(As Posted on VideoNuze)
Mobile video is currently the fastest growing digital ad category, according to eMarketer, and is expected to bypass desktop by the end of this year. While large traditional publishers are quickly reimagining themselves in mobile environments, the massive shift is actually being led by popular social media platforms.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, SnapChat and Instagram are all investing heavily in mobile video, and for good reason: mobile video ads drive more engagement and are very effective in influencing purchase intent. Marketers undoubtedly want to take advantage of that kind of ad performance, especially with consumers spending more time using mobile devices than watching TV.
But marketers can’t simply think of mobile as an extension of desktop video, nor can they treat it like traditional TV. The key for marketers looking to take advantage of mobile video is to start by looking at what’s working for the biggest social players in that department.
Facebook was the first social platform to hit the scene with a video ad offering in late 2013. Their unique user targeting, engagement metrics and autoplay video formats quickly caught the attention of brand marketers. Facebook mobile revenue now accounts for nearly 75% of the platform’s revenue. Advertisers also saw performance increases with this new social format, with brands like McDonalds experiencing up to 19% lift in purchase intent using the new formats.
It wasn’t long before other players followed suit and began offering video solutions of their own. Twitter, which has always been mobile-first, saw a 97% increase in revenue in 2014 after launching their Promoted Videos. Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram have all launched new video ad formats as well, most of which are geared primarily toward mobile environments and preliminary results are promising.
Much of mobile video advertising’s success in social media is due to its inherently native design, where ads live seamlessly within their surrounding content. According to Chris Tuff, head of Business Development at 22Squared, video impressions on a mobile platform like Instagram are far more valuable than ordinary pre-roll ads because they are, “basically a full page takeover of your mobile screen—and everything on Instagram is concepted to live in that space specifically”.
Social media’s mobile platforms also offer robust and unique targeting parameters and engagement metrics not offered by all traditional publishers. Innovative brand marketers are taking advantage of this and reaching their audiences in new and creative ways.
The rise of ad blocking is another important consideration when analyzing mobile video’s proliferation. With ad blocking coming to mobile via Apple’s popular Safari browser, social media platforms have the head start here too. Regardless of how ad blocking increases, app-centric social platforms will remain unscathed, unlike publishers relying on browser-based advertising. This may result in a publisher scramble to build new app technology, or complete business overhauls in which they turn to services like Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News or Google’s new Accelerated Mobile Pages to publish and monetize their content.
While it’s still too soon to count out publishers, ultimately, high-quality placements, clear KPIs for advertisers and high CPMs, along with the rise of more efficient, automated marketplaces will launch mobile video advertising to the next level.
And for now, mobile-based social platforms seem to be the most laser-focused on taking us toward the future. Mobile advertisers and publishers alike should pay attention to how audiences respond to the content, the ads, and the native environments that surround them there. We still have a long way to go before the digital dust settles, but there’s plenty we can learn from what’s working early in the game.