Hold the Debate Over In-App Vs. Mobile Web Video

Say what you will about user interface, but as we consider the experience of in-app vs. mobile Web video, current consumer attention is on the apps. The app-happy world is where today’s mobile consumers are engaged and spending most of their time, making it the perfect medium to host video.  Recent reports by Flurry suggest that as much of 86% of time spent on mobile devices is spent inside the application rather than roaming the mobile Meb.  Yet, a strategy that includes both in-app and mobile Web video advertising is crucial for achieving scale and engagement.

On one hand, we may question the creative and mechanical flex of the app. How much can really be activated from a brand engagement or direct response standpoint in such a tiny utilitarian space?  Anyone who has built creative for apps understands the complexity of the SDK environment.  On the other hand, as people start to find similar experiences on mobile sites, they will begin to migrate to them.  

As for concerns about muscle memory, the shortcut to a mobile site from the home screen looks exactly like an app.  We are wise to strategize and execute for both mobile web and in-app video opportunities. There are benefits on both fronts to consider, and the consumer doesn’t necessarily discern between the two.

Here is why. While we don’t necessarily advocate click-through rate as a KPI, some studies note that it is higher in-app than on the mobile Web. Overall, we know that video is a highly engaging forum to reach consumers. We take note, as this does suggest something about traction and propensity for engagement within the app environment. And, generally speaking, apps can provide more information about a user than a browser, which, with all this information available, allows the system to better target.

From a pure reach standpoint, it’s the mobile Web that garners the most impressions, given that apps are so fragmented. With more than 1 million apps in market, users are swimming with options.  Typically, consumers use no more than 10 apps.  When marketers consider that a few of those are likely utilitarian, there aren’t that many commercially viable opportunities to reach an individual.  This makes it impossible to achieve scale when advertising on a select handful of apps.

Mobile sites increasingly present a scree- friendly version of familiar desktop destinations.  Mobile Web traffic actually exceeds desktop Web traffic now.  However, while marketing on mobile Web sites achieves volume and reach, that arena lacks some of the engagement potential that is achieved by advertising on apps. Knowing that people actively opt to download apps, it is easy to understand that they become engaged audiences. Their behavior ties directly to their interests. In turn, if the video is consistent with the app’s presentation, and served in context, there is a higher probability that they will see a fair value exchange with the advertiser.  So, as marketers balance their strategies and plans, there is a real opportunity to achieve reach and engagement through both. 

Let’s face it: Consumers don’t only use their smartphones and tablets to access just apps or just mobile Web sites.  They also don’t take time to consider which environment they are in, so it is crucial that advertisers do the same and run video campaigns that take advantage of both.

1 comment about "Hold the Debate Over In-App Vs. Mobile Web Video".
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  1. Matt Cooper from Addroid, September 30, 2014 at 3:22 p.m.

    For the sake of clarity and getting the most up-to-date information out there I wanted to mention that my company has been getting video into standard banner placements—mobile-web and in-app—for the last 3 years without the need on an SDK. It's absolutely doable and really as easy to traffic as a standard ad tag.

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