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Mobile Video Ads: A Look at Engagement Rates

When it comes to digital advertising, you’ve probably heard mobile video can be highly engaging for consumers. But how much more? According to new research published by Extreme Reach, mobile video viewed on a smartphone is significantly more effective than digital video formats on desktop and tablets. Based on an examination of the click-through rate (CTR) of digital video campaigns across all of Extreme Reach’s clients in 2015, smartphone campaigns had an average CTR of 0.68%. This was in comparison to a CTR of 0.49% for desktop video and 0.39% for tablet video. Why did mobile smartphone campaigns see higher levels of engagement? And what might that mean for advertisers interested in using the format?

While there’s no single explanation for the higher performance seen by smartphone video ad campaigns in 2015, there are three potential factors:

Differences in the video player experience across devices
The consumer viewing experience on mobile is fundamentally different than that seen on desktop devices and on tablets. Many video ads expand to play full screen on mobile devices, creating a more “engaging” experience. In addition, it can be difficult for mobile users to simply “click away” or ignore mobile video ads like they might do on desktop, a format where it’s easier to open another tab or browser window.

The novelty of mobile video compared to other formats
Mobile video may be performing better simply because it’s relatively more “novel” in the eyes of viewers. As mobile video becomes more commonplace in social media feeds and as part of publisher experiences, these engagement numbers may start to decline.

The “fat finger” effect
The viewer experience for mobile smartphone video is different than the viewing experience seen with desktop and tablet. This is particularly true when it comes to the small screen of a smartphone. We can’t discount the fact that some of the higher CTR we’re currently witnessing with mobile may be due to accidental engagement by those attempting to end the advertising experience.

Based on these new engagement numbers from Extreme Reach, mobile video continues to demonstrate strong results for advertisers looking to “cut through the noise” of traditional TV and desktop video campaigns. But these results are not without a caveat. A combination of more consistent industry-wide standards for mobile video, plus further testing by advertisers and publishers alike, is needed to get to the bottom of this question.