Mobile Video Has Hit a Tipping Point: Here’s What That Means for Brands

By: Mike Owen, EVP, North American Sales for Opera Mediaworks

Mike Owen HeadshotThree signs make it clear that we’ve reached a tipping point when it comes to mobile video.

First, people are ravenous for it — watching everything from 6-second Vines to full-length TV shows on their smartphones. In fact, the average adult in the U.S. watches 39 minutes worth of mobile video per day.

Secondly, tech and media platforms have moved to capitalize on all that demand. In just the past six months for example, brands like Nestle signed on to sponsor Periscope streams, Twitter and Facebook launched auto-playing video ads for mobile, and Google gave advertisers more in-depth mobile performance metrics for YouTube.

The mobile video boom has even influenced device manufacturers like Samsung and Apple, as they’ve responded by developing smartphones with crisper, sharper, “pixel-dense” screens. And they’re using their ad campaigns to emphasize these video-friendly features in particular.

These three trends signal that the tipping point for mobile video is here. But for brands to successfully ride this wave, they’ll need to be more creative, less routine and above all else – definitively user-centric.

Mobile is not the desktop

As an industry, we drove mobile’s first wave by porting desktop-centric strategies, techniques and ad formats to smartphones. We did what we could with the technology, skillsets and the creative that we had. But the increased interest in ad-blocking, and other ways to ignore intrusive or boring mobile ads, has made it clear that we can’t continue on in that way.

Excite users – don’t annoy them 

Plain and simple, video is crucial to delivering high-quality mobile ad experiences that don’t annoy users. Excite them with exclusive footage, make them laugh with a funny clip featuring their favorite Vine star, or simply showcase a new running shoe – but whatever you do, don’t bore them or bombard them with a banner that eclipses the content they’re trying to view.

Get creative with form & function 

Winning with mobile video requires re-thinking the way that we create ads. Telling stories in 15, 8, or 6 seconds is an art form, and just cutting down 30-second spots won’t work for new formats like in-stream or auto-play.

With in-feed or in-stream, for example, research suggests that ads should focus on close-ups, quick cuts and oversized text for best performance. And in the case of auto-play ads, sound should be a secondary focus – since most auto-play units run with the sound off so as not to be intrusive.

Adapting to these new mobile video “best practices” may take some brands longer than others, but it’s a worthwhile effort. We have the consumer interest, the device capabilities, and the ad formats to justify it – and while it does require a willingness to think and execute in ways we haven’t before, the only other option is to be left behind.

Mike Owen is Executive Vice President, North American Sales for Opera Mediaworks, where he oversees the company’s North America sales teams and helps top brand marketers and agencies ideate and execute the highest quality mobile advertising campaigns in the world.