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How brands can get the most out of their video content for mobile

Because mobile is a relatively new addition to the advertising mix ? at least, when compared to options such as online, television and print ? marketers still have not 100 percent cracked the code for advertising on the small screen. This is especially true when it comes to video advertising. 

In the United States alone, the number of mobile video viewers is pushing 200 million, which justifies the nearly $1.5 billion that brands spent on mobile video advertising in 2014. 

This begs the question: If roughly 15 percent of all online videos across the globe are viewed via mobile devices ? and brands are willing to pour money into advertising on these devices ? how is it that they are still not totally up to par when it comes to video?

Lean on
The short answer: It is not the devices or technology that are lagging ? it is brands? needing to make better decisions about optimizing their video content for mobile, quantifying the effectiveness of their interactions with users, and using that data to determine which behavior is most valuable as compared to more familiar devices and platforms. 

Today, much of the video content at advertisers? disposal is what we would call passive or static content that does not invite audiences to lean in. This is great for TV since it is a passive device, but not so great on devices that consumers expect to interact with, such as tablets and mobile. 

That is why brands are increasingly integrating interactive elements into their mobile video ads. This increases users? engagement with the content by transforming awareness of a product or service into tangible actions. 

It also gives advertisers the ability to collect more data than ever about their videos? performance on mobile. 

So how can brands get the most out of their mobile video content?

1. Create mobile content that matches consumers? desire to actively participate 
It is important to keep in mind that mobile has had a profound impact on how we expect to interact with content. 

Swiping, tapping, dragging, pinching, spreading and rotating have become part of our DNA. 

Knowing that mobile device experiences basically demand active participation and that users are already accustomed to manipulating it, some brands are delivering interactive video content that encourages exactly this type of engagement.

This can take shape as anything from an interactive prompt that users can click to gain access to everything from additional product information to store locators or instant coupon downloads. 

Some brands simply use it to extend the video experience with exclusive, supplementary content. The point being, once you have got them engaged, keep them engaged.
By further incentivizing this activity with giveaways, rewards or simply a great offer, brands are adding even more measurable data points to their content, which allows for deeper analytics and the ability to improve the advertising strategy moving forward. 

2. Interactivity drives action, action drives data, data drives knowledge
One primary issue with mobile advertising to date has been the limited number of actions it enabled and subsequently measured. 

Sure, you could tap an ad and be taken to a landing page or sign up for an offer and get an email, but what happened from there was difficult to track in a meaningful way. 

This often meant cobbling together data from multiple sources and then trying to assign them to a single user. And with today?s fast-moving, super-savvy consumer, ?ain?t nobody got time for that ?? 

But because adding interactive elements gives users the ability to directly engage with advertising, without being taken to an outside browser or leaving the immediate content, marketers can now gain a more complete picture of each of their active audience members. 

Some of the new key performance indicators (KPIs) that are becoming increasingly important, thanks to interactivity, new metrics are rising up such as are activity rate, awareness, video engagement rates and time earned. 

While whole articles could be written on any of the above KPIs, the important story they all tell is how interactive video outperforms traditional, passive video.

3. The message is only as good as the medium 
Adding interactivity to video as a standalone tactic is not necessarily a silver bullet to increasing mobile engagement. 

Running your advertising on high-quality networks and alongside compelling content can be equally as important to the success of an ad. 

This is especially true for mobile and also another instance where data can be integral to improving performance since brands can increase the likelihood of reaching their target audiences by knowing more about the audience and their behavior.  

By tracking everything from geographic data to mobile search histories or prior ad engagement metrics, this information can be paired with the publisher?s analytics to ensure optimal relevance to each viewer. 

Similarly what this data allows advertisers to do is hone in on the precise types of content, demographics and publishers that are seeing the best results and allow them to keep targeting those again and again. 

LONG STORY short: Integrating interactive elements into mobile video advertising is a huge leap toward finally cracking the code for video?s relevance and effectiveness on mobile. 

Ashley Eckel is senior director for marketing at Innovid, New York. Reach her at