Are We Asking The Hard Questions Of Mobile Advertising?

Marketers are optimistic that mobile video advertising is effective and increasing budget into this channel is a must, according to the IAB.

Source: 2016 IAB video spend upfronts

However, this massive shift in channel investment has left too many questions on the table. Especially in terms of how effective mobile video advertising is as a channel in comparison to other mediums.

Fundamentally, we must ask ourselves two crucial questions when we  invest in a medium:

  1. Does the medium have scale to reach the desired audience?
  2.  How well does it help to build a brand?

For mobile we have neglected this second question.

Brand building research has shown that the key ingredient to building brands is its ability to elicit emotion.

‘The imprint of emotional communication tends to last longer, while rational communication is less likely to be absorbed and only lasts a short time.’

For a refresher on this, check out Patrick’s great piece on the subject.

To reframe the question of mobile effectiveness: Can mobile elicit the same emotion as other mediums?

The growth in mobile has primarily been around mobile video being the format that will see the largest increase in digital media spend in 2016. One of the biggest limitations with mobile video, however, is that users are watching these videos in silence. Digiday has reported that 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound. Additionally, Celtra reported that 90% of mobile video display ads are also watched without sound.

When it comes to emotion, Baumgartner and Esslen (2006) showed that emotions are more easily evoked by the combination of images and sounds over just sounds or images. Woods (2010) confirmed this by analyzing IPA award winning TV spots and found that a greater proportion of the ads with music delivered bigger effects on profit gain.

Screen size matters too. Reeves (1999) found that larger screens have higher levels of arousal. In-feed mobile video usually doesn’t own 100% of the screen canvas – it is often sharing that screen with other content as opposed to TV where the advertising takes up the whole screen.

It is early days with mobile’s ability to grow brands. However it clearly requires more questioning than seems to be happening at the moment.

For more article on Comms Planning, check out the BBDO Comms Planning blog

Sign up to my fortnightly Planning Dirty Newsletter. I share tools, resources and brain bombs for your strategy comms for planners.