The answer depends on the advertiser, intended audience, and campaign objectives, of course. But, success often requires committing to a strategy that includes both smartphone and tablet video together, emphasizing, or more heavily allocating on, the device that best suits the individual campaign’s goals. The balance depends on your objectives.
So, how do you look at your objectives and decide which device to accentuate? The following are four common advertising objectives and the emphasized device for the task at hand:
1. If you want to hit a lot of consumers consistently, think smartphone, then tablet video. When it comes to device ownership, the simple fact is that a lot more Americans own smartphones than tablets (250.6 million to 143.2 million, according to eMarketer). Additionally, Americans tend to watch smartphone video throughout the entire waking day and week, while tablet video tends to be a weekend and prime-time pastime. Advertisers aiming to hit as many consumers as possible, especially among diverse audience segments, should focus attention on smartphone video with a secondary interest in tablet video.
2. If you want to target Millennials, luxury consumers, women, and moms, think smartphone and tablet video. It’s commonly assumed that luxury consumers can be found in great numbers watching tablet video, and they can. But luxury consumers can be found in even greater numbers watching smartphone video, and the same holds true for moms, Millennials, and women. These four groups may watch more tablet video than any other demographic, but they are all still watching smartphone video above all else, according to Rhythm Audience Insights: Demographic Trends, March 2014.
3. If you want to reallocate TV budget to mobile video to test the waters, think tablets, then smartphone. Tablets have the larger screens and prime-time attention, along with an immersive full-screen experience. Think of the device as a handheld television without a DVR. Because most tablet viewing is done over WiFi, the experience typically features high-quality video. That said, smartphone video still has greater reach, and advertisers would be wise not to ignore smartphones as smaller, secondary screens for their magnificent video executions.
4. If you want to run a broad reach campaign and take advantage of the “native” features of the device, think smartphones, then tablets. Advertisers have discovered that gaining the attention of a busy, on-the-go consumer can be challenging. Campaigns that feature short videos or interactive rich-media executions that cover the screen tend to yield high completion and interactivity rates on smartphones. Consumers are comfortable with the ad experience as long as it is respectful of their time and consistent with their content experience. If someone is engaging through a video-based entertainment smartphone app, a tasteful brand-awareness ad is an acceptable tradeoff for great free content.
There is no perfect blueprint for allocating budget to smartphone and/or tablet video. However, as with all smart media planning, advertisers who take the time and thought to zero in on key objectives and potential creative executions, as they dial in their mix, will get the most possible return out of their cross-platform mobile video campaigns.