American Marketer


Optimizing video advertising in a mobile world

May 26, 2016

Bertrand Quesada is CEO of Teads Bertrand Quesada is CEO of Teads


By Bertrand Quesada

According to Business Insider and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, revenue from digital video advertising on desktop is projected to increase $3 billion dollars by 2020. Growth over the same time period for advertising on mobile platforms is an astounding $5.3 billion.

Mobile, a once-emergent platform that advertisers have now embraced, represents a huge monetization opportunity for publishers. However, video advertising strategy must take into account that consumers view content differently on digital screens.

Video gaga
Until recently, most online video advertising has embraced the television push model of advertising. TV ads are integrated within video streams, thereby forcing the viewer to consume ads along with the content.

This approach takes a linear model of viewing and re-purposes it for digital consumption. However, mobile devices have changed the game.

The new content-everywhere model distributes programming on demand to the consumer. User control of the experience necessitates advertising that embraces this new pull model.

People consume content anywhere, anytime, on any device. Forcing an outdated advertising model to fit within a non-linear pattern of consumption is hugely problematic. It has had a negative effect on the overall online experience as shown most notably through increased adoption of ad blockers.

As a matter of fact, advertising intrusiveness is magnified on a mobile device.

According to a recent study by us titled “Why people block ads,” 78 percent of active mobile ad-blocker users say they find advertising formats on mobile to be more intrusive than on desktop and laptop devices.

Optimizing for digital is not only essential for the user experience, but the future of the industry may depend on it.

In fact, according to our ad blocker research, three in four people say that intrusive advertising has been a motivator to install ad blockers.

The research also concluded that 80 percent of users who are considering ad blocking would reconsider if the advertising experience provided them with the choice to view.

Providing users the choice to view is an essential first step towards optimizing formats for mobile devices.

Ensuring an optimal user experience not only curbs ad-blocker adoption, but also increases the effectiveness of advertising, creating a win for both publishers and advertisers.

But to truly optimize for mobile, advertisers must use features designed with both the architecture of the mobile device and the non-linear model of content consumption in mind.

Five key guidelines to optimizing for mobile

1. Develop sound off as the default setting
Auto-play sound is a forced feature that users find to be intrusive.

Mobile video ads should embrace opt-in audio to reduce users’ perceived intrusiveness of the ad. This will also require advertisers to be even more strategic about the use of branding imagery and requires that the messaging comes across clearly through the visual creative.

2. Consider a vertical aspect ratio
Users frequently consume content with their mobile device held in the vertical position.

Video ads are almost universally optimized for a horizontal view. This forces the horizontal aspect ratio to become reduced when the phone is held vertically.

Advertisers should consider leveraging creative that is developed in a vertical format to ensure the users see the maximum area of the video ad.

3. Think about the screen size
Mobile devices, especially smartphones, feature a much smaller screen size than TV or computers.

Many ads use creative that is intended for a large TV screen but may contain details that are lost when users view the ads on a smaller mobile screen.

Mobile video ad creative should take into account that fine visual details may be lost and use bold, visible imagery throughout the ad.

4. Know that ad length matters
Consumers tend to have shorter attention spans on mobile and a higher likelihood to find mobile advertising intrusive.

Ad retention drops significantly at the beginning of digital advertising and even more so on mobile.

Brand impact is the strongest within the first 10 seconds of a view.

Advertisers should consider optimizing for shorter video ads and make sure that messaging and branding is strong from the start.

5. Consider multiscreen viewing
As more than 80 percent of users turn to their mobile devices while watching TV, mobile should be a focal point of any video campaign, not just TV’s ancillary.

MOBILE VIDEO ADVERTISING is no longer an emergent opportunity. It is an essential component for a competitive advertising strategy.

In many cases, mobile campaigns are the cornerstone for a successful media buy.

Mobile-first is no longer a marketing gimmick. It is the basic tenet of the new advertising reality.

Successful mobile strategies will determine which brands and publishers alike will flourish within this new user-driven world.

Bertrand Quesada is CEO of Teads, New York. Reach him at