We all know the games are big, but how many of us realize just what a video powerhouse the event actually is—or should be—for advertisers? Here’s a hint: Four billion people tuned in to the 2012 summer games in London, an event that generated 5,600 hours of footage aired by more than 500 television stations and 190 websites and mobile apps across 220 territories.
Although TV has long been a go-to for tapping into such an audience, the last two games in London and Sochi saw significant advertising budget shift to online video. This year in Rio, marketers are expected to move even more budget to target viewers watching video on their mobile devices.
This is all part of the same trend. Last year, mobile video accounted for 55 percent of all mobile data traffic. By 2019, U.S. smartphone video viewers are estimated to reach 174.8 million, according to eMarketer. Global viewing habits are rapidly shifting to mobile, and advertisers are finding ways to answer the call.
Programmatic buying, in particular, is one avenue that advertisers will turn to. Because of how narrowly you can target through programmatic, mobile video is one of the most personal one-to-one marketing channels advertisers can find for reaching their audience. Simply put, when viewers see more varied and relevant video ads, viewability and completion metrics improve for the advertiser. Programmatic helps to ensure this by satisfying viewers with content that resonates and, in turn, improves key metrics for advertisers.
Though mobile video has been shaky for advertisers in the past, it’s scaling fast and getting ready for primetime. This year U.S. advertisers are estimated to spend $4.24 billion on mobile video ads, which would outpace desktop by 2017, according to eMarketer. Following closely, UK advertisers are pacing to spend $735.5 million on mobile video ads, eMarketer also found.
Though the viewership and spend numbers are compelling, mobile video has something even more powerful going for it: engagement. According to detailed research from Google and Ipsos, video watchers are more engaged on mobile than they are on other devices. Millennials spend most of their time multitasking when they watch TV, unsurprisingly, and the desktop video experience is similarly distracting thanks to multiple tabs and applications all competing for attention.
Video on mobile, on the other hand, takes up more real estate and thus more user attention. That kind of engagement just isn’t guaranteed on other devices, and finding an engaged viewer with a relevant ad is what every advertiser wants.
Thanks to changing viewer habits, better buying options and higher engagement, this year’s games are the first time that mobile video will truly make an impact for global advertisers. For campaigns intending to reach a portion of that four billion audience, the gold medal goes to mobile video.
Illustration by Michael Pisano