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Mobile, social video platforms proliferate, challenging marketers

Mobile and social videos have grabbed the attention of both consumers and brands. As the number of platforms continues to grow though, it is becoming less clear where marketers should place their bets.

Mobile and social video is opening up new opportunities for marketers to serve bite-sized content to users. Given the quick growth of mobile and social video in the past year, it is likely that the number of platforms available to marketers will increase, which will only make it more challenging for marketers to know how to market on niche platforms going forward.

?The growth in mobile and social video may be catching some marketers off guard, but I wouldn't call it a fragmentation problem,? said Dave Martin, senior vice president of media at Ignited, El Segundo, CA.

?Any time consumers jump into a new platform, especially one that delivers a rich experience, marketers need to see this as a big creative opportunity,? he said.

?We see a lot of brands making content without putting a lot of thought into exactly what that content should be or how it should be delivered. The balance between heavy-handed marketing and organic social content isn't an easy one to strike.?

Mobile challenges
Social and mobile video is an area that most marketers are still trying to get a grip on.

And just as they start to figure out one platform, another better one is likely right around the corner.

Take Vine, for example.

The Twitter-owned iPhone app launched earlier this year and challenges brands and marketers to get a message across in six seconds through a short video.

Vine has created a lot of buzz in the mobile and social industries, but marketers are just now beginning to incorporate the medium into larger-scale marketing initiatives.

For example, Dunkin? Donuts is currently using Vine to tie into its social media efforts with a contest to give away gift cards and a year of free iced coffee (see story).

Other brands such as Lowe?s are using Vine to do more than simply shove a product down a consumer?s throat with home improvement tutorials.

The challenge for brands with these short videos is telling a story in a shorter period of time.

?Nonlinear forms of communication are perfect for the mobile platform, especially bite-sized video,? said Craig Elimeliah, vice president of creative technology at RAPP, New York

?I think it gives us so many more tools in our tool box to be able to push out relevant and contextual messaging to the right people at the right place in the right time,? he said.

Scaling mobile
Despite Vine?s growth, the medium is still fairly narrow, which means it might not make the most sense for every brand.

Then there are other mobile and social video apps, such as Montaj and Viddy that are also garnering the attention of marketers.

Kraft Foods? Oscar Mayer recently became the first brand to launch a campaign with Montaj to extend the length of a TV commercial (see story).

Kraft Foods is one of the brands that has invested a lot in mobile video over the years to reach new, tech-savvy audiences.

?Consumers are migrating to second screens such as tablets and in this instance, mobile devices to accompany their television-watching experience, so this was a natural way to extend the consumer connection long after they?ve seen our commercials on television,? said Tom Bick, senior director of marketing communications and advertising at Oscar Mayer, Madison, WI.

Additionally, YouTube is also making a bigger play into mobile. The company recently began offering subscription-based channels, which lets mobile, desktop and TV users to watch content with fees starting at $0.99 per month in a bid to attract new users (see story).

Twitter is also making a bigger push into video with its Twitter Amplify service. The service lets brands keep tabs on when a TV ad is aired, which can then trigger Promoted Tweets to go along with the TV ads.

However, scale continues to be an issue with these platforms.

Being able to reuse a short video clip that is native to a mobile app again in other marketing initiatives is often not possible, for example.

?The biggest challenges are around creating great video content and then mastering the converged media landscape where owned, earned and paid all work together to drive outcomes,? said Marko Z. Muellner, vice president of marketing at Shoplgniter, Portland, OR.

?There's nothing new here ? video is yet another native ad type to be leveraged across customer touch points, online and off,? he said.

Quality divide
According to Paul Bremer, chief revenue officer of Rhythm NewMedia, Mountain View, CA, marketers are faced with three main challenges with mobile.

The first is around finding a brand?s audience as marketing becomes more fragmented.

Secondly, marketers need to create content that fits with a brand and its audience.

The final point is about finding the right time and context to market to a consumer.

In particular, native advertising that leverages rich media and video can help deliver on the contextual promise of mobile.

At the same time though, this is also causing a divide between what is considered premium and non-premium content for marketers.
?In the simplest terms, the video world is fragmented between premium and non-premium content,? Mr. Bremer said.

?The growth of mobile and social video has added to the noise, especially in non-premium content, but ultimately marketers still have these two choices in video,? he said.

?The key for marketers, as it always has been, is to choose environments consistent with their brand, whether that's professionally-produced content from a major media company, social video or something else entirely.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York