3 things you need to know about mobile video

This is the capstone to our Video Upfront series, an inside look at the 2013 online video market for brands and agencies. It is written by Matevz Klanjsek, founder and Cheif Product Officer of Celtra, the industry leader for rich media mobile ad serving and analytics.

Video is the most popular type of content people consume on their mobile devices. Whether consumers watch through a browser or apps, video represents more than half of all data traffic on mobile devices. And while advertisers are happy to give people what they crave — 43 percent use it mobile rich media ads — many overemphasize “snackable” video, overlooking the medium’s long-form potential.

After all, mobile doesn’t necessarily mean on-the-go. Most mobile media consumption happens at home, meaning consumers are more open to a longer-format, lean-back experience than the industry generally acknowledges. Advertisers who understand this are on their way to creating better, more effective video.

Here are three things you need to know to do the same.

1. Size matters, length doesn’t

In today’s advertising landscape, where consumers are virtually force-fed commercial messages, it’s pleasantly surprising to see that more than 15% of users who start interacting with the ad decide to watch the video, according to a recent online video study by Celtra, rich-media mobile ad serving and analytics company. And once they start watching, roughly half watch the entire video.

Apparently, video is super sticky, but there’s a catch. An average of 37 percent of users never even see the first frame, as they are simply not patient enough to wait for the video to load. Lean-back viewers at home are more patient, but it is still essential to keep the video light and small even if this compromises quality.

The length of the video, however, doesn’t affect its consumption significantly. In fact, the shortest videos (up to 30 seconds long) have the lowest completion rate (35.8%), and more than half of the users drop off already in the first quartile. Longer videos have quite similar and consistent performance regardless the length.

 2. Save the ecosystem, don’t recycle

Although mobile has grown from 5% to almost 10% of total digital media spent in the past year, advertisers still largely consider it to be a niche channel, and the creative assets they use reflect that. Most of the short videos utilized in mobile ads are reused traditional TV commercials. Unsurprisingly, consumers are not to keen to watch them again. Hence, the lower than average performance.

Longer videos, on the other hand, tend to be either more premium or created specifically for mobile. Video presentations explaining the promoted mobile apps or similar products are remarkably popular and generally any original video content performs notably well.

Consumers increasingly use mobile as a primary medium of content consumption and expect premium, originally produced material. Advertising shouldn’t be an exception, and when reusing video for mobile ads, it should at least be carefully selected and appropriately edited.

3. Performance is in the details

A super granular video attention span tracking offers advertisers deeper and much more detailed understanding of how users are consuming video content. They can see exactly (down to a second) which part of the video users find interesting and rewind it to watch again or where they get bored and drop off.

Such tracking offers a much more realistic picture than sometimes deceptive classic quartile attention span metrics, which can show overall lower viewing rates even if drop-offs happened only in a certain portion of the video.

These insights will hopefully inform the content producers to prepare and edit the video appropriately, not only for mobile use but also generally for digital advertising. Consumers have shown a willingness to watch high-quality commercial video content. It would be a shame for advertisers not to harness it.

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