It’s the Audience, Stupid: Why Video Advertisers should follow Viewers, not Formats.

As video consumption moves increasingly to mobile and tablet devices, so should the advertising created to monetize it. We’ve been saying that for years, so it’s encouraging to see that philosophy backed up by the research and actions of others now coming to that same realization.
Take Google, which recently launched “enhanced campaigns” that make it easier to create and manage ad campaigns across multiple formats: online, mobile and tablet. 
It’s well known that ad buys for mobile and tablets are lagging, both in terms of inventory and CPMs. So there’s no question Google made this move because it doesn’t want to see its ad revenues fall as consumption rises on mobile and tablet devices. This is a very significant development in the online ad space, given Google’s dominant position in the market. Nearly half of all online ad spending goes through Google, so when it makes a bet like this on mobile/tablets, you know it’s real.
This strategy holds particularly true with video content and advertising. Video content is already shifting to mobile and tablet devices at a higher rate. Additionally, video ads are not as direct-response-focused as search ads. And the technology is finally here to track how ads are delivered via multiple devices and report back on the results.
In fact, video ad engagement is actually higher when viewed on mobile and tablets, primarily due to the in-app experience. When users install and launch a video app, they’ve already established a greater intent to engage with the content. Serving relevant and contextual ads along with that content is a smart strategy to capitalize on that trend.
Take for instance the recent comScore report “2013 Digital Future in Focus,” which predicts that video consumption will become more “platform-agnostic”: code for watching video and multiple devices and multiple platforms. That means viewers aren’t loyal to a specific device or a specific service. They just want to watch what they want on the device they want to watch it on at any given time. Seems logical that advertising should follow, and be similarly less restricted to a specific device, service or platform. Yet the same report says that demand for video advertising is greater than the inventory for it. As such, comsSore predicts that video monetization will grow as targeting improves.
Additionally, according to Marin Software’s “The State of Mobile Search Advertising in the World” report, paid search campaigns on mobile and tablets devices have higher click-through rates, as well as lower cost-per-click rates.
Simplifying the video ad-buying process for both advertisers and publishers is good for everybody. It’s not about which device you think has the most traction, or which service you think has the best features, or even which technology you think is the best to work with. It’s about the audience. And just like the audience of old didn’t only watch one channel, today’s audience doesn’t rely on just one device or format.

by Frank Sinton
Frank Sinton is the CEO and founder of Beachfront Media, a video solutions platform for publishers, advertisers, and enterprises. Previously, he worked for Sony Pictures Entertainment as executive director of architecture.
Courtesy of MediaPost

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