It makes up 70% of all internet traffic and may account for 90% by 2020, according to Cisco. Some even say that it’s ‘eating the internet’. And no, it’s not the Mannequin Challenge.

Video creation and consumption has skyrocketed in recent years, and now that affordable, unlimited data packages allow us to stream all we please, it shows no sign of slowing. YouTube bloggers are making their millions from video — for proof we need look no further than Pewdiepie, worth $12m thanks to a webcam and internet connection. He’s a living example of why brands need to become adept at creating effective and emotional video content.

But as consumers are increasingly turning to smaller smartphone screens, it’s time we refine the art of in-app video. After all, an IAB UK and PwC study shows that in-app video ads maximise user acquisition more than any other format and drive the most revenue according to eCPM. Similarly, Smaato finds in-app video ads drive more ROI for brands than video ads on the mobile web. Meanwhile, video on mobile, regardless of length, is driving click-through rates double those of online video, according to eMarketer.

The evidence is enough to leave anyone feeling fired-up about in-app video, but how should you get started? Here are three pointers for brands on how to take advantage of the video revolution:

1. Shorter ads for smaller screens

According to IAB research, marketers should keep mobile video ads shorter than those destined for bigger screens. This is especially important for ads targeting younger demographics, as these groups tend to prefer videos as short as ten seconds or less. Six to eight seconds is optimal, suggests Opera Mediaworks, as their research demonstrated that this length delivered 36% higher engagement levels and provided the best return on driving traffic.

Some might blame this on the millennial consumers’ short attention span, but a more likely reason is that shorter ads are less disruptive to the overall user experience.

How can a marketer pack a punch in just a few short seconds? Great examples include Groupon’s succinct summary of its offer to consumers, while Xero uses short quotes from happy customers for rapid-action social proof.

2. Brands have to earn engagement

Start by considering what the user expects from the particular ad environment. Playable, interactive and incentivised videos work best for gaming apps, especially if they are directly related to the game itself. For example, advertising the launch of Clash of the Titans 2 within the app of a similar game makes sure the ad content is tailored to the app environment.

For Angry Birds and its ad partner Rovio, incentivisation proved very successful. Offering in-game rewards (a free bird) in exchange for watching a video ad led users to play the game for longer (great for the developer) and gave the brand exposure to its desired audience (great for the marketer). Everyone wins.

3. In vogue: vertical video

If you have teenagers, then you probably know More than 10 million millennials use the lip-syncing app daily and produce around the same number of videos each day. With over 117 million registered users, it’s just one of the many ways vertical video is taking the world by storm.

The advertising world is taking note. Executives at Snapchat say vertical video ads sport completed view rates up to nine times more than horizontal ads, and the most popular apps today all cater to vertical. Coincidence? Definitely not: Consumers want their videos to adapt to the mobile world.

Last year, Audi used the short, vertical video format for its Le Mans campaign, and it delivered a highly successful 36% completion rate — that’s 80% above average in the automotive sector.

We have only just entered a new era of video, but in just a few short years, we’ll see consumption grow to unprecedented levels. With mobile quickly becoming the primary platform for video, we must now turn our attention to attracting in-app audiences. The three tactics above are the bread and butter of effective in-app video advertising, and now is the time to get started: We’ll need to make sure we have time for some fine-tuning ahead of 2020.


By Arther Wu, ‎senior director at Cheetah Mobile

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