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Why less is always more in video advertising

(Image credit: Image Credit: Jaelynn Castillo / Unsplash)

Mobile is no longer the “second screen” but is now the most important touch-point for all businesses looking to engage with consumers. The ad-spend stats speak for themselves;  mobile ad-spend accounts for over half (57%) of all display ad spend in the UK, and 70% of video spend and Facebook advertising revenue is now was nearly all due to mobile-driven (85%). This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most businesses, yet  there are still a lot of companies missing the mark, especially when it comes to video, with many using strategies designed for other formats like TV or desktops, on mobile and expecting it to be successful.    

Consumers have a close-knit relationship with their mobile devices, that needs to be taken into account when creating video content. In the UK, 8.5 million smartphone (opens in new tab) users admitted to spending more than four hours on a mobile phone every day; this accounts for about 80% of all web traffic. On desktop, we know that certain ad formats - such as popups - can quickly cause consumers to disengage , now think about how much more irritating these formats would be on a mobile device.    

Video is fast becoming the preferred method of media consumption and is now a vital part of a mobile advertising strategy. By 2021, it is predicted that video will represent 82% (opens in new tab)of all IP traffic. These numbers are too big to ignore and, whilst publishers are finding ways to seamlessly integrate video into their content, it’s important that all parties  understand how to create a relevant and engaging video experience for consumers.   

What works on TV won’t work on mobile  

Just because a brand has an engaging advert g on TV or on desktop, doesn’t mean it is suitable for mobile video consumption. Skippable ads are common across a variety of platforms including Snapchat and Instagram, and the vast majority of users will skip ads if it’s possible, therefore brands need to ensure that the creative is optimised to have an impact in a short period of time. The attention span for mobile users is very short, in fact research suggests it’s as short at 8 seconds - that’s less than a goldfish. As depressing as this might seem, this does impact the ideal length of video adverts. Big brands such as Unilever are jumping on this trend towards shorter ads, and have recently released guidelines for its mobile ads to optimise them to 6 seconds, rather than using a 30 version.     

There are some platforms that offer a creative service that chops up the ad into creative that can be used on mobile. But brands will still need to make sure that the content is tailored for mobile and that their brand messaging is fitted into such a short period of time.   

Location, Location, Location  

One of the great things about mobile is the ability to track a consumer's data. Many still struggle to truly understand the potential value of this type of data and use it correctly.    

If location data is used badly it has the potential to impact negatively, at worst it leaves them feeling like their personal data has been violated. At the very least, it will seem creepy.    

However, if location data is used correctly, it gives brands the opportunity to engage with consumers on a completely different level. Tailoring content based around a consumer's daily routine can give relevance that is difficult to achieve using any other method.    

Location data can either be used to inform a short term reactive strategy or as a part of a longer term plan. Reactive strategy may include targeting a consumer with a video directly relating to a location when they are in a particular place. For example, a potential customer may be served a video advert for a fast food chain that has a call to action or a reward. This could include giving directions to the nearest restaurant and giving you a discount when you purchase.    

But, brands do forget that location can also be used to inform a longer term marketing plan. Consumers can be targeted based on how regularly they visit a particular area, maybe on their way to work or at their weekend haunts.    

We just need to remember that data is getting better every day, and it’s becoming easier to use this data effectively.   


Consumers now expect adverts to be tailored to them, and relevant to their wants and needs. In a lot of cases this requires huge amounts of data that separates the population into small segments based on their age, gender, income, location etc. But, do all women aged 27 all have the same wants and needs? It of course works in smaller segments than that, but the generalisations are similar.   

By advertising using context and brand affiliation, a lot of the challenges of targeting certain audiences are addressed. For example, if a car brand advertises on PistonHeads then the likelihood is that it will be reaching its target audience. The demographic is irrelevant, it doesn’t matter if the person viewing the advert is male or female, or within a certain age group, because they are a part of the audience that is most likely to engage with your brand. The output is the same, you are targeting the audience that are most likely to be interested in your brand.   

Implementing mobile and video 

We all know that mobile is a hugely important touch point, it’s important to make sure that brands are making the most out of the opportunities available. As data and tech has continued to evolve, brands are able to offer new and exciting formats, and mobile is going to play a bigger and bigger role in this space. With impressive stats around mobile for 2017, we expect to continue to see growth in this space throughout 2018.   

We all had to learn that desktop strategies do not work on mobile leading to “mobile first” strategies, and the next step is to create “video first” strategies that take into consideration this exponential growth.    

James Pringle, CEO and Co-Founder of Suggestv (opens in new tab) 

Image Credit: Jaelynn Castillo / Unsplash

James Pringle is CEO and Founder of Suggestv. Suggestv was set up in 2015 to help media companies reinvent themselves in a world of change. Publishers use Suggestv’s technology to build scalable video strategies.