As brands embrace mobile video, they must also learn how to use it properly.
Marketing Video Marketing

Mobile Video Marketing: Another Form of Interrupt Advertising?


Video is a treasure trove for online advertisers, but there’s new evidence that mobile platforms are set to become home to most of this content consumption, particularly among younger audiences.

According to a study from Trusted Media Brands, advertisers are shifting their marketing dollars away from banner and display ads and toward richer forms of content, namely mobile video marketing. While 63 percent of respondents last year said they used display banners on mobile platforms last year, only 45 percent have plans to do the same in 2016.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of all respondents plan to use video. The implication is simple: Mobile video is more engaging and therefore more cost-effective.

“With video on mobile commanding better CPMs than desktop for many publishers and native CPMs four to five times that of banner monetization, the advantages for these two formats are clear,” said Trusted Media Brands CRO Rich Sutton, in a statement.

There’s some truth to that observation, but it isn’t the whole truth. Moving away from banner ads may spike performance and foster a sense that this advertising revolution solves the problem of ineffective programmatic strategies. But in the end, brands will find themselves facing the same limitations as before.

Trusted Media Brands Mobile Video Survey

No Matter How You Slice It, an Ad is an Ad

You can build an easy case for mobile video ads over banner ads—they’re just as easy to place, but more engaging, and they offer more engagement data to guide ad strategies in the future. The problem is that this argument misses the point: While mobile video is an improvement over banner ads, it’s not the type of improvement that sets brands up for long-term success.

In the end, mobile video is simply another form of interrupt advertising. While its performance might differ from banners, it possesses the same qualities that are stirring up animosity among consumers, who don’t want a mobile experience plastered with distracting advertisements

Trusted Media Brands argues that video performs better on mobile than desktop, which indicates that consumers are enjoying a platform-specific experience. But that seems to be a simplification of a much more complex ecosystem. Video is a highly engaging form of media, and it figures to outpace many other types of content—especially more traditional digital content like banner ads.

But that hardly means interrupt advertising is the best channel for mobile video marketing.

Inbound Yields Loyalty, Not Interruption

As Forbes notes, mobile video is becoming the ideal platform for engaging prospective customers, providing information about a product, and assisting in the research phase that comes before making a purchase.

Read that line again and you’ll see that description matches another marketing touchstone: inbound. When executed correctly, mobile video marketing’s strengths are similar to what brands seek from their inbound content, which serves as a strong endorsement of leveraging mobile for inbound video marketing strategies.

One of inbound’s strengths, however, is nullified when the content is used in an interruption ad campaign. Inbound thrives when it is building loyalty and trust among an audience that has already demonstrated interest in a brand. Interruption ads don’t do that—at their best, they generate interest among consumers too unfamiliar to leap all the way to trust. At worst, they annoy and alienate consumers in the same way that banner ads do.

Ultimately, of course, video marketing has a simple job: Be compelling and engaging. When those efforts fall short, it doesn’t matter where the content is placed, be it through inbound channels or on the mobile display. Brands will need storytellers driving that content, giving video its best shot to succeed.

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