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Consumers Frustrated by Stalling Mobile Video Ads

Users are turning on Wi-Fi to counter mobile video buffering

It is a truism that mobile devices are extremely personal, and that can increase resistance to unwanted messages. Furthermore, video demands more of people—more time, more attention—leading to audience resistance unless there is a clear value in sitting through it, according to a new eMarketer report, “US Mobile Video Advertising 2014: Ad Spending, Audience Estimates, Pricing and Best Practices.”

In a Q1 2014 study from Rhythm NewMedia, 44.4% of US smartphone/tablet owners said they would happily or begrudgingly watch a mobile video ad so that they could subsequently watch free premium content such as clips or full episodes of TV shows.

As things stand now, people are not too crazy about mobile video ads. In November 2013 polling by PricewaterhouseCoopers, only 12% of US mobile phone owners cited video as their preferred mobile ad format. More than twice as many favored banners, likely because that format can more readily be ignored; even more chose coupons, likely because coupons can give something back to them.

Mobile video ads create unique frustrations. One problem is that video is the most data-intensive form of content, and therefore when users are on 3G or 4G networks, the ad play is on their dime.

Another problem is that video streaming too often stalls, stutters or takes time rebuffering. That irritates users. In an April 2013 report from Prosper Mobile Insights, 35.1% of females and 24.4% of males cited loading or buffering video content as a problem with smartphones and tablets.

To counter the frustration of mobile video stalling, users have come up with a simple solution: Connect with Wi-Fi when watching mobile video. In Rhythm NewMedia’s survey, 61.1% of US smartphone owners and 82.0% of tablet owners said they used Wi-Fi when they watched video content.

What this means for marketers is also simple: Consider not streaming video ads unless the device is connected via Wi-Fi. That’s what Facebook is doing with its rollout of mobile video ads on users’ newsfeeds.

Limiting ads to Wi-Fi streamers may also limit the audience, but it reduces the chances of irritating viewers and ensures that the mobile video message gets through with the quality marketers intended.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “US Mobile Video Advertising 2014: Ad Spending, Audience Estimates, Pricing and Best Practices.”

This report answers these key questions:

  • In what ways do smartphones and tablets differ as channels for video advertising? How are they alike?
  • What are the pricing trends in the mobile video ad market?
  • What are audience attitudes about mobile video ads?

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.

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