The argument for vertical mobile video advertising

Audi uses vertical videos for mobile for advertising their F1 Team
Audi uses vertical videos for mobile for advertising their F1 Team

Audi recently reported seeing an 80% higher ad completion rate.

Yes, you read that right: 80%.

How? Video per se is increasingly important for publishers.

Why? Because of the way video has evolved and the way we use it.

There᾿s a growing linkage between consumers, (mobile) technology and storytelling, and the way people are consuming video. This has changed dramatically in past five years (look at the ever-growing uptake on platforms such as YouTube and Vine).

Consumers are now getting a better experience.

As a result, publishers are using video for a variety of things: the extension of a story, maybe to illustrate features before a text story is written, or as a stand-alone product inside its own channel for consumers and advertisers.

Content and context are vital to consider here. Remember, the mobile phone is still a very personal device, and we have to make sure we get the offering right.

Drilling down further while looking at mobile video, we see a new potentially significant revenue stream opening up. Mobile phones now have bigger screens, faster downloads, and less buffering, and this all adds to the enhancement and a growing change upward in consumer expectation.

Mobile video is growing massively, both in terms of user interaction and, as normally follows, ad spend in the area. Smartphone sales are up, social media is being consumed more on mobile, and there are vast technology improvements (e.g. the uptake of 4G networks creating a natural habitat for video ads on mobile).

Consumers in general are creating more, capturing “in-the-moment” products, as well as planned pieces on their devices.

What does this mean for our advertisers’ brands?

Mobile video advertising has huge potential for success as the video completely interrupts and engages the user by taking over the entire screen and assuming the user’s full attention.

That’s where the whole argument about portrait or landscape ads is prevalent and one case study shows the way forward: VW Audi may well be caught up in the recent emissions scandal, but it has shown great success with another side of the business and that is mobile video advertising.

Audi is one of the brands embracing vertical video. Brands such as AT&T and NBC have also recently run vertical video ad campaigns, and more are reportedly in the pipeline as numerous marketers look to better adapt their mobile advertising strategy to their customer usage.

Note the key word here: vertical.

The Audi campaign, which was built around the brand’s involvement with the Le Mans motor car race, delivered a big 36% video completion rate, which is 80% higher than the standard automotive industry benchmark at Celtra, the ad tech partner.

The results suggest that brands that make a real effort to create “immersive experiences,” designed from the start for mobile users, are more likely to see a true reward.

“We believe that this is the form that will eventually get the most traction on mobile devices because of the way that consumption of content works on mobile and the way users are using and interacting with content,” said Mihael Mikek, CEO of Celtra.

“Snapchat proved this with their success. Vertical video campaigns have proven to work much better than with traditional video formats, which are mainly just ported over from desktop.”

With some mobile advertising results poor in some cases (banner ad click-thru rates, particularly), brands have been on the lookout for new ad formats “beyond the banner” that feel native to the mobile user … and not simply a lift from a desktop version.

Vertical video is being hailed by many in the mobile community as one possible solution. Just consider how you hold your mobile phone in daily life. It’s normally in portrait mode and therefore that feels more comfortable.

One of the challenges for brands when considering vertical video is taking content from, for example, traditional television ads and/or digital campaigns and re-using on them mobile.

In the case of the Audi campaign, the TV ad (as it was in this case) was cropped to fit in portrait mode and shortened from 30 to eight seconds, as mobile tends to be best suited for shorter snippets.

Text was then overlaid as auto-play video ads typically run in “mute mode.”

The campaign ran across France, Germany, and Britain with the content automatically localised for each country using the ad tech company’s programmatic technology.

So, if you’re thinking of mobile video as a marketing tool for your news media or, indeed, as part of a creative ad solution for your advertisers, consider using vertical video ads.

It seems there’s an explosion about to happen.

About Mark Challinor

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