Video traffic on mobile networks is expected to increase by 60% annually through 2018. Such growth is propped up by an increase in the proportion of new smartphones sold (half of all new phones sold in Q1 2013 were smartphones, up from 40% quarter over quarter); LTE added 20 million new subscriptions over the same period; and mobile subscriptions for tablets, PC, and mobile routers are forecasted to increase dramatically over the next five years (from 300 million to 850 million, greater than the number of landline broadband subscriptions).
As the online world becomes increasingly mobile, less reliant on landline internet connections, and more focused on video, how should marketers react from the perspectives of brand distribution and consumer interaction?
The greatest fear surrounding marketers and video is the cost. Surely, it is more expensive than display to produce; in fact, if you have a designer on staff, you can have them crank out multiple sets of banners! Video is inherently more expensive from a production standpoint, but can be included within richer forms of content and drive greater engagement. There is also much more than can be said in a 15 or 30 second spot than can be communicated on a display banner. Devoted resources to this sort of creative does not force a marketer to communicate with a smaller group of (potential) clients; Comscore recently reported that 84.7% of the U.S. internet viewed an online ad, accounting for 2.3% of all video minutes viewed online. As more content is consumed via this medium, brands can be the cornerstone this ecosystem is built on. Committing to this front early will allow increased engagement, increased learnings, and breaking through the steepest part of the learning curve prior to competitors.
The opportunities to interact with consumers appear to have multiplied within online video viewing. With display advertising, marketers generally try to consider placing their ads near appropriate content or to appropriate user groups. Video appears to offer something a bit different: the opportunity to access consumers when they are in different modes, such as when they are watching a movie with their family, a show with their significant other, or catching up on the news. These varied modes, combined with more “airtime,” seem to yield a more interesting, elusive, and in depth marketing opportunity.
But make no mistake: while it is important to be involved within this growing space, a marketer should not consider this to be a “must enter at all costs” sort of situation. In fact, companies that adopt this attitude are sure to fail. Instead, care must be taken to tailor the message (i.e., not just run TV commercials on pre-roll!), focus on the correct success metrics (completed views? site traffic?), and to ensure the spots retail the same look and feel as is present across other advertising materials.
While much of the consideration of this post has been generally around online video, marketers must further focus their message to be consumable on mobile devices; even Netflix is beginning to optimize programming for this front, i.e., smaller screens. Programmatic buying for premium mobile video should enhance marketer’s ability to match message with audience and ensure a proper fit. Consumers are searching for compelling content online and, in some cases, are searching for a specific marketing message — CMOs must be sophisticated enough to anticipate and optimize production in such a way that they can orient their brand to provide this content. How can this job be made easier for them?