The 8 Best Strategies for Mobile Video Ads in 2021

Few revolutions in the tech world have been as all-encompassing and powerful as the emergence of mobile computing. Currently, around half of Earth’s total population is connected to the internet via a mobile phone. According to State of the Market 2019 industry trends, over 200 million Americans and 94% of millennials own a smartphone.  And the numbers are sure to increase as mobile internet and devices become cheaper and more accessible across the world. While this means a significant paradigm shift for just about everyone, it’s advertisers and marketing teams that need to sit up and take note.

Over 50% of all transactions these days happen on mobile platforms. Modern advertising hasn’t slept over this statistic—the benefits of tailoring content to mobile platforms, especially in the form of video, cannot be understated.

Why Is Video Advertising More Effective?

Why video, though? For starters, it’s because humans are inherently lazy, and for good reason. The average human being is bombarded with over 34 gigabytes of digital information daily—and our brains are evolutionarily tuned to focus on efficient methods of sorting this information. 

While text content can take a few minutes to read, a single 15-second video can put across the same message using motion, visual cues, and recognizable ideas—without losing a potential customer’s attention span. Not only does this result in higher visibility when it comes to mobile advertising, but also better memory retention—80% of viewers can recall a video seen in the last 30 days. On the flip side, can you recall the main headline in the newspaper this morning? If you can, you’re likely in the minority. According to research, an average user can remember 95% of a message when it’s seen rather than read.

It’s not just human beings that find video more compelling, either. Even search engines take video quite seriously when it comes to ranking search results—embedding ad videos in your website and disseminating them through various social media platforms can provide a healthy boost to SEO rankings when it comes to your brand.

Combine all of this with the one-touch-away aspect of mobile computing, and it’s easy to understand why advertisers are doubling down on mobile video as their preferred channels.

In the words of Steven Bochco, “Film provides an opportunity to marry the power of ideas with the power of images.” But to be successful at mobile video advertising, a brand needs good strategies. Here are the eight best strategies to help your business make mobile video ad campaigns that attract customers and build a strong brand presence online.

1. Provide Value to Customers

Before diving into tweaks and technical aspects that can maximize your video ad performance on mobile, you need a robust idea for your video that can help it stand out amongst thousands of competitors in the digital marketplace.

The best way to do this is to always ask if your ad brings value to your target audience. Myopic advertisers will focus on putting just their products front and center, and while this may work for some brands, most consumers will consider this kind of content spammy and uninteresting—and who can blame them?

What works better, in the long run, is a customer-centric approach to mobile video. You want to inspire, entertain or engage your customers based on their interests and core values because as Seth Godin says, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you sell.”

2. Focus on a Singular Objective

When creating a video ad, we can often get lost in the details—the story being told, the taglines, the product, the themes and visual elements used, et cetera. 

What we may not realize is that the average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. If you attempt to feed potential customers too much information, you will inevitably dilute your core message and get lost in the noise.

Take a look at this quick bumper ad from UberEats:

Within two seconds, the audience has been engaged with the main brand value proposition (Unlimited Free Delivery) and the product (UberEats Pass). Notice that the ad then ends with a swift CTA to sign up. All of this was accomplished using three sentences and a simple background that kept viewers focused on a singular message—signing up for UberEats Pass means free food deliveries.

The best mobile video ads are concise, laser-focused and generally have a single highlight behind them. If you’re aiming to promote a product, narrow down on its best feature and aim for your audience to retain that information instead of bombarding them with data that’ll soon be left forgotten.

3. Keep Mobile Users’ Lifestyles in Mind

Mobile users are bombarded with a higher frequency of content than desktop internet users, so keeping intrusiveness at a minimum helps your audience connect better with your content.

One example to keep intrusiveness low while still spreading your message is to provide animated text and graphics on your videos. Several people using mobile phones in public transit, for example, will default to mute. To reach them—and, more importantly, audiences with hearing disabilities—it’s important to rely more on visual communication that gets the point across without the help of sound.

