Mobile Videos Stall Out

Mobile video is growing so fast it’s slated to account for 69% of global mobile data traffic in the next four years, but many mobile videos simply don’t work, which is bad news for advertisers. Marketers are investing ad dollars in mobile video, but according to a handful of fresh reports, mobile networks aren’t handling the capacity as well as they could.

On LTE networks, mobile videos stall for an average of 15 seconds per 60 seconds of video, IT solutions and cloud services provider Citrix said in its just-released report. On 3G networks, mobile videos stall for an average of 47 seconds per 60 seconds of video. What’s more, the sheer number of stop-and-start videos rises as the resolution of the video increases. Citrix said that 10.5% of videos stalled at 240p resolution and nearly half of videos stalled that had a resolution greater than 720p.

These findings are worrying for advertisers plunking down dollars in mobile videos, also raising the question of whether ads are being seen at all. Consider the abandon rates. About 33% of users ditch a mobile page that takes longer than five seconds to load, 54% say sayonara at the 10-second mark, and 68% are over-and-out after 20 seconds. The study also found that only 5% of mobile subscribers are being served video ads, but this number should increase as auto-play ads become more common on mobile devices.

Opera Software similarly reported video troubles and found that between 40% to 73% of all mobile videos played wind up stalling or rebuffering, according to a study of the five major smartphone markets: the United States, Brazil, Russia, India and Indonesia. In the U.S. about 41% of mobile videos stalled or rebuffed. Meanwhile, half of mobile video customers in the U.S. said mobile video experienced problems often or most of the time.

The global mobile ad market should hit $18 million this year, up from $13.1 billion in 2013, according to Gartner, with video accounting for a large part of the growth. Video ad technology firm Freewheel TV has said that ad views on mobile and tablets are up 235% and 365% year over year, respectively.

Clearly, mobile ads are a tremendous growth area, but if the technology behind them doesn’t work, the ads won’t be effective.

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