In late 2012, my colleague Anna Bager declared that 2013 would be the Year of Mobile Video. That was a good prediction then, and we think 2014 will be the same or even more so. Last year saw a great deal of interest in and experimentation with mobile video both as pre-roll-in-stream and with non-video content-and in-banner.
This year, things will really take off, and mobile video will be pushed to scale, become more interactive, and deliver more measurable ROI for the marketers using it.
IAB’s existing video and mobile rich-media technical standards provide a framework for mobile video, and HTML5 is beginning to live up to its promise as the standard for creating multi-screen content. Without getting too technical, I’d like to outline where we see those standards going this year.
MRAID and the V-SUITE
The IAB’s Mobile Rich-media Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID) spec standardizes functionality for mobile, in-app, rich media ads. During the creation of MRAID, the working group made a conscious decision to exclude most video functionality. We deferred to the IAB’s technical specifications for digital video ads, VAST, VPAID, and V-MAP (collectively known as the “V-SUITE”), which have dramatically improved the landscape for creating and delivering digital video ads.
That was the right decision — and it squares with IAB’s belief that we shouldn’t build distinct specs for mobile unless it’s necessary. However, the line between a “rich media ad” and a “video ad” has blurred, the V-SUITE and MRAID increasingly bump into one another.
Let’s say someone wants to run a mobile expandable rich media ad that has video in it. There’s not currently a clear path for how an ad designer could or should embed a VAST video container or a VPAID-based video clip within an MRAID ad.
Alternatively, an ad designer may want to do a video spot that has some mobile-specific rich media capabilities built into it. But there’s no established best practice for invoking MRAID from within a VAST video container.
Individual vendors are working on solving these problems, and IAB is starting to collect examples of these solutions so that everyone can learn from them. We need to hear from the industry on this, and also on whether a more formal set of principles or best practices would be useful in creating and trafficking hybrid video-rich media ads.
One especially hot topic in conversations about marrying VAST and MRAID and/or VPAID and MRAID is VPAID’s standardized reporting metrics-most notably the video view quartile metrics (that is, did someone watch the first 25, 50, or 75 percent of an ad, or the whole thing). While other video formats can also report these metrics back to an ad server, the V-SUITE’s metrics events are widely adopted and well understood, and being able to leverage them in an MRAID environment would improve consistency.
Mobile Video and HTML5
HTML5 provides, for the first time, tools for enabling video playback baked into the standards for creating and delivering web content. The HTML5 < video> tag opens the door to simpler inclusion of video in mobile websites; however, there are some complications due to inconsistent support in different browsers and lack of some desirable features (e.g., digital rights management and full-screen playback).
The IAB’s guidance on using HTML5, published in late 2013, includes practical observations about the HTML5 < video> tag, but this is another area where ad designers would benefit from more instruction, explanation, and best practices.
MRAID, the V-SUITE, and HTML5 give ad designers a great set of standards for integrating sight, sound, and motion into mobile ads. However, we still have work to do in providing a clear set of instructions for using those standards, especially in tandem with one another, to unlock great mobile video ad experiences.
We expect that better and better ad creation tools will move ad designers away from the standards that make mobile advertising go, letting them simply create and leaving the code generation to the software. That day can’t come soon enough. But even then, having a rough sense of what’s going on under the hood of mobile video will help the creative community build better ads faster and with less frustration.
In 2015, Verizon purchased AOL for $4.4 billion. Now, the mega wireless carrier is leveraging its wireless network as part of a new ad offering called BrandBuilder by AOL.
As the ball drops on December 31st, make sure your media strategies are stacked with timely resolutions to make the most of 2017.
Easily spotted on the mobile web: holiday ad next to plane crash story; Muslim dating ad next to KKK story; beauty ad next to domestic violence story; car ad next to emissions scandal story.
There will be an estimated 20.8 billion connected devices in the world (up from the current figure of 6.4 billion), the advent of 5G represents an enormous opportunity within the world of mobile.