At the very least, include captions with your videos—this simple step takes little effort and can help retain the interest of viewers who may have otherwise skipped your content. For a full walkthrough of how to add captions to videos on all the most popular platforms, check out our guide

4. Get Creative With Less

The first thing many business owners think of when approached with a video ad plan is the cost. To be fair, in a marketplace where brands such as Coca-Cola and Nike spend millions of dollars on hiring celebrities for big-budget shoots, most viewers actually engage with simple, cleverly executed concepts.

When it comes to engaging mobile viewers, simple is best—and less is always simpler. A good mobile video ad strategy is scalable in budget from simple typography to a big-budget shoot. All it needs is a clear understanding of the core message your brand needs to send out.

5. Keep Your Brand Identity on Display

As we’ve already illustrated, video ad audiences are incredibly fickle and may stay engaged for little more than a few seconds. This means that to make the greatest impression possible, it’s beneficial to showcase your brand from the very first frame of your content.

Take a look at this quick bumper ad for Corona beer, which ranked #5 according to Google in 2017.

In six seconds, Corona does many things right:

  • Used color palettes that match Corona’s branding.
  • Exhibited the lifestyle and tone consistent with Corona beer.
  • Kept the focus on the product using simple, relaxed copy.
  • Included the brand logo/visual depiction of their product.

By including elements such as a brand logo or key products early on, you cast an impression—even a small one—on all viewers, even those who skip within the first three seconds.

This means using imagery, sound, and text that is directly identifiable with your brand right from the beginning. You can go as direct as McDonald’s or as subtle as National Geographic as you deem fit.

6. Include a Clear Call-to-Action in Your Messaging

Making engaging videos for mobile is one thing, but without inspiring viewers to take some action that further deepens the relationship between you and them, you’ll see little real turnover from all the effort you’ve put in.

This can be resolved by including at least one clear CTA or call-to-action in your video. Generally speaking, your CTA can be plugged in at three various points:

  • Pre-Roll CTA: This urges the audience to take action right before the video begins.
  • Mid-Roll CTA: This is placed anywhere in your video, generally at the point at which viewers should be the most engaged.
  • Post-Roll CTA: Assuming that your video has high completion rates, putting in a CTA towards the end can help make informed viewers step closer to engaging with your product, and it also seems the least pushy.

However, according to market research, Mid-Roll CTA tends to produce the best results on average.

7. Keep Your Videos Short

If there’s one lesson to take away from this article, it’s that viewer retention is everything.

While most social media platforms allow for 120-240 second videos, anything above 15 seconds is likely going to reduce your overall engagement. According to Facebook, this is beneficial not only to streamline production costs and increase completion rates, but it also allows you to easily reuse video ads on multiple platforms, such as Instagram Stories and Facebook in-stream placements.

The exception to this rule is if your video is focused on brand positioning, rather than attracting new customers. If you want to showcase your brand story and build a stronger identity using this content, 30 seconds or more would be useful to avoid rushing things, provided your story piques real interest.

8. Create Organic-Feeling Content

As people scroll through social media feeds, they get a feel for how “fake” or “authentic” a particular piece of content is and generally scroll right past it if it doesn’t look real.

The solution that many brands have adopted to make their mobile video ads more organic and approachable for viewers is to create content that blends into feeds organically.

Here’s an example from makeup brand Glossier. To highlight the brand’s everyday, easy-going appeal, the video creators have stuck to a simple format used by regular beauty pages on the platform – making it seem less advertising-like and unobtrusive compared to most other ad videos.

The last two years have seen immense adoption of mobile marketing across the board—even in B2B applications, where Microsoft took a keen interest in developing analytics tools and strategies to reach other businesses directly through mobile ads.

Mobile video ads are an essential part of every brand’s marketing arsenal, helping your audience better understand your products while giving them deeper engagement and entertainment value. Not only do they attract more attention than text or images, but they also allow for more creative expression—and are rapidly getting cheaper to produce.

As the industry further streamlines the ad space process for brands while also creating great analytics tools to ensure better results, the sky’s the limit for mobile video advertising.

About the Author:
Spencer Padway
CEO and Co-Founder of Search Nurture