Mobile Video Advertising and YouTube

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.

Works Cited

Dhanik, T. (2015, February 25). The 4 Digital Advertising Trends That Are Reshaping Advertising. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from

Nudd, T. (n.d.). The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in October. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from

16 thoughts on “Mobile Video Advertising and YouTube

  1. Mark Lindquist November 26, 2015 / 5:07 am

    I think YouTube allowing viewers to choose what advertisement videos they can watch is a very good idea. I’m a guilty party to skipping many random ads on YouTube before I watch my particular videos of choice. Usually, it is fairly automatic to skip the ad as quickly as possible. However if the ad is about a subject of interest to the viewer, I think the viewer will at least think twice before skipping. Usually myself as an example, if a random ad about a new car, Starbucks coffee, or Wal-Mart sale came up, I would more than likely skip it. If an ad with the newest Star Wars or Captain America trailer, or preview of a new episode of the Big Bang Theory was shown, I would definitely watch the entire ad from start to finish.


  2. Jameson Pinette November 29, 2015 / 12:21 am

    Advertising has come a long way. From print ads, to banner internet ads, to video and native advertising. Without a doubt, a delay from what you went to view or read is disruptive, however, advertising is becoming clever. Current data gathering techniques which are used to produce elementary advertising which suits an individuals preference, is just the beginning. Over time, companies will have so much information about a specific individual, they can provide advertising without them even knowing about it. Articles, videos, posts and more will be advertising in disguise. The look and feel of sponsored information will be no different that the media you sought out to view. Mobile carriers are working to create ad blockers, which will only motivate businesses to walk away from standardized forms of sales, and seamlessly integrate it into ones mobile experience.


  3. Courtney Aznavoorian (@CourtneyGraceAz) November 30, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    This was very interesting. Advertising on Youtube is definitely a good way to do it. People in general are not very patient and will not sit through an ad that is in the way of their video they want to watch. However, watching an ad as a video is much more entertaining than listening to an ad on the radio. It is also a good thing that Youtube allows users to skip the ad if they want to. The ads are typically not too long as well, which is a good thing.


  4. Adam Chadbourne December 1, 2015 / 12:55 am

    I do agree with the concept that mobile ads have become a growing item over the years. A few years ago, you would see little ads every so often on a site and an ad on YouTube would popup one in a blue moon. Now, there always seems to be so many ads that you have no idea what part of the page is the actual content and what part is an ad. YouTube and other mobile video services are definitely guilty of increasing their advertisements over the years. With the latest YouTube app upgrade for iPhones and other Apple products, some videos actually have ads every ten minutes. Even if you can skip through them after five seconds, it’s annoying to have a video constantly interrupted. The option of YouTube allowing users to choose their ads can be helpful because they could see an ad for something they did not know about that actually peaks their interest. I would personally like that to be an option for other video sites, such as Xfinity on-Demand. When watching a television show on demand, the commercial breaks take place as they normally do when the show is advertised, but thy will tend to show the same series of ads every break. Just being able to see something different would make the experience better.


  5. Whitney Torgerson December 2, 2015 / 2:36 am

    Personally, when I go on to YouTube I find the ads that run before a video I want to watch annoying and I always click on the “skip this ad” button in order to continue to the video. Even if the ad does not have a feature allowing me to skip the ad, it doesn’t make me watch the ad usually I do something else until the ad ends. In some cases, if an ad has some relevance to the video a user is watching or if the ad is something the user is interested in then the ad might be effective.


  6. Melissa Miller December 2, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    I think mobile advertising have left many consumers frustrated as it has become more and more frequent. When I am quickly trying to look up something on my phone it’s really frustrating when a video ad pops up. Because of the frustration of the ad I tend not to pay attention to the ad but rather how long I have to wait before I skip it. I think video advertising can be effective when the consumer is not in a rush, but if they are it came be quite annoying for them.


  7. James Wegman December 4, 2015 / 2:05 am

    While the strategy for advertising on YouTube is good as it gets, no one really pays much attention to these ads. They usually skip them when they can while waiting for their videos to load. I am one of those many, if not, every person ever. It can work if the ads are effective and they match with what you are interested in. Also people want to show people their video, and when the ad starts up, sometimes it doesn’t load all the way, making it worse for those in a rush.


  8. Melissa Santos December 4, 2015 / 9:44 pm

    Lauren, I agree with your perspective that these ads are going to frustrate their viewers regardless if its within their own personal interests. I do feel, however, it was an intelligent, tactical move on YouTube’s part to enable an “interested in” option for ads. I think viewing an ad within your own personal interests is far better than having to sit through an ad one would have absolutely no interest in. It seems to be the lesser of two evils. Personally, and also because I am given no other choice, I would rather sit through ads that are more applicable to my life than having to sit through ads that I find completely uninteresting. Although we are constantly bombarded with ads, this kind of disruption isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I believe that YouTube is simply trying to lessen their users frustrations by giving them the option to individually tailor/customize these ads.


