Thanks to the ubiquity of modern smartphones and tablets, mobile marketing campaigns can engage audiences around the world, and few formats are more compelling than mobile video. So much so in fact that one eMarketer study predicts that overall mobile video spending will become the overwhelming majority by 2023, eclipsing other segments like desktop and other non-mobile devices.
With mobile video spend rising, it’s more important than ever for marketers to keep up with the latest trends shaping the industry. Developments in today’s mobile video ad environment have major implications for the future of countless businesses, and marketers would do well to take note. Here are a few examples of trends shaping the world of mobile video, and mobile video advertising, in 2019.
New format lengths & orientations
Mobile video ads are quickly evolving beyond interstitial placements to include a variety of new formats, each tailored for new content conventions. Just as rewarded video quickly became one of the most important subcategories of in-app mobile video ads, new format standards are taking root across other mediums. According to eMarketer, three, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular among marketers — vertical video, 6-second video, and longform video.
Vertical videos are exclusively filmed and viewed in portrait mode, creating visuals which are taller and thinner than traditional footage. This format was shunned for years by professional video producers, but recently made a comeback thanks to the popularity of mobile video apps and social platforms taking a keen interest in video content.
Vertical video ad creative is oriented to match apps that support a native portrait experience — Snapchat being a prime example. The format is common among social media apps like Instagram and Facebook, but can be deployed in mobile games as well. It performs particularly well in the hyper-casual genre, where many apps are portrait oriented.
Also known as bumped ads, 6-second videos are an increasingly common way for advertisers to deploy engaging creative in the bare minimum of time. These unskippable, six-second placements deliver bite-size branded messaging and can be deployed on most mobile video ad platforms. When edited correctly, they allow marketers to condense messaging into its most memorable form before returning users to the standard app experience.
6-second video ads represent unique opportunities and challenges. They’re highly effective for top-funnel goals and increase brand awareness, but require unique creative and optimization skills. Like other formats, creative needs to be tailored, meaning that editing down a 30-second video into a 6-second spot won’t likely produce the same results as a bespoke creative.
Much of the modern mobile video landscape, advertising or otherwise, was built on bite-size content, but one recent study suggests users are opening up to lengthier video content. Since 2016, user willingness to watch long-form video content — 20 minutes or more — has increased by 25%. Meanwhile, interest in short-form videos has decreased by 17%. This suggests it’s becoming easier to capture attention and tell longer stories using mobile video, and advertisers will need to take note.
Instagram used this study to justify the launch of IGTV — a YouTube competitor that allows any user to create and post 60-second videos to the platform. IGTV will start out ad-free, but is expected to be monetized as an advertising channel at a later date. If managed effectively, this could open the door for marketers to experiment with longer video ads or full-length branded messages.
2. User-generated ad content
Digital marketing is powerful, but organic word-of-mouth advertising still has widespread appeal. Content that is shared by friends, trusted influencers, or all-around “average” people can be considered more reliable than advertisements. According to one study, 76% of customers trust peer-shared content over branded messaging.
In response, marketers have started experimenting with user-generated messaging — advertising content that leverages the same value provided by the social proof of peer-to-peer communications, but in more creative ways. At a basic level, user content might consist of sponsored social media posts from a collection of micro-influencers. At an advanced level, it can be a practice employed across entire mobile video campaigns that incentivizes engagement as a means of fostering brand awareness.
When Toyota’s “Feeling The Street” campaign asked street performers to share content using a hashtag, its videos boosted ad engagement by 440%. User-generated content is cost-effective, perceived as authentic, and avoids the inherent risks of comparable influencer marketing campaigns.
3. Rising ad spend
According to eMarketer, US mobile video ad spending is expected to reach almost $16 billion this year after reaching $13 billion in 2018. If this trend continues, mobile ad spending will surpass all combined traditional media ad spending by 2022, with nine out of every ten dollars going towards programmatic advertising. Meanwhile, mobile video spend recently surpassed $1 billion in the UK while rewarded video use is booming in APAC regions.
Current projections from the same report suggest there will be roughly 188 million smartphone video viewers in the US alone by year’s end. By 2020, experts predict these audiences will watch 30 minutes of content per day on average. While traditional televised media will still maintain a limited presence, brand marketers have started balancing ad spend across mobile, web, and televised platforms. How this will fully impact our media landscape remains to be seen, but at a minimum, it’s a boon for mobile video advertisers.
From the golden age of television to the present day, video has defined advertising practices for entire generations. Between rising ad spend, user-generated ad content, and evolving ad formats, video will continue to thrive in 2019. Marketers who intend to acquire and convert growing smartphone audiences should pay close attention to these trends for the greatest chance of success.
Looking to brush up your mobile marketing fundamentals? Take a look at our strategy article, “Mobile Ad Formats – The Complete Guide For Advertisers & Developers”.