Branded video as a monetization medium in online games is a lucrative channel for advertisers looking to achieve better performance. Distributing video through an offer-based payments platform enables brands to not only present targeted content to highly engaged users in an unobtrusive manner but also avail of methods to guide post-view user action.
As the global smartphone market continues to scale new heights, video consumption on mobile devices has recently seen prodigious growth. By extending the concept of offer-based payments via video to the mobile domain, advertisers can effectively tap into this whole new world of opportunity.
Why Mobile Video in Social Games and Apps?
With smartphones sales pulling ahead those of PCs worldwide, mobile video too has begun to gather immense momentum. Reports from eMarketer and other research groups reveal mobile video viewers are doubling every year with Cisco forecasting video to consume 66% of total mobile data usage by 2013.
Interestingly, according to publisher PopCap, more than 25% of users' time on smartphones is spent in games (outside of phone calls), 57% of smartphone owners use social networking games/apps and 83% of smartphone owners are avid gamers.
These results are not necessarily contradictory. In fact, they reflect tremendous potential at the convergence of video and social games/apps on mobile devices.
1. Fewer distractions ensure user engagement
The advantage with presenting video in a mobile format when compared with desktop is that in most cases the media automatically has unilateral presence on the device when active. This ensures deeper user engagement during consumption.
2. Low friction guarantees conversion
The success rate of transactions on mobile devices – especially those related to payments – is inversely proportional to the level of friction. In other words, the less a user has to do to complete the transaction, the greater the chances of conversion. Online video viewing is usually a one-click process that guarantees few abandoned transactions.
3. Users more inclined to direct attention to advertising
Another key factor in transaction completion is user temperament. Users engaged with social games and apps on smartphones are in a purely 'entertainment seeking' mood, in a manner of speaking. As such, they are better disposed to consume branded video. In fact, in a recent study by Saatchi & Saatchi nearly two in five users selected games as a favored channel for product discovery – a statistic much better than that for traditional media advertising. Similarly, Rhythm New Media's Q1 2011 report states that 60% of mobile video ad impressions were user activated.
What are Some Strategies for Success?
Consulting firm BIA/Kelsey predicts that local ads will be dominant due to "higher relevance, immediacy, and consumer buying intent, all of which are more prevalent in mobile than many other print and digital media”. They forecast locally targeted mobile ads to command 70 percent of the forecasted $4 billion overall U.S. mobile ad spending in 2015. Based on these predictions and our own experiences with mobile video distribution, here are some tips for campaign success:
1. Increase relevance and trigger user action with targeting
According to empirical research by ad platform TidalTV, relevance – understandably – is the most important factor that influences video completion rates (VCR). Mobile platforms enable advertisers to take advantage of incisive targeting capabilities. Careful geo-targeting, especially, can be utilized to deliver very specific or customized content as well as combine video views with location-based services (LBS) such as couponing, check-ins etc. to create innovative campaigns.
2. Take advantage of pre-roll placement
Pre-roll video ads – those that are displayed at app launch or between game levels and other screen changes – are an effective way to expose your brand to users in a seamless fashion. These tie very well into the matter of user temperament since users are accustomed to these loading screens and welcome the opportunity to earn rewards while waiting for the game or app to come up.
3. Implement interactivity with caution
It's important to note that interactivity in mobile video, though interesting, also increases the hurdles to completion in an environment where viewers are particularly sensitive to friction. Especially in this context of its implementation as a monetization medium in mobile games – where views are enticed with virtual currency – mobile video is perceived by users as a method of earning rewards, albeit in an enjoyable manner. Consequently, advertisers should aim for low friction to drive higher VCR. In fact, brands might even be better advised to abandon interactivity altogether for some form of post-view call-to-action that could either be simple, such as encouraging the user to share the content on social networks, or more involved, for example one that takes advantage of LBS.
Do it Right and Reap the Rewards
A final word of advice – to achieve the best results, be sure to fully adapt your content to the mobile channel. This includes a variety of factors including format (encoding, aspect ratio etc.), content (rich media company Crisp Media recommends avoiding "fast moving action, small text, and dark shots" and reports from various companies all advise against anything longer than 15 seconds) as well as platform-specific idiosyncrasies arising from different operating systems and devices.
Online advertising is fraught with an overwhelming amount of noise as well as fierce competition to secure user attention. By adopting the offer-based payments channel in social games/apps for their mobile video campaigns, advertisers can not only showcase targeted content to engaged users but also stimulate consequent action whilst simultaneously building positive brand sentiment. The opportunities are there for the taking.