Give Smartphone Viewers Ad Choice, And They'll Engage

Mobile viewers are busy, on the go, and often don’t have much time to pay attention to ads on the small screen. These are some of the long-held beliefs about the mobile consumer, but they might also be myths.

That’s because the personal nature of the device -- which makes it powerful for programmers -- can also work well for marketers, according to research conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and YouTube.

Millennials who watch mobile video are twice as likely to be focused on the video on the mobile phone than while watching it on the TV. That same engagement then translates into brand and video advertising engagement too, the study said.

Smartphone viewers were more likely to watch and share both ads and content from brands, and they were almost twice as likely to say they felt a “sense of personal connection” to brands that show videos on their phones, compared with desktop video viewers.

That benefit is also a risk, however. Because the mobile phone is so personal, brands need to be sensitive about when they deliver ads and content. More than 75% of smartphone viewers said they want to have the choice to skip an ad.

YouTube tested ad skipping and giving consumers more choice in ads. In a campaign for Rosetta Stone, YouTube offered different video thumbnails to mobile users, and then subsequently served up the most popular, which then drove a 51% increase in YouTube channel traffic and a 10 times increase in mobile traffic to the brand website, the company said in the study.

Mobile video has also become something of a shopping companion. More than half of smartphone video viewers said they rely on video to help make product decisions in stores or on company websites. One in three shoppers prefer using a smartphone to find additional information in stores rather than asking an employee for help.

Given that consumer desire, brands need to make sure they have product videos easily findable online for those in-store moments, since online video can often seal the deal.

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