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What was once considered a heap of insignificant “digital pennies” is now starting to matter—and premium mobile video is the crème de la crème rising to the very top. The Economist recently covered this transformation in digital media economics. It used to be that the Internet and all its inexpensive eBooks, music streams, and video downloads were the bane of traditional media’s economics, creating pennies in profits where big juicy dollars used to be ripe for the picking. Now, media outlets are discovering that those digital pennies not only add up, but that some types of digital media are worth as much or more than their analog predecessors.
Premium mobile video is a perfect example. While much of digital advertising struggles to add up pennies for profits, premium mobile video—particularly premium in-stream mobile video—has CPMs comparable with those on TV.
How can this be? While TV ads have the clear advantage in screen size and reach, in-stream video ads on smartphones and tablets have five important advantages that make the difference.
- Sharper targeting- Mobile video allows for targeting beyond simple channel demographics and is getting more sophisticated every day.
- Precise frequency control- Don’t want your ad shown more than three times to the same viewer? No problem.
- Super high completion rates with no ad skipping- With completion rates above 80% and no ad skipping to speak of, mobile video’s fullscreen immersive experience means consumers are actually watching the ads—not just fast forwarding through them on the DVR or skipping ads
- Interactivity- Mobile video advertising allows for engagement beyond the video, with the ability to tap to websites, social media channels, branded content, and anything else marketers can imagine.
- Superior success metrics- Success metrics for mobile video ads are real-time and detailed, as opposed to the delayed survey-based metrics of yesteryear. Mobile video ad success metrics can include completion metrics, engagement metrics, brand lift metrics, and in some categories even purchase attribution metrics.
In the digital heap, it’s good to matter!
At Rhythm’s annual All Company Meeting this July, Eric Ferguson of Nielsen delivered a timely and highly perceptive keynote presentation focused on the biggest trends in mobile video and advertising. Speaking on the effectiveness of mobile video ads, Eric unveiled key data showing how both smartphones and tablets are quickly making their way into the big leagues of video advertising, right alongside the tallest giant of them all—television.
As the leading measurement company across all video platforms—TV, online, and mobile included—Nielsen is in the best position to assess mobile video’s effectiveness as it relates to other platforms. Here’s what they found.
In advertising, video wins. Video ads outperform banner ads in key metrics including brand recall, messaging, and likeability.
Mobile ads can consistently outperform other platforms. In this case study, mobile ads outperformed a concurrent TV ad campaign in ad recall, brand recall, ad favorability, and purchase intent.
Mobile video ads can help augment ad performance on other platforms. In this Volvo case study, combining smartphone and tablet video advertising with online and TV video advertising drove 48% more growth in awareness than TV advertising alone.
Nielsen’s data speaks for itself. Full screen immersion coupled with non-skippable advertising is the way to go for premium video content.
Much like Eddie Murphy’s character in the movie, Coming To America, little by little, the digital video advertising world is starting to acclimate the to its well-established surroundings. This is definitely a good thing. It is high time mobile video starts playing the ad game like big TV. Mobile video is quickly becoming an essential branding strategy. Harnessing TV’s traditional advertising tools will only help mobile video grow faster, better, and stronger. First, we need to introduce ourselves properly.
Now that consumers have adopted mobile devices as entertainment vehicles, there are a few necessary steps to kick this promising sector into high gear.
1. Get comfortable with the idea of premium mobile video GRPs.
The digital ad crowd often has a tough time explaining itself to the TV buying community. TV has been bought and sold on the basis of Gross Rating Points (GRPs) for years, and it works. Big brands know exactly how many GRPs it takes to move product off the shelves, and they’re perfectly fine buying on that metric alone. They don’t need a click through or dashboard to tell them what is working, they know how much of their audience they need to hit.
2. Get on board with demo buying for premium mobile video.
Recently, ABC announced the company’s participation in the first ever trial of Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) for mobile devices. Although this mobile product is in its infancy, it’s important for the future growth of our industry. Look no further than the progress made at this year’s Newfronts. In addition to great content, leading digital video providers are offering cost per point (CPP) pricing to make it easier to offer medium-agnostic marketers a chance to buy video on comfortable terms. Additionally, comScore is heading in the right direction with its validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) product. Leading publishers and platforms can help these companies find the mobile video equivalency. Hopefully, we will soon find a way to better understand each other.
3. Better understand how TV and mobile advertising complement each other.
Brand advertisers are learning that the combination of premium mobile video and TV advertising provides both optimal reach and optimum effectiveness. Providing better insight into how these media work together will make it easier for brands to see performance across screens and subsequently invest more dollars in premium mobile video. Leading companies should work together to educate the market. All boats will rise together as consumers increasingly decide where and how they consume quality video programming.
It would serve the premium mobile video industry well to work with TV instead of aside or against it. Selling mobile ads based on better metrics that create clear correlations between media will end the audience evaluation debate and help brand advertisers to see what we have known for years—premium mobile video works.
Once we set a common currency, we can have a levelheaded conversation about the consumer ad experience on different platforms—and that’s when the big bucks start rolling in.
They say that rewards-based mobile ads perform best of all, with consumers reacting positively twice as often to mobile ads when they get something valuable, relevant and/or engaging in exchange for their time. However interesting, this isn’t exactly news or even always the case.
The reality is that all video advertising is incentivized in one way or another – how it is done makes the difference between effective and not effective. From television and mobile in-stream video to offer walls and mobile currency systems, content providers ask for the consumer’s attention, usually in the form of watching an advertisement, in exchange for content, or these days gaming currency. This kind of advertising can be done well—benefiting the publisher, advertiser, and consumer alike—but it can also be done poorly. The difference between successful and cringe-worthy incentivized advertising lies in three key factors: a native experience, frequency capping to remove abuse, and fair value exchange with the consumer.
1. Native Advertising
Video ads shown in front of premium video content are native. Video ads shown between game levels, in exchange for mobile currency, or at app launch are not native. The biggest difference here is that while native ad experiences are expected and make sense (the ad format is consistent with the content), non-native experiences are not expected and do not make sense (the ad format is inconsistent with the content).
Imagine this absurd abstraction of the non-native incentivized model: a grocery store giving out free candy bars after you watch a video ad. Would you be focused on the ad or the candy bar you get after the ad? When the ad experience is unrelated to the reward, incentivized advertising is too disjointed to be fully effective. The consumer may be more focused on the reward for the ad than the ad, while the ad is playing.
2. Frequency Capping
Native or not, watching the same ad over and over is a bad experience for everyone. For incentivized advertising to work, frequency capping is key. By limiting the number of times an individual consumer sees an ad, the consumer, advertiser, and publisher all win.
3. Fair Value Exchange
In mobile, a 15 to 30-second video ad in exchange for premium short form content is both fair and expected. On the flipside, running a 15 to 30-second video ad in non-premium content (i.e. user-generated content, games, etc.) makes this fair value exchange with the consumer questionable. To overcome this, non-premium content providers tend to make their ads optional or “skippable”. While this helps restore fair value exchange with the consumer, skippable ads aren’t great for advertisers. For video ads to be successful, they must be fair, but they also must be seen by consumers.
When it comes down to it, all video advertising is incentivized. The key to successful incentivized advertising is whether or not that advertising can be beneficial to content producers, brand advertisers, and consumers alike.