Who will win the mobile video race? - The Brightest Minds series

07 Sep 2016

  • Technology
  • Mobile

As companies, publishers and platforms see mobile usage surpass desktop, mobile video is exploding in popularity. With everyone from brands to Twitter, Snapchat and Google looking to own the space, who will ultimately triumph and why?


Mobile video is exploding right now. Driven by consumers and their hunger to consume video on their smartphones, according to Twitter’s Australian Managing Director Karen Stocks, it’s a trend experiencing growth of the likes never before seen.

“The volume of mobile video being consumed has increased 220 times. That’s not 220 per cent but 220 times over the past 12 months. The shift on mobile to video was faster than the shift from desktop to mobile,” says Stocks. Sam Smith, Managing Director of TubeMogul, a software company that streamlines the process of media buying across multiple channels including online video concurs. He says: “In November and December last year, about eight per cent of our business was coming from mobile whereas now it's hovering between 40 to 45 per cent. That was a quick shift in the way people are moving budgets and moving their attention from a marketing perspective.”

The surge in mobile is being credited to several factors. Firstly, the technology as each generation of smartphone offers a better viewing experience for users.  But overall, the major force powering this growth is consumers. TubeMogul’s Smith says: “Consumers are 100 per cent driving this.”

While our need for online video grows, brands, apps and platforms are doing their best to keep up. Recognising the trend, Twitter is changing up its mobile video offerings a number of ways. Companion app Vine is expanding the length of videos it produces from six to 140 seconds. For advertisers looking to get in on the video trend, Twitter has also created a number of ad formats that continue to evolve.

With mobile video now playing on apps and platforms from Facebook to Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube as well as television catch up services, it’s difficult to know where the best return on investment will come from. TubeMogul’s Smith says each option offers the advertiser something different making for an even more difficult space to navigate.

“The premium publishers of catch-up television, for example, are driving extraordinarily strong viewability and engagement from a mobile perspective,” he says. “There might be some scale or reach issues with that, so not everyone is accessing that content. Social obviously has massive scale but if you think about the way you're consuming on Facebook, you're quickly moving through a lot of content.”

The best approach for advertisers, according to Smith, is to avoid working with mobile video in isolation. “We need to start migrating to an all-screen approach in order to realise the full potential of mobile video because it's still really undervalued,” says Smith.

Twitter has conducted research in conjunction with agency group Dentsu around how to maximise the video opportunity. From this, they have come up with five top tips for creative. Stocks says: “Videos that feature humans in the first few seconds are twice as likely to get people to opt-in to view. The opt-in to view is important because people just scroll past your ads now, they don't have to stay and watch them. You want to actually draw them in.”

Showing how a product works and how it could improve your life is also important and can result in a five per cent lift in recall. A clear story arc can increase purchase intent by nine per cent while videos that aim to entertain drive a 16 per cent increase in intent to purchase. And finally, videos that feature celebrities or icons can raise brand recall by 14 per cent.

While TubeMogul’s Smith feels there needs to be more research around how best to optimise the creative advertisers are producing, he believes data plays an even more important role. “Like any other advertising, if you want to improve the viewability, part of that is a great message with great creative that is entertaining but it's also using great data to make sure your ad gets in front of a person that is genuinely going to be interested.”

In terms of the online video race, Smith is quite clear when it comes to who the losers will be. He says: “The businesses that won't succeed will be the ones that don't allow for independent verification.”

As for the winners, that’s still very much up for grabs.

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CATEGORY Technology Mobile

SUB-CATEGORY Video marketing

TYPE Article