Mobile video sits at the intersection of two of the biggest trends in consumer behaviours – and where consumers go, both publishers and advertisers will follow. But while both sides know where they should be going, the kind of ads they are offering appear to be not quite fit for purpose, according to research from mobile ad company Vdopia.

How long?

Vdopia’s “Video Performance Index” (VPI) measures the effectiveness of video ads of different lengths. Vdopia say the effectiveness of video ads is calculated in terms of performance, “which takes into account the completion rate and click through rate as the parameters.”

Those are both important metrics to consider when looking at videos, so while Vdopia’s measurement is more of an arbitrary one that an industry standard, and it would have been useful to see those completion rates and click through rates charted individually, it’s still based on useful numbers, so has some validity.

From Vdopia’s research, 10 and 15 second ads perform the best for entertainment ads, which have VPI scores of 165 and 122, respectively. Moving onto longer ads – 20, 30, and 40 seconds, decreases the VPI scores to 73, 87, and 53, respectively.

Now, that discrepancy could be entirely down to the length of the ad, which you would expect to have a big impact on completion rates. But neverthless, if people aren’t completing a whole ad, they’re not seeing the whole message, and are also unlikely to stick arouhnd for the publisher content that comes after it. 

That’s not good for either side.

But a look at Vdopia’s data on ad spend suggests ad spend isn’t taking this into account. According to Vdopia, d budgets are generally leaning towards 20 and 30 second ads, with only 3 percent of ad spend going on those shorter, yet more successful ads.


As Vdopia points out, these longer ads may be down to marketers re-purposing TV ads for mobile, which if true, shows they’re not really understanding the format and considering it worthy of its own set of creative conditions to identify and stick by – not a good sign.

Of course these figures are just for video entertainment ads, and are likely to vary across different areas, but with publishers looking to capture younger audiences where they can with dwindling attention spans, focusing on making engaging content is also evidently about length, too.

What type of video?

The “smartphone entertainment audience” (SEA) is referenced by Vdopia as heavy mobile and internet users who are generally more engaged on smartphones, spend more time with video and are more likely to both recall and tap on online ads when compared to the total smartphone audience.

Looking at the types of video the smartphone entertainment audience consume compared to the total smartphone audience, it’s evident that they are much more engaged with video content across all three areas focuses on – web-based video, TV (live or on demand), and paid TV or video.

type of video watched vdopia

59 percent of the SEA watched web-based videos in Q1 2014 compared to just 36 percent of the total smartphone audience. 54 percent of the SEA are under 34 – in that millennial category – compared to 28 percent of the total smartphone audiences. So the more engaged video watchers on smartphones tend to be younger.

Faster mobile internet, such as 4G, means consumers, publishers, and marketers can all do more with the format. An upside for everyone is faster loading times – that means pages and videos load in less time – and higher-quality adverts can be served to audiences.

A multitude of options

There are a number of different things publishers need to understand when it comes to online video on mobile. Ads are being watched in very different circumstances to, let’s say, those popping up between hows on a TV or cable channels VoD service.

But as more video watching shifts to mobile, both publishers and ad buyers need to adapt to these changes to make sure consumers aren’t switched off from either the advertising or the content.

Image via Mr TinDC used under a Creative Commons license.