Several recent studies have reported that although mobile video ad spend is increasing, it is hindered by a lack of consensus around reporting, pricing and which video format to adopt. Many of these obstacles such as reporting and pricing are not surprising and will evolve and solidify as the industry matures. New technology always brings a slow adoption cycle, but the mobile industry has not done itself any favors when it comes to video.
There are numerous formats to display video on mobile, so it it not surprising that both advertisers and publishers would be confused. Some of the different formats and mediums available for video include: Native, MRAID, MRAID with VPAID, VPAID, VAST, GIFs, MAXVDO. etc. And to make matters worse, new formats continue to be released. Just recently the IAB released an Addendum for MRAID to allow it to use VPAID to play video. Granted, some of these new formats are created to solve limitations with existing formats, such as an ability to report certain events like quartile and midpoint completion.
All new technology goes through an evolutionary phase, but the mobile industry appears to be dealing with the shortcomings by creating new and proprietary formats rather than working together to find a standard solution that advertisers and publishers can both get behind. Each company’s self interest appears to be taking precedence over what is best for the industry.
There may be shortcomings with every mobile video solution currently available, but the mobile industry needs to come together to work on a comprehensive solution that benefits everyone rather than each going their own direction. Now we have advertisers and publishers using different solutions scattered across the landscape, so it it not surprising that studies are reporting confusion.
Since there is such a fragmentation of different solutions being used, it is difficult for advertisers to scale with their spend. They do not want to spend a little on this video format and a little on that one. They want to be able to direct their spend for video to one format rather than having to create different ad types to work on each one. That is both costly and inefficient. It is in the best interests of all parties to come together on a standard mobile video ad format, particularly if that is one of the main issues holding back advertisers from moving over a larger chunk of their ad budget.
It has been announced for the past couple of years that mobile video is the ‘next big thing’, and eventually it will be, but until the mobile industry comes together to solve the limitations with mobile video ads it will continue to remain the ‘next big thing’ for the forseeable future.