Millennials Want Mobile Video Ads to Be Short and on Every Device

Fast-changing viewing habits spell big shifts for marketers

Chances are the next video you watch will be on your mobile phone or tablet. Record numbers of viewers are turning to these devices every day to watch a funny clip shared by a friend or even tune in for a live NFL game.

Andrew Snyder 

Mobile video viewing has seen double-digit growth this year, up 55 percent on smartphones and 48 percent on tablets. Even with some sticking points including smaller screen sizes, limited battery life, and the cost of data, millennials are once again leading the pack when it comes to mobile video. In fact, 95 percent of these younger viewers watch video on their mobile devices at least once a week. And these fast-changing viewing habits spell big shifts for marketers.

So what's really at play in mobile video, and how can brands connect the dots? The stakes have never been higher, and viewers want more from the experience. In this new landscape, marketers want to know how to adapt their strategies. It starts with putting the user first. First of all, shorter ads win.

Consumers ranked short ads (30 seconds or less) as the most important feature of a quality video ad experience. While this may not come as a big surprise, they were also three times as likely to note ad length, compared to the need for ads on their smartphones to be relevant to their interests. This can be a game changer in mobile because millennials—an important audience for so many marketers— are actually more likely to notice video ads on their smartphones, compared to other audiences. With this group, thinking mobile-first is critical.

But it's not a mobile-only world. Let's not forget that consumers use multiple devices every day, and they expect to watch content across those screens. For marketers, cross device campaigns can also drive higher brand performance.

When people viewed ads across multiple devices, it drove significantly higher results than seeing ads on a single device. How much more? We saw that brand favorability lift was 250 percent higher for cross-device campaigns. Using responsive ad formats, such as native video ads, is one way brands can more easily tailor ads to each device, meeting consumers' expectations and delivering results.

There's no denying that mobile video consumption is growing, but consumers still want the convenience to choose which screen they watch on. For today's marketers, it's all about translating their brand storytelling across devices, and video is their most powerful tool.

Andrew Snyder (@andrew_snyder) is vp of content strategy and solutions at Yahoo.