Why Mobile Video Will Grow Even Faster Next Year

Some of us have always been bullish about the prospects for mobile video. 

With a fast-growing smartphone market, improved connection speeds and more advantageous data plans available – combined with an appetite for more engaging content — there’s every reason to believe that mobile video will be a powerful channel for advertisers. 

But don’t just take my word for it. We know that that mobile video views increased 300% last year. That stat, combined with new data and market news makes it clear that it’s time for brands and agencies to sit up, pay attention, and start making plans. In particular, eMarketer noted earlier this year that mobile video spend is growing at nearly 3x the pace of desktop-based online video. While eMarketer does expect the pace to moderate in future years, it still predicts that mobile will continue outpace traditional online video in growth. “By 2017,” it reports, “29.7% of all digital video ad spending will go toward mobile ads (including ads served to tablet devices).”



If that’s not reason enough to get excited about mobile video as we finish Q4, here are a few more good ones: 

  • The numbers are in: Mobile video drives customer engagement – even better than desktop-based online video. Jun Group reported that, in the first and second quarters of 2013 the interaction rate for mobile video ads reached 5%, more than double the 2.4% rate for online video ads. MediaPost's Online Video Insider infers that this “means mobile viewers are more likely to visit a brand’s Facebook page or website to share the video. The reason? Mobile users often have fewer tabs open, so they are less distracted. They’re paying more attention to the ad in the first place, and when that happens they’re more inclined to interact in some fashion.” 
  • Follow the leaders – they’re committing to mobile video, too. Facebook is upping its commitment to mobile video, which is it’s fastest growing advertising segment. "Facebook is laying the foundation for a new video ad product, which we believe could be its next billion-dollar business," Jefferies analyst Brian Pitz was cited as telling clients in a note. Facebook’s new video ads will 15-second video ads will display in-stream on both the desktop and mobile devices, according to the Wall Street Journal. Google’s YouTube platform may have generated $350 million in Q1 of this year with approximately 25% of YouTube videos are viewed on mobile devices. So, if the two top platforms are investing so heavily in mobile video, it stands to reason that this is where the puck is heading. And, FYI, to round out the big three, Yahoo is in the game, too: Yahoo Screen, a mobile video viewer, was unveiled last month – and it’s ad-supported.
  • Instagram – on of the 15 most-downloaded apps across platforms - launched in-stream video ads: On October 3, Facebook-owned Instagram announced on its blog that it will begin delivering both photo and video ads within its popular mobile app. From the sound if it, the apps will be native-style and, at least in these early days, carefully curated. ”We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.” Given the size of Instagram (130 Million users as of June 2013) and its ability to easily share content across social platforms, their foray into video advertising is a tremendous endorsement – and opportunity – for the channel.

Not only do we have evidence that mobile video advertising works, we have the three biggest players in the industry (and their offspring!) showing their love – if committing dollars and development teams can be construed as signs of affection, that is. 

IAB research from Q4 of 2012 revealed that 9 out of 10 mobile video viewers shared the content they viewed – including, at a very high rate, movie trailers. It was also noted that more than half of mobile video viewers were receptive to advertising content. However, movie trailers are ads; they just happen to be very high quality, compelling ads. To me, this represents a huge opportunity for advertisers: develop high quality video ads with compelling content, and there’s a great chance those ads will be shared, increasing the reach and ROAS of your ads. You have better tools and more channels than ever to capitalize on the opportunity. As you’re planning for 2014, keep that in mind.

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