Gavin Stirrat, managing director, EMEA, Millenial Media
The desire to communicate brand messages using video has been persistent since the first TV ad by Bulova Watches in 1941. The ability to translate this brand experience to a mobile device has been eagerly anticipated ever since Vodafone and Fox promoted American TV series 24 through a series of one-minute mobisodes in November 2004. As mobile devices become more sophisticated and smartphone and tablet penetration grows, how mobile video is consumed will evolve.
The UK, in particular, is a nation of video enthusiasts. Of the 38.5 million people who went online in the UK on their PC in February 2012, 27.3 million viewed streamed content, according to UKOM/Nielsen. With smartphone penetration now over 50%, the ongoing provision of unlimited data packages by operators, and new and innovative ad formats, mobile video will lead advertising growth as brands recognise the value of mobile as a personalised entertainment and utility platform.
At Millennial Media, throughout 2011 we saw brands increase their investment in mobile video advertising to drive brand awareness for their products and services. A ‘watch video’ element was included in 24% of the campaigns on our platform in 2011, available to people who had clicked to view the campaign.
Within Europe in particular it has been the entertainment advertisers who have led the way in incorporating mobile video into their campaigns, enabling their movie trailers and TV spots to engage audiences at scale. Our recent case studies from video games publisher Activision (see case study, below) and Patagonia* demonstrate the deeper engagement levels possible by taking advantage of mobile video as a communication technique.
Our US office recently partnered with the IAB to commission Harris Interactive to conduct an in-depth survey of over 2,000 US adults about how they engaged with mobile devices during the 2012 NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Among the findings, the study found that 26% of passionate fans followed the tournament primarily by using their smartphone. The increasingly prevalent habit of ‘dual-screening’ was also revealed, as 69% of consumers used their mobile device while watching the tournament on TV.
From checking scores and watching highlights, to interacting with friends and family, 88% of these fans turned to their mobile devices as a way of engaging with NCAA Tournament-related content. We anticipate seeing similar consumer behaviour trends during other multi-day sporting events, such as the upcoming UEFA European Football Championship and the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The continuing growth in mobile internet usage is enabling consumers to use a variety of media platforms to watch, engage and interact with video content. Advertisers must invest cross-platform to effectively reach their intended audience. With interactive mobile video ads, TV advertisers can easily and economically access the mobile opportunity and deliver the rich branding experiences of TV commercials on a platform that is personal and always-on.
Mobile is also the ideal platform for participation. The customisable, interactive elements of these ad units transform the TV experience into an actionable canvas. By integrating social sharing tools, brands can leverage the omnipresent nature of the channel, provide opportunities for consumer participation and encourage secondary, viral distribution of their content messages, driving success at the branding level and beyond.
The recent IAB and PwC Mobile Ad Spend 2011 results indicate a 147% growth year on year, in mobile video advertising, to £0.8m, as brand advertisers invest in new rich media formats.
According to FirstPartner, this is set to continue, with mobile video ad spend set to see a compound annual growth rate of 133% from 2011 to 2015 in Europe.
This ongoing investment is set to deliver further exciting innovation and ensure brands can continue to leverage mobile video as a truly mass-market media.
CaseStudy Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the top-selling video game of all time, generating £475m in its first week. Leading up to the release, Activision worked with Millennial Media on a mobile ad campaign that drove both awareness and pre-orders in the UK. The rich media mobile ad campaign ran cross-platform, and to highlight Call of Duty’s unique gameplay, the ad unit included a video that showed an official game trailer.
“Mobile is increasingly becoming a key touchpoint for our core and growth audiences”, says Call of Duty senior brand manager Eric Folliot. “The flexibility that the campaign offered really drove the success of the campaign. We were able to provide a variety of rich content to our audience in a personalised way that other touchpoints couldn’t offer.”
In order to drive additional, immediate sales, Activision and their agency MEC, utilised m-commerce capabilities, including a ‘button’ that directly linked consumers to the Modern Warfare page on the Amazon mobile site to pre-order the game. Once released, the ad unit was updated with a store locator, which included a map, address and contact information so that consumers could locate their nearest stores to buy the game by entering their postcode.
Finally, for a game that had the buzz and anticipation of Modern Warfare 3, it was important for Activision and MEC to include a social media element in the campaign to enable users to share their excitement. From within the creative, consumers could share the rich media trailer through social media, or send a tweet to the official Call of Duty handle.
“Modern Warfare 3 was the most talked about entertainment release of 2011, and the multi-faceted nature of the campaign allowed us to hit all our objectives,” summarises Alex Hicks, activation manager at MEC. “Not only did the mobile campaign drive strong consumer awareness across a key touchpoint, but it helped fuel fan engagement across all major social media platforms.