Growth Trends & The Rising Influence Of Screen Agnosticism

Considering the explosive projections for mobile video consumption, it’s worth examining the underlying factors that influence growth, so that we can navigate them within our businesses.

By all accounts, mobile video is a distinct opportunity and will remain one. But as consumers become screen-agnostic, advertisers must think similarly.  What we understand about mobile video growth quickly becomes less the point than what we understand about video as a whole. We need to study what is driving growth and the kind of change we can we expect, so that we can build video-driven businesses that thrive across screens.

But First, a Closer Look at the Numbers

Prognosticators believe mobile video adoption is starting to reach meaningful scale. eMarketer is now forecasting that mobile video advertising will practically quadruple in size in four years, from $1.44 billion in 2014 to $5.44 billion in 2018. Another prediction is that mobile video advertising will exceed 44% of the total online video advertising market.

Furthermore, eMarketer believes video viewers on smartphones will jump from 89 million in 2014 to 125.4 million in 2018, while at the same time, tablet viewers will increase from 113.4 million in 2014 to 149 million in 2018.

Consumer Adoption is The Primary Driver

Yes, rapid, enthusiastic consumer adoption of video on mobile bodes well for this narrative.  But, as the consumer becomes less discriminating about screen, advertisers, who have benefited from the surge specific to mobile video will have to think more broadly about video.

According to a March Deloitte study, fewer than half of Millennials (44%) for example, watch TV/video on actual TV sets. The key is leveraging video, regardless of platform, and having a cross-screen play, in order to keep the audience captivated.

The Life Force of Industry Standardization
The industry has been waiting for true standardization for some time. It’s what we need in order to achieve measurement parity and bring this whole cross-screen reality to life. In this area, there have been major inroads lately.  Look no further than the growing adoption of the IAB’s Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition (VPAID). Or, take for example, MRAID, or “Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions,” that allows for mobile rich-media ads to run in mobile apps. Life before MRAID has been a hassle to some extent, requiring the re-writing of code so that video can run across different apps. Removing that constraint frees up development for brands and the agencies servicing them, who will now be able to traffic creative very easily across applications from different creative. Again, this all encourages video impartiality.

The more effectively we can measure and optimize across screens, the better off we are as individual video mediums.  After all, important video performance metrics like completion rates are high for mobile video so its individual value will continue to shine in a multiscreen world.  Speaking of which… 

Viewability as the New Norm
Thankfully, viewability is not an applicable standard for premium (video ads preceding video content) mobile video, given the nature of the full screen experience. The IAB standard for video ad completion is any video impression watched through the third quartile. And, premium mobile video completion rates regularly exceed 85%. For comparison, desktop video completion rates are typically around the mid-60% range. So, no real concern for those participating in the premium space.

But, for the video industry as a whole, viewability is a concern. Therefore, as consumers become less screen-centric and venture freely to the most immersive video experiences, advertisers will find that mobile video is one medium that aligns well with typical brand KPIs..

Cross Screen Audience Measurement Unlocks Budgets
No conversation about where digital video is going would be complete without mention of the industry’s effort to find a common audience currency that allows advertisers to apply the same standards to digital as their beloved TV ratings. Thankfully, Nielsen, comScore and others are helping the digital world look at video in a similar fashion.  While there has been some resistance in our industry to get on board, that thinking is shor- sighted. The sooner we accept that the fastest way to get to the large TV budgets is by speaking the language of the most proven branding medium, the better off everyone selling digital video will be. 

Companies in the digital video arena must embrace this agnostic reality and help move the industry forward.  Consumers and advertisers are changing their screen specific mindsets and pretty soon we will be just talking about video --and not TV, desktop video or mobile video.

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