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Mobile video ad views on YouTube surpass desktop in 2015

Mobile accounted for nearly two-thirds of the 470 million YouTube views for the 10 most popular video ads on the platform in 2015, pointing to consumers? interest in branded video as their viewing habits increasingly move to mobile devices. 

YouTube?s research shows that the amount of time spent on the platform by 18-to-49-year-old's grew 44 percent in the past year, primarily driven by mobile viewership. At the same time, consumers are spending less time in front of a TV, challenging advertisers to consider new strategies for achieving the reach that TV used to provide. 

?To maximize the reach and effectiveness of your campaign, combine the new tube with the old,? said Howard Blumenstein, product marketing manager, Strategy & Insights, at YouTube, in a blog post about the findings. 

?Test the YouTube/TV combo to see if it works for your brand,? he said. ?If the best way to reach your biggest audience is, in fact, both ways, revisit media allocations in 2016 and consider shifting some of the reach and awareness dollars currently allocated to television to YouTube.?

The most viewed ads
YouTube?s end-of-year ranking of the top 10 most viewed ads on the platform finds the top spot occupied by Clash of Clans? tongue-in-cheek Super Bowl TV commercial featuring actor Liam Neeson and titled Revenge. 

After the Clash of Clans ad, the most-watched ads on YouTube in 2015 were, in order: Hyundai: A Message to Space; the Ad Council?s Love Has No Labels; Boom Beach?s Speech; Adidas? Unfollow Feat; Always? #LikeAGirl - Unstoppable; Durex #Connect; Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge launch ad; Fanpage?s Slap Her, and Budweiser?s Super Bowl ad Lost Dog. 

The ranking shows that mobile viewers? interests, when it comes to video ads, closely align with traditional TV viewing habits, with the most popular ads dominated by humor, heart-warming messages and exhilarating imagery.

Teaming up
With research suggesting that a growing portion of the population has never signed up for cable TV, advertisers are struggling to figure out how best to get their video messaging in front of consumers. 

YouTube reviewed research from Visible Measures and Nielsen as well as Google data to asses several ways advertisers might be able to maximize their video investment by rethinking YouTube?s role in their media plan. 

To replicate the kind of reach advertisers used to be able to achieve on TV, YouTube looked at 3,000 video campaigns in the U.S. and analyzed how these campaigns could have extended their reach with millennials while holding costs constant. 

The results showed that 46 percent of the campaigns could have increased their reach with millennials by combining TV and YouTube. The average increase in reach was 42 percent.

Brands can also add YouTube advertising to their existing TV campaigns. In a recent study of 656 campaigns, YouTube found that brands that added TrueView to TV saw lifts of 23 percent for ad recall, 18 percent for brand awareness and 13 percent for consideration among their YouTube audience.

YouTube recommends that advertisers test the YouTube/TV combo to see if it works. If this does prove to be the best way to reach a bigger audience, marketers may want to consider shifting some of the reach and awareness dollars currently allocated to TV to YouTube. 

Key moments
YouTube also reviewed results for its TrueView ads, a skippable ad format. The analysis of results for 89 brands that ran Brand Lift studies found that viewers who completed TrueView ads were 23 times more likely to visit or subscribe to a brand channel, watch more by that brand or share the brand video. 

Even viewers who were simply exposed to TrueView ads were 10 times more likely to take action. 

When it comes to developing content with online viewers in mind, YouTube recommends advertisers try to meet viewers during key moments they experience with a brand, such as when they are watching videos related to their interests, to learn, to do or to buy. 
Long-term exposure
Marketers also need to keep in mind the longevity of videos on YouTube, which earn views for months and even years. 

Research done by Visible Measures shows that each new video brands promote using TrueView drives interest in past content, with views of previously existing content increasing by up to 500 percent after new videos are posted. 

A key takeaway is that marketers should think in terms of developing an easily accessible video library and promoting new content to engage viewers. 

?Most video ads are fleeting,? Mr. Blumenstein said. ?Online, in-feed, or on TV, they run for 15 or 30 seconds and they're gone. 

?But YouTube is different,? he said. ?There, four of the top 10 trending videos last year were ads. 

?Branded videos on YouTube have a long shelf-life, earning views for months, if not years.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York