Max Pepe, marketing and innovation director at Mozoo, discusses the underlying issues with mobile video, and examines the various solutions currently available.
Video and mobile are now undeniably synonymous. 72 per cent of mobile consumers watch videos on their phones daily, according to AOL. This year video ad spend is expected to top $13.59bn. And by 2020, that figure is set to reach $17.42bn, with video accounting for 75 per cent of all mobile traffic.
This should come as no surprise. Video conveys intricate human emotion better than any other ad format. It’s the perfect vehicle for rich brand storytelling and satisfying consumer demand for entertaining, informative and authentic content.
The rise in mobile video can be largely attributed to 4G, which has enabled video to be delivered into the palms of our hands just about anywhere. When 5G hits the market in late 2018, delivering earth shattering speeds of up to 10,000 Mbps, video experiences on mobile will be cinematic in terms of quality, and futuristic advertising techniques such as VR and AR will be commonplace.
As optimistic as this sounds for mobile and video, the poster boy couple of digital advertising, there are major challenges bubbling under the surface that could dramatically disrupt the state of play in the industry. Publishers are under more pressure than ever to seek new revenue opportunities from mobile video, but the ad formats they currently have to work with aren’t cutting the mustard.
So what are the current challenges facing publishers, and how can innovation provide a solution?
Instream video advertising, such as pre-roll, requires publishers to have existing video inventory upon which to advertise. If they do, money can be made. However, a colossal amount of content and views are required to make any significant revenue. Furthermore, pre-roll is notoriously disruptive to user experience – a cardinal sin of advertising. As an indication of market direction towards user-centricity, YouTube recently announced it is removing 30-second unskippable ads from its platform due to consumer frustration with the format.
If a publisher's content is editorial-based, as is the case for most premium magazine and newspaper publishers, then instream is about as effective at traffic monetisation as decaffeinated coffee is at curing a hangover. Thus an alternative is required.
Things aren’t much better when it comes to outstream video advertising, such as in-read and native, which can be placed within editorial content as standalone ad units. Outstream has become a game changer for advertisers and publishers over the last 12 months, providing high quality demand within premium content and incremental revenue for publishers. But outstream videos are not always seen from start to finish because the user often scrolls past and ignores them. Outstream rarely generates clicks, and therefore with the exception of over-inflated MRG deals, the ads still don’t make the most of publishers’ mobile traffic.
Viewability and completion rates
Advertising spend always has a core focus on ROI. As such, the sophistication of mobile technologies such as MOAT enable viewability to become a fundamental metric used to determine the value of an ad impression. Viewability is now a tangible commodity in the buyer-seller transaction chain. Similarly, video completion rates are being undergoing hawk-like scrutiny.
An ad that is viewed from start to finish will always be worth more than one that is partially viewed, or ignored altogether. Why does viewability or completion rate matter to publishers? Because completion rates directly affect the saleable value of a placement, and therefore eCPMs.
Users are bombarded with video content and advertising messages on mobile, and attention spans are notoriously low. So it’s worth knowing that, according to Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8m words. Also four in five users will click away if a video stalls while loading, which means that latency from outstream video is directly affecting publisher monetisation.
Second screening is a modern phenomenon of the mobile generation and a fundamental social behaviour today. Humans are used to consuming content at their own leisure while choosing to interact with alternative information. So can this be leveraged for publisher gain?
Innovation is required
These are the issues which have kept the Mozoo team up at night. After months of work, dozens of iterations and hundreds of tests later, we’ve developed a revolutionary new format, Out-Roll. The first mobile video ad unit to offer 100 per cent viewability, 85 per cent increase in video completion rates compared to outstream, and an innovative non-intrusive user experience, Out-Roll has been designed to evolve mobile advertising.
Mobile marketing has the ability to change the world and make a fundamental impact on human life. As marketers we have a responsibility to innovate, ensuring publishers get maximum yield for their mobile traffic, and users are treated respectfully with non-disruptive ad-unit. It’s only by doing this that we can achieve a triangular state of equilibrium and please publishers, advertisers and consumers alike.
Max Pepe is marketing and innovation director at Mozoo