By: Lauren Maiuri
Digital advertising has opened up new opportunities for brands to reach out and connect with their target audience. The most prominent issue with digital advertising today is how, when, and where to reach out to consumers in the digital world. A trend that has been growing at a rapid rate is mobile video advertising. Mobile video advertising is the fastest growing digital advertising format. By 2018, mobile video ad revenue in the United States is expected to exceed $4.4 billion. This is partially due to the increasing popularity of mobile video viewing. Between 2012 and 2013, smartphone and tablet video consumption grew 400 percent, accounting for 30 percent of all online videos watched. Consumers are increasingly likely to watch videos on their smartphones due to faster 4G technology, and the popular large-screen phones.
Mobile video viewers are considered to be a “captive” audience. Most individuals actively avoid commercials whenever possible. For instance, when a commercial appears on TV, many people will turn to their phones as a distraction. Similarly, when a radio ad begins, most individuals prefer to change the station rather than listen to the ad. Mobile viewing captivates the audience because the user is already utilizing their smartphone, therefore it cannot be used as a distraction. Mobile video advertising leaves the user with two options, stop watching the video completely, or sit through the mobile ad. This gives mobile video ads the undivided attention of viewers who choose to continue watching.
YouTube is one of the top mobile video advertising networks, with an estimated 6 billion hours of video watched each month by at least 1 billion unique users. This makes YouTube an ideal place for businesses to place their mobile video ads. Each month, Adweek compiles a list of the ten most watched video advertisements on YouTube. For the month of October, Mattel’s “Imagine the Possibilities” ad for Barbie was number one with about 12.4 million views. The ad has 23,181 likes on its video page and only 610 dislikes. The video features five young girls pretending to be professionals in real world settings, and aims to promote the idea that girls can be anything they choose to be with a tagline of “When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become”. I found the ad to be adorable as well as entertaining, and gladly chose to watch it all the way through.
Ads such as the one described above are played before the YouTube video begins, and can usually be skipped after 30 seconds if the viewer desires. Video ads can be extremely frustrating to viewers at times; we live in a world where content is expected to be retrieved quickly and without delay. Although waiting 30 seconds for an advertisement to play does not seem too time consuming, there are many people who would choose to exit the video completely rather than sit through the ad.
In an attempt to avoid situations like this, YouTube now allows users to choose the types of ads they want to see. They can customize their google profiles and select categories or “interests” to control the types of ads that are delivered to them. These interests include things such as football, fitness, humor, fashion and haircare. YouTube hopes that by customizing ads to user interests, people will be more likely to watch the ad and less frustrated with its presence.
Overall, I feel as though mobile video ads are always going to frustrate viewers, even if the ad is relevant to their individual interests. Although some ads may be entertaining such as Barbie’s “Imagine the Possibilities”, it will never be ideal to have to sit through an ad before reaching the desired video content.
Dhanik, T. (2015, February 25). The 4 Digital Advertising Trends That Are Reshaping Advertising. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242393
Nudd, T. (n.d.). The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in October. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://www.adweek.com/news-gallery/advertising-branding/10-most-watched-ads-youtube-october-168072