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Mobile video's 2016 playbook: Apps, location targeting and native placement

With mobile a significant driver of video viewing in 2015, forward-thinking marketers will explore the entire range of engagement opportunities for video content on smartphones in 2016, including in-application strategies, location targeting and native placements. 

Key developments in 2015 support the need for marketers to place a big emphasis on mobile video in 2016, from consumers spending more time on smartphones than watching television to mobile video ad views on YouTube surpassing desktop for the first time. As the opportunity for mobile video continues to grow, marketers need to look beyond traditional pre-roll strategies. 

?Video isn?t a ?nice to have,? it?s an absolute must and to fully take advantage, mobile must be part of your strategy,? said Tomer Afek, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Showbox.  

??Snackable? content is going to spread and the more effective marketing teams can be at creating this type of easily consumed and easily shared content, the more they will benefit,? he said. 

?Brands and marketers need to utilize tools that enable professional quality video at scale so that they can produce enough content to drive consistent interest and increase their viral potential.?

Figuring out apps
Apps are dominating the mobile user experience, with consumers typically spending a majority of their time with several favorite apps. 

For marketers, this means one of the important opportunities for mobile video in 2016 is in-app placement. However, many are still struggling to figure out how to best to reach app users. 

?Apps are the biggest new communications channel for brands, and marketers need a better understanding if they want to master mobile,? said Mitchell Reichgut, CEO of Jun Group. ?Brands and agencies can?t afford to ignore the size and scale of in-app advertising, especially for mobile video, as the world increasingly becomes not just mobile-first, but app-first.?

Marketers also need to think beyond apps and consider how video is being consumed across devices. Increasingly, challenges related to the length of a video for mobile will disappear, opening the door to more impactful storytelling. 
?As mobile matures, brands will have the opportunity to tell longer and more personal stories ? to just the right people,? Mr. Reichgut said. ?Native ad formats, larger screens, and quick-loading units will remove the barriers to delivering effective branded content across devices. 

?Over eighty percent of the video Jun Group distributed over mobile devices in 2015 was transmitted over Wi-Fi, so bandwidth is not an issue. Smartphones are the new first screen, and the opportunity to deliver compelling video through these devices has never been greater.?

Informational content
Showbox?s Mr. Afek expects several kinds of video content to gain steam in 2016. The medical community will leverage mobile video for educational clips, cosmetics and fashion aficionados will continue to gain viewers for how-to and inspirational videos, major brands will start providing links to instructional videos and video will play a bigger role in blogs across industries. 

Marketers can also look to boost their video content by applying some of the unique characteristics of smartphones to video, such as connecting location with content recommendation engines. 

?Imagine if you could push videos with fashion advice to subscribers when they were at a mall or integrate video into an app for a personal trainer to better engage with customers,? Mr. Afek said. 

?Brands will also have increased dialogue with their consumer/ fans thus the ability to have a stronger back-and-fourth as well, the consumers can respond by curating responsive content video,? He said. 
Click-to-play vs. autoplay
One of the challenges marketers are likely to face in mobile video will be choosing between the user-initiated video ad units favored by big brands and the autoplay units favored by social platforms. 

?There?s room for two types of formats, of course ? some brands prefer reach and some prefer engagement,? Jun Group?s Mr. Reichgut said. ?And the social platforms building out autoplay provide big audiences and deep targeting. 

?Yet in the face of fraud and viewability issues, autoplay may not address the new baselines that brands need to feel secure in their media buys,? he said. ?Opt-in formats provide specific targeting, longer play times, and make it much harder for malvertisers. 

?However, audiences need a compelling reason to press play, and the number of views is typically less than what autoplay can deliver.?

Perhaps the biggest challenge that brands and mobile marketers will face will be keeping up with consumer consumption. 

?Quality can?t come at the expense of scale, so the key is to identify platforms that enable both simultaneously,? Showbox?s Mr. Afek said. ?Without the ability to constantly be creating, brands and influencers will lose their share in the market- to be replaced by professionals with camera crews and green screens which is not a reality for most brands or businesses.?