Early mobile video ads were ugly, glitchy and impractical. They were slow-to-load, pushing 3G network technology to the max. When they did eventually manage to load, many smartphones simply couldn’t display them adequately. Flash forward to 2016 and 4G-powered tech, and we clearly see that mobile ads are an indispensable platform for brands and agencies. Video ads engage consumers better than any other mobile ad format, delivering fantastic click-through rates and engagement.

A Business Insider Intelligence report from June, 2016 notes that analysts project that mobile video ads will be the fastest-growing segment in digital advertising through 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30%.

In a recent data report we conducted with AppsFlyer, the mobile video format has grown from 23% to 66% of ad spend from January to August 2015, an increase of 190%. 

Mobile video ads have already surpassed desktop video ads, and they are expected to become even more popular in the future. This success is rooted in the level of engagement video ads have with consumers: they inform and excite consumers, showing what to expect from products or services. Mobile video offers a great way for consumers to discover and explore before buying, improving brand awareness of product and services. But it’s the best of both worlds because it’s a great brand advertising opportunity in a trackable, direct-response format.


Ensure video ads are not just simple and entertaining but paced well. The concept/idea for your video ad content should be simple and easy to grasp; it should also be fast-paced but not confusing. Video ads also need to be entertaining with captivating imagery and an audio soundtrack from start to finish. This video ad from Hotel Tonight is a great example: it entertains and clearly demonstrates how the app works.

Tell a story with clear messages

To confidently describe the details of a product, static or animated CGI alone might not be enough to fully articulate the unique features and benefits of an app, game or brand. Brands can tell a story much better with video than they can with banners, interstitials or natives. Video ads are such a runaway success with brand and consumers because they can tell stories fast and effectively. Check out this great example from Foursquare.

Focus mobile video on the product

Compared to all other mobile ad formats, with video, marketers need to very clearly show the benefits of a product or service. This helps consumers to educate themselves about what a game, service or app is all about. Mobile apps are extremely engaging because of the excellent experience they give consumers, because of advantages over web apps across disciplines like UX and UI. This ad from Wishbone demonstrates app functions and shows how prospective users could use it.

Optimise results by sharing data with ad partners

Many brands stall when it comes to sharing down-funnel data with ad partners. But data is vital for comprehending what’s been a success and what requires additional work. What advertisers share can vary based on return on investment objectives, but in general sharing data about how consumers engage in an app post-install can enable them to optimise future mobile video ad campaigns.

These data points can include in-app purchases, gameplay for games, browsing behaviour, cart purchase/abandonment rates, and total sales if it’s a commerce app, all of which assist in the customisation of ads for future installs. Following the same reasoning, by A/B testing the performance of video ads, digital marketers can capture and analyse core data to help them make smart and informed decisions about mobile video ad campaigns. Giving ad partners post-install data can help them to acquire new consumers and determine at what pace to acquire new users.

Mobile technology has reached a point where digital marketers can now integrate high-quality production values into mobile ad video content. Because they beam video messaging into the hands of consumers in milliseconds, mobile video ads are often the most attractive format for brands, media agencies and consumers.

As with TV ads, mobile video ads can have a dramatic effect on brand recognition and awareness, but unlike TV ads, they allow for conversion and real-time tracking directly. Brands and agencies can fully demonstrate key features and benefits for products and services and track in real-time the installs they drive and actual ROI they return. Additionally, testing and sharing data with ad partners can help to further optimise video ad campaigns, helping brands to best support their key business objectives.


By Mark Rosner, chief revenue officer at AppLovin

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