LoopMe CEO Stephen Upstone considers the rise and rise of mobile video advertising.
Facebook's recent acquisition of LiveRail, and Opera’s of AdColony, which was at the time the largest mobile video advertising network, confirm what most of us in the industry have been thinking for a while, that 2014 could be the year for video, as it becomes the fastest growing category within mobile advertising.
We have seen massive global growth in mobile video this year and demand is getting stronger for large-scale quality audiences with targeting. Marketers already know that video supports brand-building and now this can be extended to what is increasingly becoming the consumer’s preferred medium at a scale that delivers a comparable impact with online and TV.
With full-screen ads now at scale on phones and tablets, mobile video can have achieve a higher reach in brand-safe environments, compared to online. Consider the reach, for example, when running full-screen video across all Angry Birds games that have collectively seen over 2bn downloads worldwide.
Given the levels of interest that mobile video is getting at the moment, we could see it leapfrog online very quickly and establish itself as the preferred format for both performance and brand advertisers.
With standard banners for mobile becoming increasingly less appealing and drawing minimal interest from brand marketers, there’s an opportunity for advertisers to benefit from improved engagement levels from branded consumer experiences, and for publishers to generate significantly higher CPMs. Moreover, there’s a general consensus forming that mobile devices are increasingly becoming more brand-friendly and safe compared to online.
What makes mobile video advertising an appealing option for advertisers is that they already get the concept of building 15- to 30-second brand stories on video, coupled with established hard and soft metrics for determining success using video.
Innovation in technology now enables the majority of smartphone and tablet devices to deliver crisp high quality video clips, while enabling consumers to control the whole advertising experience from their device. Add on audience targeting capabilities across mobile demand side platforms and advertisers are able to consider integrated marketing campaigns that include mobile as well as online and TV.
Looking at recent eMarketer numbers from April 2014 for share of time spent per media channel daily, consumers spend on average 5 per cent more time on mobile than online. Only TV continues to dominate share per media channel daily with 36 per cent versus mobile’s 23 per cent. However, that gap is shrinking year-on-year with mobile cannibalizing all other media channels and growing at an average rate of 5 per cent per year. On that basis, mobile will more than likely equal TV eyeballs within two years and it’s that tipping point that’s driving in part the interest in mobile video advertising as a future platform to interact with consumers in an engaging way. By then, the majority of mobile video will more than likely be purchased programmatically, with first- and third-party data enriching every bid request – something that TV is unlikely to shift towards any time soon.
There are limitations, however, to delivering mobile video campaigns. Carrier 3G/4G connections remain unreliable and advertisers usually exclude them, opting for wi-fi only. Another reason to exclude carrier connections is that some subscribers still pay for data usage, particularly those on pre-pay contracts.
On the supply side, supply side platforms and exchanges and their publishers (outside of pure play video exchanges) have been slow to adopt the IAB VAST format, although that said, some demand side platforms get around this by delivering video at scale using HTML5. Finally, teething problems remain with video operating correctly across Android and iOS devices, something that’s being resolved by OS versions and better devices over time.
The outlook for mobile advertising is one that’s shifting to enhanced formats and performance for advertisers while delivering higher revenues and improved user experience for publishers.
Stephen Upstone is CEO of LoopMe