Overwhelmed By Mobile Video Advertising? Keep it Simple!

Mobile is without a doubt the coolest kid at the party right now.

Why mobile? For one, the growth of smartphones is massive. Forrester predicts that one billionpeople will own smartphones in 2016.

Engagement is another huge factor. A recent study by Nielsen found that 30 million Americans watched TV content via their mobile phones in 2011, and there are now billions of mobile video ad impressions available each month.

With this type of growth in mobile video usage and ad inventory availability, advertisers are understandably under pressure to reach mobile users via video. However, the sheer variety of device types, operating systems, and apps can be overwhelming for some advertisers and scare them off before they even begin.

My two cents: don’t overthink it. If you are looking to buy mobile video, keep it simple and you will execute successful video campaigns.

Here are a few basic things to consider before jumping into a mobile ad campaign:

  • Geo targeting: Geo targeting is a way for an ad to deliver content tailored to a viewer’s location and is an important part of mobile video campaigns. Any publisher or network worth its salt should be able to geo target at least down to the Zip Code level. Advertisers should plan their campaigns to leverage these capabilities by taking the users to distinct, geographically targeted landing pages.
  • Audience targeting: Reaching the right audience is also important, but since mobile doesn’t have cookies it can be tricky. Wondering how to fix that? Try working directly with publishers who have anonymous registration data on their users. Another more scalable solution is to work with a partner that gives you total transparency into exactly how many impressions you’re running on specific properties. For example, would you rather have a mid-campaign report that says you ran 1 million impressions on ESPN and 1 million impressions on NBC Sports, or a report saying you ran 2 million impressions on a “sports” channel?
  • Run across all media: With the proliferation of HTML5, mobile websites are starting to mirror application environments, so it’s not worth differentiating the two in your marketing plan. If you must choose, choose apps since they tend to provide a better video advertising environment than the mobile Web. Unless you are a device maker or a carrier looking to target the competition, run your campaign across all smartphone types. This will open up more inventory and enable you to reach more unique users. And while the tablet video ad experience is slightly different than on the smartphone, it's likely too early to budget spend between tablet and smartphones.
  • Performance metrics: What good is a modern digital ad campaign if you can’t measure its success? Running an ad campaign without a clear objective and performance metrics is like driving a car without a steering wheel. Comprehensive metrics are the foundation to any mobile ad campaign so media buyers can see what worked, what didn’t, and change their targeting accordingly. Specific metrics such as click-through rate, view-to-complete rate and percentage of impressions run to your target audience are available to make your campaign run as smoothly as anything you could do via traditional online advertising. Many networks can also layer on post campaign research to measure brand lift and brick-and-mortar sales.



So the next time you see 100 different steps you “have” to take for running successful mobile ads or else, forget about it. In most cases, further tinkering with your mobile video campaign will do more harm than good. Don’t overthink it. 

Start with these straightforward tips and you will be on your way to a super-targeted mobile campaign with measurable results in no time. It’s that plain and simple.

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