  9. Kedar Gandbhir December 5, 2015 / 4:38 am

    I believe hulu had a similar feature where it allowed viewers to pick between 2 or 3 ads and which one to watch. The ads were in a variety of areas such as sports, cleaning supplies, education which could potentially appeal to more individuals. Ads will also be an annoyance to viewers but the idea is good. Youtube Red is another area where advertising is going through some changes.


  10. Jane Paradise December 6, 2015 / 11:45 pm

    I think that placing all these video ads on youtube has really frustrated the consumer overall, and in my opinion, offering a choice of which ad to sit through isn’t much better. Sometimes these ads can be quite long and they are really a disruption. I understand that YouTube is trying to pacify their users by giving them this option, but I think these ads should use the billboard mentality: message should be short and sweet, and the idea behind the entire ad should be clear from the beginning. Grab the audience’s attention within the first 5 seconds of the ad, and you exponentially increase the chances of them sitting through the entirety of the advertisement.


  11. Kimberly Martin December 7, 2015 / 2:49 am

    I had no idea that you could use your Google profile to customize the types of ads that you would prefer to see. I hate watching ads. I always skip them when I have the option. But if I do have to sit through an ad I would rather it be something that I might be interested in. Even though the ad may only be 30 seconds I feel like a lot of the videos people watch nowadays are very short videos, especially where vine became so popular, so 30 seconds could be a substantial amount of time in comparison to the length of the video. I do think as frustrating as these videos are to users it is a huge space for advertisers to be in and it is important for them to know how to leverage the short time they have to entertain the viewer and hopefully not frustrate them. If they could find a way to not frustrate viewers they may become more effective.


  12. Andrew Lak December 8, 2015 / 12:18 am

    Great article. I agree with your article to some extent. I believe that human to human marketing and interaction will be the most effective way to reach consumers and will be the new trend at some point in the future. I do see your point where mobile advertising will be a dominating force for marketing due to the high volume. But I feel though consumers, as you stated, can get easily aggravated with these advertisements and get a negative reaction to them compared to a positive one. Marketers will again have to adapt to this new type of marketing to be ess advasive to the consumer. It is kind of pathetic that in todays world a 30 second commercial is considered annoying and frustrating. Then again if you have many of these advertisments I can see how easily ones frustration can be.


  13. Joe Pantalone December 10, 2015 / 12:34 am

    It is frustrating when ads appear on YouTube. Most of the time I use the site to listen to music. Having to wait for the add to play is often annoying. Those 30 seconds should not be something so detrimental to people but somehow appears to be. The ad process is something that unfortunately is not likely to go away but expand even further. I think the plan in place to choose the ad you want to see is a great idea. It will enhance the viewing of ads because if it is something you want to see you will spend the time to watch it.


  14. Brad Daly December 10, 2015 / 1:38 am

    After having read a few posts, I can certainly relate to Jameson’s and Joe’s posts. Although advertising has come a long way, it can very easily become cumbersome. I think that it is interesting how companies can advertise to you based on sites you visit and products that you look at online. However, this is a little concerning at the same time only because you do not know what other information they are able to gather in that time period as well. To speak to Joe’s point about the ads being annoying, I agree with that. I think that skipping ads should always be an option because if it seems interesting enough to begin with, the person will continue to watch it and see what it is actually about. If anything, they should be shorter because the 30 seconds can feel like a lifetime especially when in a limited window of time.


  15. Rebecca Armstrong December 10, 2015 / 6:05 pm

    Some of the advertisements can be counter productive with frustrating the viewers. I personally do not mind them but I have seen some people just not watch the video all together. The advertisements have come a long way and companies are spending a lot of money to have their ads shown at the beginning of the video but is it really worth it? Are people actually paying attention or even letting the ad run it full length? At a consumer point of view I do not think that these ads are effective at all.


  16. Alyssa Crowley December 10, 2015 / 6:59 pm

    I agree with Lauren. No matter the content of an ad it is still an ad. Thirty seconds may sound quick but when you are waiting to watch a two minute video thirty seconds can feel like forever. What makes this challenging is even if a consumer was willing to sit through the ad are they even paying attention? I am sure that as time passes there will be new advances in technology that will allow marketers to have better proof if a consumer watched their ad but for now I do not see this as being too successful.


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