The Mobile Video Advertising Outlook: Q&A with AdColony’s Nikao Yang

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ADOTAS — We are seeing a massive change in video consumption behaviors. Users are consuming more content online via a variety of non-traditional channels (smartphones, tablets, IPTV, etc.). As consumption patterns shift, short form content is one of the main ways viewers are currently consuming online content. This kind of content is especially suitable for mobile consumption given the form factor and the collaborative style of viewing this kind of content. As a result, brands are becoming much more interested in online video advertising because they can reach more, especially younger consumers as they flock to popular video sites.

It’s clear that mobile demand is becoming a reality as advertisers are realizing the power of reaching audiences via their mobile devices at scale. The LiveRail platform now brings the same efficiencies and controls for all types of formats and mobile platform. These controls allow publishers to leverage the same tried and tested tools that have driven their traditional web advertising in the past to mobile formats. Thus allowing them to open up more and more inventory to programmatic channels.

We sat down with Nikao Yang, SVP New Business Development & Marketing at AdColony, a LiveRail partner, to discuss some of the major trends they are currently seeing in mobile as well as their outlook for 2014.

Q: How do you think provider ad platforms like iAd from Apple and Admob/AdSense for mobile from Google will evolve?

A: As outsiders looking in at these respective companies, we don’t suppose that we know exactly what’s next for Apple and Google. That being said, as companies in the same space, we do take note on how they grow and evolve their mobile offerings to publishers and advertisers. We’re extremely excited to see what Facebook and Instagram do with video ads in the social environment because we think that’s going to spur innovation in this area. Video has been and will continue to be the fastest growing channel within mobile advertising so we expect to see big things from leading companies in this regard.

Q: Does the difference between the different screens go away entirely at some point? (i.e., Does mobile, tablet and TV all become content consumption driven?)

A: Mobile video is delivering the scale brands have historically only seen on TV and tentpole online sites. The audience in many top ranking apps is bigger than some of the most popular TV programs, setting up a big opportunity for brands to reach consumers at scale.

It’s true that session times for certain types of apps in our network peak during evening hours that mirror traditional TV “primetime” hours. More interesting however, is the trend in content consumption on mobile where “primetime” is “all the time.” Second screen time shifting is a reality, and whether it’s multitasking or shifting content viewing completely to mobile, consumers are spending more and more time on their mobile devices. The opportunity for brands to reach consumers has never been more ripe and the savviest ones use traditional channels, like TV, to start the conversation with a consumer and then continue that conversation on mobile. With the added benefit that, on mobile, there’s natural opportunities for deeper engagement with that consumer.

We don’t believe the concept of different screens ever “goes away” because usage patterns for each device is different, and advertising has to be tailored to the environment. That said, the measurement of the audience across screens should become more unified and make it easier for brands to buy true cross-platform campaigns, especially as leaders like Nielsen and comScore adapt their offering to mobile overall, and especially to in-app mobile experiences. With those advances in measurement come opportunities to unify TV, online, and mobile buys into a single coherent media plan, with each channel acting to amplify the effectiveness of the overall spend.

Q: We see higher engagement rates for mobile ads, why is that?

A: The sight, sound and motion of mobile video, following by a targeted call to action is an incredibly powerful draw and delivers higher engagement rates for advertisers.

That’s why each powerful AdColony Instant-Play™ HD video ad is followed by a Rich Media end card, providing an opportunity for consumers to engage with a brand in ways that are native to the mobile device. We’ve done everything from store locators to social sharing to mini games within our end cards.

The end cards essentially take mobile video a step further by providing a dynamic call to action specifically designed with the mobile consumer in mind. A recent campaign we did for Xbox had a 14% engagement rate. If video sparks interest and awareness then end cards drive engagement and action.

This is why mobile video commands a premium, and is how AdColony is able to pass those premium CPMs on to its publishing partners to help them monetize their content with the highest quality mobile video ads.

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