Mobile video ad spending is projected to grow a whopping 49 percent to $18 billion next year, as video consumption on non-mobile devices such as laptops and computers declines for the first time. Dig deeper, and you’ll see rewarded video emerging onto the scene as a major player—40 percent of mobile app users deemed rewarded video the most acceptable ad format, head and shoulders above banner ads (20 percent) and interstitial display formats (12 percent). Another study found that 78 percent of game players are open to engaging with rewarded video ads. No wonder why 75 percent of publishers report that rewarded video provides the most effective means of mobile monetization.
These are sharp but much welcome contrasts to the 30 percent rise in ad blocking worldwide.
Rewarded video is finally providing consumers the opportunity to choose their own destiny with brands in a way that’s non-invasive and organic. Most probably associate rewarded video with gaming (e.g., watch this quick video for more coins or energy), but there are other natural use cases as well. For example, a news app could offer access to another editorial article after viewing a video. Across all the various uses cases, a clear value exchange is created between the brand and consumer. The consumer receives more of the experience they want (e.g., gaming entertainment, in-depth news) by agreeing to engage with a brand’s content, and the brand—over time—drives positive reinforcement as the source for positive experiences.
While there is no set formula for creating successful rewarded video experiences, here are three elements for brands and publishers to keep in consideration as users continue to embrace the emerging format.
End Cards Drive Action with Engaged Consumers
When a user has finished watching a video, end cards allow brands creative ways to interact with the user. A retailer can offer local coupons to download, a travel brand can promote a list of potential holiday destinations, or a CPG advertiser can share a carousel of discounted products. For example, when 20th Century Fox released the movie “War of the Planet of the Apes,” it utilized an End Card at the end of the trailer. When swiped, it showed images and descriptions of the movie’s two main characters Caesar and The Colonel as well as a Fandango link to buy movie tickets.
The flexible format of end cards allows brands to develop more rich interactions following a rewarded video experience.
Align Video Lengths With Shorter Attention Spans
The Internet and social media have brought down a human’s attention span below a goldfish’s.
Author Morley Winograd interestingly pointed out that, “Millennials are using packet-switching technology rather than hard-wired circuit switching to absorb information,” he responded. “They take a quick glance at it and sort it and/or tag it for future reference if it might be of interest.”
Which is why the length of rewarded videos matter as much as the value that they’re delivering to consumers. For example, a recent study on Facebook video ads showed that 16- to 20-second videos had the highest conversion rates in both the gaming and ecommerce verticals. In contrast, videos lasting more than 36 seconds performed among the worst.
Assume You’re on Mute
When’s the last time audio on your mobile device was turned on when you read news articles during your morning commute or played a mobile game on your way home? Facebook knows the answer—not only did they find that most videos are watched without sound, they found that when video ads started playing loudly without expecting the noise, 80 percent react negatively toward both the advertiser as well as Facebook. As a result, Facebook rolled out tools operating under the mantra that the best audio for video ads on their platform is silence, admitting that without sound, 41 percent of their video ads were meaningless.
Let this be a lesson to advertisers and publisher partners who are increasingly focusing on rewarded video programs. On the silent screen, pictures are still worth a thousand words. Just ask Martin Agency, who produced a silent version of its sand castle Geico commercial without audio and text narrations to make the understandable to people viewing it on Facebook without sound.
Heading into 2018, expect to see more rewarded video initiatives take flight as a critical vehicle for value exchange with more creative, relevant interactions. By utilizing dynamic and entertaining ends cards, keeping the video lengths short and sweet, and painting vivid stories without the reliance on audio, brands stand to gain significant lift in engagement and loyalty in the long term.