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Significant mobile video consumption rate underscores need for quality: report

Video consumption has truly gone mobile, with 75 percent of consumers watching videos on their smartphones and 87 percent watching on tablets, as opposed to desktop or laptop usage, according to IDG Global Solutions? most recent Global Mobile Survey.

Given more than 23,000 executives and consumers in 43 countries participated in the survey, research found numbers regarding smartphone usage for video watching have increased 14 percent since 2012. Highlighting usage among Generation Xers and Millennials, the report suggests that investment in quality social content or video with high production values is of utmost importance regarding mobile strategy.

?Advertisers should focus on high quality video production as they compete with a high number of available digital video,? said Christina Carstensen, group client business director at IDG, London. ?However, promotional video and video content should play a central role in today's marketing campaigns. 


?Video should be adapted for the different devices with smartphone video being only a few minutes long,? she said.

Strengths and weaknesses
Among the many discoveries of the survey, security threats and the lack of mobile-enabled Web sites are the biggest barriers preventing mobile purchasing. Results showed 45 percent of respondents fear security breaches and are less likely to make a purchase on their smartphone, while 43 percent are less likely because a website lacks a mobile-enabled base.

?This makes a major differentiation in that back in the day, mobile was mobile,? said Tony Vlismas, head of marketing and strategy at Polar, Toronto. ?It was either part of your mix or wasn?t.

?Whereas today you need to break up mobile into smartphone and tablet and look at each differently, the same way you look at radio and television, or newspaper and magazine differently from each other,? he said. ?Both smartphones and tablets are mobile, but the individuals consuming media on them, and how they?re using them, differs.?

Mr. Vlismas is not affiliated with IDG but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

While tablet ownership has grown 41 percent since 2011, respondents agreed that an omni-channel purchase environment promotes a more unified experience for the consumer.

Given the growth in video views on mobile, the videos mostly watched consist of various YouTube videos, movies, TV shows and instructional guide videos. Furthermore, senior executives have shown to be twice as likely than Millennials to watch promotional videos.

Eighty percent of participants conduct research on products or services for business on their tablet in the evenings, which suggests a blurred boundary between business and personal life. More than half of respondents are multi-tasking and using more than one device at the same time.

The most frequently purchased IT products are suggested to be computer accessories and software, which may lend a promising opportunity for relevant IT companies if they are looking to invest in mobile commerce implementations, such as video with shopping and purchasing features. 

Other findings in the survey support the transition of media to mobile devices, as 50 percent of respondents use tablets to read a newspaper and even 40 percent have replaced their desktop or laptop with a tablet.

Promoting mobile and tablet
Other recent studies have shown the importance of responsive Web design and certain steps to be taken while designing those systems.

Marketers evaluating responsive Web design need to begin with its functionality on mobile devices as their first consideration, said Ken Harker, senior consultant at Keynote, in a presentation June 19 at the Mobile Research Summit: Data & Insights 2014. 

Mr. Harker said that even with responsive design ? which is the creation of websites that automatically optimize themselves on both desktop and mobile devices ? mobile Web pages still load too slow to deliver an acceptable experience for consumers. As an alternative to responsive design, marketers can choose to either design two different websites for desktop and mobile, or outsource the conversion of their desktop site into one that is optimized for mobile (see story). 

While smartphone usage will only increase, mobile-optimized Web sites prove to be crucial.

?If it feels like everyone has got their heads down in their smartphones these days, it is because they do,? said Paras Chopra, founder and CEO of Wingify, New Delhi.

More than two-thirds of United States consumers now use smartphones, according to the latest Nielsen research. And, increasingly, more of those users are searching for something near them, whether it is a location, business hours or directions. About half of those who conduct such local searches visit a store within the same day.  

Yet incredibly, only about 9 percent of small business owners in the U.S. have mobile-optimized their Web sites, which Impact Research estimates is costing them $1 trillion in potential revenue annually (see story).  

?Marketers must realize that a mobile-enabled and secure experience is key for users to engage with their brand on mobile,? Ms. Carstensen said. ?Responsive design can be an easy starting point to offer a more seamless experience.?

In addition to mobile-optimized Web sites, it is agreed that brands should perhaps focus on promotional videos to reach smartphone users.

?With the cost of data drastically lower than it was five years ago, consumers want to consume more,? Mr. Vlismas said. ?People remember what they see and hear versus what they read, and video is a beautiful platform for that.

?Traditionally video plays within its own media player on a smartphone so you get 100 percent share-of-voice and no distractions on the page for the viewer.? 

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York