Wi-Fi.
If the new units run as trouble-free as promised, they should prove to be an attractive option for marketers looking to extend video campaigns to mobile phones. But iPhone users may be annoyed to find a video ad start playing automatically when they open an app or access other content. Online, people have come to expect pre-roll ads to play when they click on a Web video. But not when they click on a mobile app.
And with the slowness iPhone users can experience with data connections, a slow-loading or jittery video ad could be especially frustrating for someone who just wants to play Bejeweled 2. But there's always the click-to-play option for advertisers.