Why Aren’t Advertisers Buying Mobile Video? And Here’s Why They Should!

Why Aren’t Advertisers Buying Mobile Video? And Here’s Why They Should!
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The power of the smartphone screen is immeasurable argues Christopher Blok, director of demand, APAC, for SpotXchange. And those who don’t realise it are about to miss out on mountains of cash…

The mobile screen, almost always in our hands, has risen to ascendancy as the most important screen in our lives.

Christopher Blok, Director of Demand, APAC, SpotXchange_June 2015

For many, it’s the last screen we see before we close our eyes at night, and the first we look at when we open them in the morning. We spend more time looking at our smartphones than watching a television, and when we do watch big-screen TV, we often do so with constant glances at the device in our hands.

It’s no surprise that upwards of 50 per cent of the consumption of many forms of media has shifted to mobile devices. What is surprising is that, in 2015, advertising budgets and approaches don’t yet mirror current media consumption.

Large mobile screens, high speed wireless data availability, and fast processors in even low-end devices have driven an explosion in mobile video consumption.

Cross-screen audiences are the new normal for publishers, who have been scrambling to get mobile video solutions in place for advertisers. Many, however, are struggling to monetise these audiences and products to the same level they have on other screens.

Most advertisers are either not buying or buying limited quantities of mobile video inventory. A range of barriers centring around tracking, measurement and viewability continue to stunt its growth.

Chief among these barriers is the difficulty in tracking users across screens, complicating the task of targeting and capping frequency. Currently, the industry is reliant on cookies to track users around the web. These can be applied to the mobile web on Android devices, but not on most iOS devices or in applications, which make up around 15 per cent of mobile video views sold through our network.

Issues with measuring audience on mobile are the other big barriers holding the industry back. Metrics used to report on web audiences, like Nielsen’s OCR (Online Campaign Ratings) or comScore’s VCE (validated Campaign Essentials), do not currently translate to mobile.

Similarly, there is no standard viewability metric to assure advertisers their ads are being seen. The IAB recently released its Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definition (MRAID) Video Addendum, yet no publisher in Australia is currently MRAID compliant.

Mobile ad spend has long been dominated by cost-per-acquisition (CPA) advertising, leaving brand advertisers on the sidelines. Historically, it’s been easier to quantify the impact of CPA spend than brand spend.

Additionally, many marketers talk about location as the killer feature of mobile. While it presents the opportunity to target audiences based on location, the idea consumers will deviate from their daily routine when served a location-based ad is flawed. Location can inform, but focusing on the immediate impact of a single ad misses the opportunity to make a lasting impression on the consumer’s primary media consumption point.

Focussing on CPA or location undervalues the true potential of mobile, a fact advertisers are starting to act on. We’re seeing the beginnings of advertisers embracing mobile video as a high-impact branding tool, rather than leaving mobile in its direct response pigeonhole.

Mobile is extremely personal, immersive and memorable. Video typically plays full screen with very little distraction, often when the viewer is wearing headphones. It’s an experience much more valuable than a fleeting banner impression. There’s a shift underway, with brand campaigns set to flood the mobile market with big dollars.

In order to help enable video monetisation for mobile publishers, SpotXchange has evolved to include mobile players, SDKs and ad serving tools for mobile web and mobile app, while embracing new standards like VPAID 2.0, which will deliver new insights and ad format opportunities to advertisers.

Our focus is on making our publishers’ cross-device audiences available to buyers programmatically, with more major brands entering the space daily.

Even with its challenges, there is no better time than now to begin reaching audiences where they spend the majority of their time. This year we can expect mobile video to take its rightful place alongside TV as the perfect avenue for emotive brand executions.

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