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Going Mobile: Tapping the Mobile Video Ad Goldmine

1 Nov, 2013 By: Timothy R. Hawthorne Response

If you’re not factoring mobile into your online video strategy, you’re missing the boat.

Smart marketers usually can’t bring themselves to ignore 2 billion guaranteed ad views, but that’s exactly what companies are doing by overlooking the need for a strong mobile video content strategy. According to comScore’s online video rankings (, the number of video ad impressions surpassed 20 billion in June. Consumers are watching about 10 percent of those videos on their smartphones or tablets, according to Adobe Digital Index’s latest The State of Mobile Benchmark report (

Compare today’s mobile engagement numbers to 2011, when Adobe was reporting that just 3 percent of consumers used mobile devices to view videos. “The growing mobile audience provides incremental engagement and revenue opportunities for advertising,” the latest Adobe report states. “Tablet viewers, in particular, are early adopters who typically spend more money, book more trips, and consume more media content.”

According to comScore, 85 percent of the U.S. Internet audience is currently viewing online video. Video ads account for 31 percent of all videos viewed and 3 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online. “Depending on which numbers you’re looking at, roughly 27 to 30 percent of total Web views are coming from mobile devices right now, and half of that data is video content,” says Kathi Moore, vice president of account management for Hawthorne Direct in Los Angeles.

That audience is also getting easier access thanks to improved Internet bandwidth and the increasing number of Wi-Fi hotspots that are springing up in public spaces. This means fewer “buffering” purgatories and less mobile data plan consumption — both of which are making consumers more comfortable with mobile video content.

Because the mobile video medium is fairly new, successfully leveraging it requires some elbow grease and a dose of creativity. Here are a few tips that will help you get started:

Consider presentation size. When it comes to screen size, there’s a big difference between an iPhone, a tablet and a mini-tablet. When you’re shooting footage and editing video for the smaller screen, for example, use simple graphics and fonts that the user won’t have to “squint” to see. Test in advance to make sure the videos are indeed viewable on the smaller screens and adjust accordingly.

Maximize the “lean-in” with a good call-to-action (CTA). When you watch TV, you typically sit back in a chair and when you use a computer you likely are sitting upright. But when you watch content on your iPhone or iPad, you’re “leaning” into it. This leaning impacts how viewers see the screen and where they see specific elements and graphics on the screen. “Lean-in is a good thing for DRTV marketers because it drives the eye to the lower third of the screen,” says Moore, “right where our CTAs are.”

Use both apps and online gateways. Online video resides on websites and platforms like YouTube, but mobile video can be accessed via the Web or mobile app.

Think about shared tablet usage. Mobile phones are usually for individual use but more than 50 percent of tablets are actually shared among two or more users. Consider whether you should personalize your message to a specific individual or create messaging that has a broader appeal and reach.

Engage them with an easy-to-view format. Come up with messaging, graphics, fonts and other elements that appeal to the user of the smaller, mobile screen. Ignore this step and your potential customers will be impatiently looking out the window waiting for your message to finish

With industry researchers like Adobe and comScore tracking the growth of mobile video, the need for solid, engaging content is sure to grow exponentially during the next year. “It’s a huge opportunity for DR advertisers that want to maximize their investments and their existing platforms,” says Moore, “by learning how to communicate well in the smaller-screen, mobile environment.” ■

About the Author: Timothy R. Hawthorne

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