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Why Mobile is Becoming the New TV

We already know that brands and consumers are paying more attention to mobile. But as mobile becomes more essential to today’s ad environment, there’s been an interesting side effect: mobile content and advertising is starting to look a lot like TV. Consider the wildly-popular mobile app quiz show HQ, where consumers have been conditioned to “tune in” just like in the days of old for daily trivia contests. Or think about the “lean back” consumption experience of social apps like Instagram Stories and Snapchat Discover, two platforms where publishers continue to experiment with more TV-like content. How might these TV-like mobile experiences shift advertisers’ mobile strategies moving forward? Here are three opportunities.

Make Mobile into an “Event”
Up to now, many advertisers thought of mobile ads as a different creative experience than what they were creating for mediums like TV and PCs. But as more advertisers and content creators start to think of the mobile experience like TV, there are more opportunities for creative and marketing synergy. A great example is the event experiments HQ is testing with advertisers, which feel a lot like the big-audience spectacles we’ve seen from TV advertisers in years past. Marketers like Nike and “Ready Player One” both offered bigger-than-usual cash prizes to HQ’s trivia players, a strategy that seemed like a perfect match for HQ’s TV-size audiences. It’s one more sign that advertisers aren’t afraid to spend big on mobile when they know their message will reach a TV-size audience.

Sell Mobile like Episodic TV
As mobile content and ads become more like TV, there’s also an opportunity to adjust how the format’s campaigns are bought and sold. One example of this shift is a move by more publishers to create TV episode-style mobile content. Digital publisher Bustle for instance, has been packaging up its mobile Instagram Stories content as a mobile TV “series,” positioning the content to advertisers much like a network might do when pitching a TV ad campaign to sponsors.

Rethink Mobile Branded Content
Yet another sign of mobile’s continued evolution as a TV-style ad platform is the medium’s growing range of ad opportunities, like branded content. Consider the news from Snapchat, which announced in March that its publishing partners like NBC Universal, Hearst and Buzzfeed would now be able to sell branded content partnerships to advertisers within the service’s popular Discover feature. This move is similar to the TV product placement deals of the past, where sponsors would pay to integrate their messaging and brands into the TV content itself. Another related opportunity is Snapchat’s experiments with a new “commerce” feature, which may make it easier for consumers to instantly buy products online that they see in Snapchat Discover programming.

Today’s mobile viewing experience is looking more and more like television every day. But while the main benefits from this shift will be for consumers, there’s good news for advertisers as well. That’s because today’s mobile experiences offer access to bigger TV-size audiences, more TV-style content experiences, and branded content integrations. It’s just one more sign of the growing synergy between the TV, video and mobile ad experience.