Is mobile fit for brand advertisers?

By now, I’m presuming that many of you have seen this year’s Mary Meeker presentation on the state of technology, digital and the world. If you haven’t, do it now. It is breathtaking. Unsurprisingly, according to Meeker 2013 will be the year when the smartphone + tablet installed base will exceed desktops + laptops.

Also, it seems that 10% of the total media consumption time is now on mobile & tablets, but just 1% of ad spend is going into mobile. That means 9 out of 10 times we’re consuming media on a mobile, there’s no ad. So over the past few days I’ve been looking at campaign data we have at Brainient in order to see whether this discrepancy exists because mobile doesn’t perform or because it’s just a new medium and it takes time for advertisers to ramp up their spends across mobile.

According to a campaign that ran in Nov + Dec across a multitude of media owners online and on mobile, here are the brand stats that we’ve collected:

Mobile: 63.3% engagement rate, 1.4 engagements / user, 19.8% video completion rateOnline: 9.5% engagement rate, 2.7 engagements / user, 33.3% video completion rate

Now, this data is very interesting. Engagement rate is 6 times hire on mobile than online (touch, touch, anyone?), but there are less engagements per user and less viewers watching the entire video (probably because videos are slow to load over 3G). If the videos would load faster, I’m certain that completion rates would increase as well so as LTE / 4G technology will be released by operators in 2013, completion rates should increase. Combined with the amazing engagement rates we’re already seeing, it will make mobile the perfect medium for delivering brand-centric interactive video campaigns. Together with the fact that we’ll finally have the same number of mobiles + tablets as desktops + laptops, I think it’s quite obvious where advertisers should be putting their money next year.

Hey look, nobody wants to watch pre-rolls

Because I have this big interest in monetising video, I always keep an eye open to see how people react to video advertising. I’ve therefore developed a little bit of an obsession to quiz all my friends on what they like / don’t when watching video online. And quite a lot of my friends aren’t that much into technology, so I find their feedback very valuable. Here’s what I’ve discovered in the past few months:

1. They don’t want to watch pre-rolls unless they’re directly related to the content of the video they’re about to watch. Therefore, targeting pays a very big role in video advertising I think.

2. If they have no choice, they would like a pre-roll they can interact / play with or that would be interesting / captivating. Did I hear interactive video, anyone? 🙂

3. They’d be much happier watching more, but shorter, video ads distributed across the video instead of having all of them at the beginning of the video. Why are advertisers still surprised that nobody clicks on pre-rolls? I’m pretty sure nobody pays attention to them, so they’re throwing their money out the window if you ask me.

4. Instead of a pre-roll, they’d like something to play with (a game, a poll, an animation). That would make them pay attention and actually remember what the pre-roll is about. Again, this is another sign that the world’s heading to words interactive video.

These are my conclusions after talking to quite a few people in the past few months. And please don’t get me wrong – by no means do I think that pre-rolls are going to die. They’re not. But they need to become smarter. More targeted. More interesting. Interactive :).