Lens on Strategy: Connecting In-App Video Creative to Mobile Consumers

The time for in-app video is undoubtedly now, but the question remains: what steps can publishers, advertisers, and marketers take to stay on the path of accelerated growth?

In today’s cross-channel media landscape, advertisers are turning to mobile video to deliver meaningful moments, committing ad dollars to the format as its audience — and their appetite for it — continues to increase. 

US mobile-video ad spend will reach $15.93 billion this year, and climb to $24.81 billion by 2022, according to eMarketer. There will be 187.7 million smartphone users in the US poised to experience that creative, a figure that will mushroom to 205 million by 2022, the same report predicts. The time for in-app video is undoubtedly now, but the question remains: what steps can publishers, advertisers, and marketers take to stay on the path of accelerated growth? The following strategies are part of the answer. Each will drive success when it comes to in-app video opportunities.

Make Shorter In-App Videos to Drive Impact

The modern mobile consumer is just one tap or swipe away from moving along to the next on-screen experience. 

According to Guy Atzmon, in Marketing Dive, the average length of time a mobile consumer takes to decide whether to swipe or stay on a digital asset is approximately three seconds. And so, short formats, six seconds or less, represent a go-forward priority — they’re the strategy for success with quick-to-decide consumers. Furthermore, we can build experiences to best meet those decision points in the following ways.

  • Create for Mobile: The strongest ads are created for a six-second runtime, but that doesn’t mean advertisers can simply reuse and recycle TV content. Longstanding brands such as Lowe’s understood this early on; a half decade ago they were already creating six-second spots that occupied a creative space completely unique from their TV material. Today, the story is the same. As eConsultancy puts it, “create content that is designed for digital audiences who consume video in a different way to TV viewers.”
  • Mobile In-App Video is Audio-Optional: Optimize mobile video ads with the sound off, because the nature of the smartphone experience is different from the always-on audio of TV. As Search Engine Journal reminds us, and as publishers know, “many people browse on silent mode, and by the time they think about turning the volume on, your micro-video will likely have ended.” 

Next, let’s look at how brands can improve technical aspects of the in-app video approach. 

Adopt the VAST 4.1 Advantage and Move Forward with Cross-Device Video 

A huge step for the industry lies in the elimination of cumbersome VAST extensions. We used to need them; we don’t need them anymore. The fact is, extensions have been a drag on video-forward cross-device approaches, mostly kept around because of a perceived necessity across tech companies and verification organizations that have simply been slow to change. That kind of lag has been a burden, allowing for fewer opportunities and meaning less revenue for publishers looking to run successful video campaigns. 

Today, VAST 4.1 addresses these challenges. Furthermore, it solves for a handful of challenges: nonlinear ads won’t be deprecated; unused ads can be tracked; verification gets new boosts. Next-generation versions are going to do even more, addressing the interactivity features that VPAID made central to its case. But the time to adopt is now. Bottom line, if you’re still depending on VPAID, then the second half of 2019 is the year to make a change. Deprecate the old and plug into the new.

Syncing with In-App Mobile Consumers

The moves we’ve just considered build on the potential of in-app video as a future-forward format.  

Ultimately, staying in sync with mobile users — knowing who they are, where they are, and what kinds of creative they find relevant and non-intrusive — creates a stronger relationship with those consumers. 

The strength of those relationships is what will connect publishers, advertisers and marketers to the video-first outcomes we’re all chasing in the mix. By getting these moves into place, the in-app video future moves a lot closer to being part of our industry’s present-day success.

Mark Fruehan isEVP and GM at Verve.

This article first appeared at Street Fight.


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