It’s pretty clear that video is a key element of the mobile experience for many users. And many brands are making the most of the opportunity. This new research from Google emphasizes why it’s so essential and YouTube CEO Susan Woiccicka flagged up the scale with this quote;
Add to that the fact that Facebook is now doing 4 billion video views a day (up from 3 billion just a few months ago) and it’s clear video is a must. (Want more proof? Messenger now has Video calling)
But it’s complicated. One quick example – do you go portrait or landscape when you shoot video for mobile? The vast majority of video is landscape and we see that most people change their phone to landscape to watch video. But capturing video on mobile is in some ways easier in portrait – take a look at the millions of Ice Bucket Challenge videos for proof. Vines are portrait and so too are Periscope and Meerkat. Now SnapChat is encouraging this too.
So porting over your 30 second TV spot is even more naive. If Modern Family can be shot on an iPhone so too can your mobile video ads.
More thinking here on how complicated the market is once you step outside GAFA – the industry needs some standards.
Improving Ad formats
We made a schoolboy error in Fix last week when we said advertisers only paid for TrueView ads when someone watched past the first 5 seconds. The actual deal – as pointed out by a couple of YouTubers who subscribe to Fix – is that advertisers only pay when a user watches up to 30 seconds or, if the ad is shorter than 30 seconds, you pay on completion.
TrueView is probably the ideal modern ad format – (sort of) permission based with brands confident that their message has actually been seen. And the data on people who choose to view and choose not to view enhances Google understanding of the user. This is a good review of some ads that have used this opportunity well
Yahoo are launching their own native video ads, which auto play – with the sound muted – and brands are charged when the ad has played for 3 seconds. Facebook charge as soon as their video ads start playing. With viewability a major issue in video we seem to be taking baby steps to improve things.
Whilst a traditional pre roll tends to be cheaper but sitting through a 30 second ad, so you can see that clip your friend shared with you, is a poor brand experience to subject anyone to. Back to our Missing Metric; if you could measure how many people you were pissing off, you really wouldn’t do it.
The rise of Adblockers – covered in some depth buy the FT here – is one symptom of this. (And they are developing Adblocker tools for mobile too) The Google Contributor button is another – read this passionate piece about the threat posed by these tools.
Along with the ads Spotify subject you to if you don’t go premium, one might wonder if we are training people to avoid ads? With a subscription model for YouTube imminent are ads going to be just for poor people?
We need to innovate and develop better ad formats. Ones that are Viewable, Noticeable & Relevant.
<Plug> Our work with ResponsiveAds is predicated on this thinking – take a look at this rich media ad that adapts to whatever screen it is seen on. Resize the desktop browser and see how it adapts instantly. Imagine that the message is optimized based on the user and the context – all data triggers available in the media buy. It’s one build and one tag, so production costs are slashed and the tracking is simplified. If we focus on this type of advertising we might have a chance to counter the ad blockers and the business models that squeeze out advertising. (To find out more about these formats get in touch) </Plug>
Programmatic – the Creative opportunity
As part of an interesting collection of digitally focused articles the FT has a look at programmatic, quoting our friends at Infectious amongst others. There is a slightly hyped claim about thousands of commercials all tailored for a specific audience.
Advertising has always treated people as strangers but now the data triggers that Programmatic generates enable brands to recognize people more. Yet most campaigns are still just a handful of executions Creative optimization is the answer and the space is evolving quickly – Adobe have bought a tech company in this space and there is some interesting work happening around the world – including China.
We are very focused on this opportunity with @Route55 and really keen to talk with anyone who is interested in this huge opportunity; clients who want to learn, tech companies who want to partner and media owners who want to profit from this.
More tech companies reported this week and Apple continued their amazing performance with a 33% increase in earnings. iPhone sales were 40% up on the previous year and Chinese revenue grew by 70% – becoming the second most important market . The only disappointment is that iPad sales continue to flatline.
Twitter were hit by their results being leaked and the stock dropped 20% - but user growth was good and they reached 300m MAUs – up 18% year on year. Revenue missed the target though.
In the fuss over the leak some interesting news was slightly overlooked – Twitter have partnered with DoubleClick to improve conversion measurement and allow DC advertisers to access Twitter inventory. And they continued their spending spree with the acquisition of Tellapart which is a retailer focused ad platform with a reputation for very smart retargeting. Both look like good moves and we know brands that are having great success with Twitter.
Baidu released their results too and whilst they beat analyst expectations, the surge in mobile (now 50% of their revenue) gave them the same issues as Google – a mobile click is (currently) worth less than a desktop one.
If you only have time to read one thing from todays Fix I would make it the earnings call transcript for the Baidu results. It’s quite a long read but you get a great sense of the Baidu Vertical Stack and there is lots to learn from the way they are involved in so many areas. (More good stuff on mobile & China here)
The Apple distribution for the Watch is interesting. You can’t buy one in the Apple stores but you can in some of our favourite shops; Dover Street Market, Collette in Paris, Corner in Berlin etc. This is good positioning – in theory. But when you see 300 people queuing down Dover Street – who are clearly not the usual clientele for cool stores – you begin to wonder. After dealing with these scalpers day after day, I suspect the stores will be less interested in future.
We have seen the Watch out and about – albeit worn by a VC and a start up founder rather than civilians. The general view is it’s great but lets wait and see. This Guardian review is a good take – good hardware let down by OK software – particularly third party apps. Of course most of these were developed in isolation and we will quickly see Watch apps being truly optimized for the experience.
For various irritating reasons ours won’t shop until June – if anyone can speed that up we would be ever so grateful?
A former colleague has shared the GroupM view on Data Privacy. Essential reading
Google Now is a glimpse of the future of Mobile. Contextually triggered Cards giving you the information you need then and there. Now over 100 top apps are integrated with Now on Android – making it a strong contender for the Home Page of mobile. At least on Android. Still no word on when or if Now will make an app for the Watch. Well worth playing with and watching to see how this develops.
This is a good profile of former Googler Nikesh Arora and his new role leading investments for Softbank. We still think they will make a play for a western ad focused business.
The UK is the most developed online Grocery market in the world but after 15years penetration is only around 5%. In the US Amazon (and Google) are pushing this but it’s Instacart that seems to be getting most traction – now valued at $2bn. In the UK you can get a refrigerated box for your garden so deliveries can be made when you are out. It’s no weirder than having deliveries made to the boot of your Audi.
Finally – Fix readers probably don’t need reminding of this but in a world that is changing so rapidly being curious is an essential skill. If you need some help understanding how your industry is changing – and what that probably means – our consulting might be useful. If you’d like to discuss how we might help get in touch
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