The Industry Answers: If You Could Fix One Thing in Mobile Video Advertising, What Would it Be?

As more and more video viewing shifts to mobile, we’re seeing ad budgets move in that direction too – eMarketer predicts that mobile will account for over fifty percent of total video ad spending in the US by 2023. But while mobile video has overcome some of its initial teething problems, helped by improved network speeds and device processing power, there are still a number of issues which need ironing out.

VAN spoke with leading figures from some of the biggest companies in mobile video to ask, “If you could fix one thing in mobile video advertising, what would it be?”

Greg Carroll, Commercial Director, Activision Blizzard
Obtrusive mobile ads provide a disruptive experience for users, leading to a no-win situation for both the user and the brand. Prioritising advertising over the user experience impacts both the ads effectiveness and consumer sentiment towards the brand. Users want choice and control over their advertising experience, especially in the mobile environment.

Non-invasive ads that are carefully integrated into the platform provide a more positive experience for users, which in turn leads to better engagement. In mobile gaming especially, taking a fan-first approach with a format such as opt-in rewarded video empowers players to choose how and when they interact with advertising. The non-intrusive nature of the opt-in format fits seamlessly into the gaming experience, and combined with desirable rewards for players, yields powerful results for brands.

David Simon, Chief Revenue Officer, Fyber
Rather than speak broadly about mobile video, I’d like to focus on in-app video supply, and in particular, in-app games which boast an impressive 2.4B global users, great ad efficacy and limitless human attention. With that said, when we look at the ads inside in-app supply, the ad experience is a mess.

There is way too much variety in the way ads are served, how they are skipped, and how users engage with them, and yet, not nearly enough variety of the ad creatives themselves. Can you imagine a world where TV ads came in different lengths, skipping the “skippable ads” required a guessing game as to which button to click on your remote and you were forced to watch the same commercial 65 times in a 60 min show? Sadly, that’s not that far off from what gaming feels like today.

Developers should be experimenting with variety of formats and relevance of ads that enhance game-play and extend session times. We’ve run tests where a discounted ad slot for a brand ad actually increased revenue because session times were significantly longer. Relevance and variety – if it works for Instagram, it’s probably worth exploring.

Fern Potter, Managing Director, Neo Media World
The biggest challenges from mobile video ads for consumers is their disruptive nature, as well as the bandwidth and data they can potentially take up on your device. With the 5G network enabling quicker streaming and faster download speeds, we can hope that this will become a thing of the past.

For advertisers, measurement across mobile video placements remains tricky, with buying principles on different formats (pre-roll, instream, in-feed) and platforms (Facebook, publishers) varying, it is impossible to attribute true value to sales or brand equity targets. In response we need to ensure video is approached strategically, with consideration of user behaviour across the aforementioned in order to get the most from a complete AV strategy.

Beyond these things, it would be fantastic for mobile video to deliver more than just an ad, I would like to see more in video ad experiences, and content delivered to consumers in dynamic ways.

Matt Barash, SVP Strategy & Business Development, AdColony
If I were to fix something about mobile video, I’d bridge the gap between legacy perception and modern day reality. For a long time there was a misbelief that rewarded video represents subprime media when in fact in-game mobile video can be more than just a performance vehicle, it actually represents the smartest investment bet for brand advertisers to place their money in 2020 and beyond.

As broadcast GRP’s erode, browser based identity becomes complicated to solve for and social platforms lack the ability to guarantee brand safe adjacencies, mobile in-app gaming represents something akin to “Today’s Primetime”.

Gaming is contextually relevant, MAID’s (Mobile Advertising IDs) are stable and provide addressable outcomes at scale, while measurement and brand safety tools have caught up from their desktop roots to now operate in an equally effective manner in-app. In-app video is today what OTT aspires to be down the road.

Matt Cannon, Chief Operating Officer, Venatus
If I could fix one thing in mobile video advertising, it would be the way it is seemingly undervalued by advertisers as a medium for branding, especially gaming inventory. Working with premium partners like EA and Rovio, we are still surprised to see media buyers refusing to add mobile video to a branding media plan. The data speaks for itself regarding the vast levels of reach and engagement, but how often do you actually see a TV ad when you play a game? With VTRs (view-through rates) at 90 percent+ you’d imagine brand marketers would be flocking to this medium, but there is still resistance.

With strict implementation of viewability and apps-ad.txt, the mobile video ecosystem is growing up. We can curate audiences, ensure quality and drive brand awareness. Let’s hope that the branding advertisers begin to see the real value of placing their campaigns in this fun and valuable medium.

Austin Scott, Head of Video Market Development EMEA, Xandr
Perception is a challenge with mobile. Many people consider their device their third hand, yet we expect it to act like desktop when it comes to delivering an advertising experience. While VPAID tags are not compatible with mobile, buyers often demand them, choosing not to include mobile in their strategy, therefore missing an opportunity to work with highly entertaining and engaging apps where storytelling and enhanced personalisation often has a greater impact.

Jarkko Rajamäki, VP Advertising, Rovio
I would fix transparency in programmatic video buying in mobile. We should enable programmatic advertisers to get more direct access to all publisher inventory and better visibility into the properties, context and consumer engagement in the publisher site/application; and to enable them to dynamically bid for each impression in the mobile programmatic ecosystem.

Raphael Rodier, Chief Revenue Officer, Ogury
When it comes to measuring the impact of video campaigns for brand awareness, there’s still a lack of relevant KPIs. Advertisers measure viewabilty, or, Video Completion Rate (VCR). But one without the other doesn’t provide holistic insight. Often, advertisers will witness a high VCR unaware that the video itself has been scrolled past and is playing off screen. There’s very little value in measuring video completion rate if no one can see it. As such, it’s time for the industry to adopt a new measurement that incorporates viewability and Video Completion Rate.

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