Why You're Doing Mobile Video Wrong

It’s been 10 years since the birth of the iPhone, and it’s hard to remember what life was like before we all had our smartphones welded to our hands.

According to eMarketer, U.S. adults spend almost two hours a day using video-related apps on their smartphones.

Given this, why is it taking so long for advertisers to get mobile video right? Most digital video viewing already happens on mobile devices, yet video ad tech was built for desktops, despite the vastly different experiences across these platforms. In 2017, U.S. adults will spend 1.5x more media time on connected devices compared to desktops.

Part of the problem stems from the legacy of desktop, with users spending time in browsers, while mobile is an app-first world. Other issues that affect mobile video arise around the challenge of viewability, not having mobile video creatives mobile-optimized, and the struggles with mobile video load time.

Below is a six-step checklist on how advertisers can successfully implement video on mobile and connected devices — and get it right.

1. Include in-app mobile video (not just mobile Web) in your media plans. Consumers not only watch videos on desktop and on the mobile Web, but they spend 20% of all media consumption time within mobile apps. With this in mind, the days of designing and executing identical ads solely across desktop and mobile browsers are behind us. To be truly successful on mobile, you must go that one step further to also incorporate videos in-app.  

2. Adopt the VAST standard for in-app mobile video. In the last year, most ad buyers have made the move to using VPAID (video player ad-serving interface definition) inventory for the measurement benefits. However, advertisers have now discovered slower load times with VPAID compared to VAST, especially for in-app mobile video, which is the surest way to lose the interest of a consumer. VAST allows for a pre-cached, buffer-free consumer experience, delivering higher completion and viewability rates.

3. Ask for SDK-integrated inventory. Advertisers will witness higher completion rates by providing a truly native video experience in-app, which will ensure mobile video load time is within fractions of a second and buffer-free.

4. Include a call to action. While the first three steps will increase viewability and completion rates, this next step encourages viewers to take a specific action at the end of the video. Including a mobile-designed interactive end card will prompt viewers to explore more content or key features, ultimately giving advertisers their desired marketing outcomes.

5. Leverage independent MRC-accredited measurement providers. I mentioned in step two that many buyers turned to VPAID for its measurement benefits. Partnering with independent MRC-accredited organizations, such as Integral Ad Science and Moat when using VAST solves the measurement and viewability issues, while still reaping  all the benefits that VAST offers with buffer-free videos.  

6. Go programmatic. We all know that programmatic buying increases efficiency reach, and provides advertisers with valuable consumer data such as location, device IDs for stable user identification, user session parameters, contextual information and demographics.

Programmatic video on mobile is finally catching on. In 2017, according to eMarketer, programmatic mobile video ad spend is expected to hit $3.9 billion — surpassing desktop for the first time, which is expected to reach only $3.7 billion.

By following this complete checklist, advertisers will have a better chance of providing consumers with a better experience, while also boosting the overall media effectiveness of their campaigns.

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