A Comprehensive Guide to Mobile Video Ads

Video Ad Format

There is no “one size fits all” or “one format fits all” approach in mobile advertising, but it is an undebatable truth that video is the most attention-grabbing and engaging ad format. To help kickstart your in-app video advertising campaign and reap the benefits of this ad format, we have gathered all the fundamental information about video ads into a single article.  

Why Invest in Mobile Video Ads?

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, US adults spend more time viewing video on mobile devices than ever before. Naturally, according to eMarketer, in 2021 ad spending on mobile in-app video advertising in the US is expected to grow by 27.6% year over year to reach $18.01 billion. That’s an increase of more than 11% from the 15.9% growth we saw in 2020. 

Another research study shows that video is the #1 content type used for increasing audience engagement, and shows that mobile video ads see a 7.5 times higher CTR than display ads. 

So, what do you need to know about mobile video ads?

Types of In-App Video Ads

Video ads are the most attractive and compelling ad type available to mobile marketers because they create a dynamic experience for the users. They take the visual image component of the ad to a whole new level, making the ad more engaging, entertaining, and memorable. They allow advertisers to convey their message to the audience in a short period of time. 

Video ads come in a variety of types, such as rewarded, interstitial, and native. We will discuss each in detail.  

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             Rewarded Video              Interstitial Video              Native Video

  • Rewarded Video

Rewarded Videos are non-skippable, opt-in video ads that are shown within the app. The user decides whether to engage with the video in exchange for a reward. Rewards might be extra game lives, coins, or premium items, and are an alternative to in-app purchases (IAP). 

Pros: Because of their optional, non-intrusive format, rewarded video ads allow app marketers to gain informed clicks and high-quality conversions, since the user has actively chosen to engage with the ad. 

  • Interstitial Video 

This video format appears full-screen on a user’s smartphone, usually at a natural transition point in the flow of an app, which might be between activities or game levels. 

Pros: Interstitial video ads are skippable so users who engage are expressing genuine interest, otherwise they would close the ad and return to their app.

  • Native Video 

Native video ads mirror the visual design of their placement, so they look, feel, and behave like natural content on the publisher app.

Pros: These ads present a winning combination of the non-intrusive nature of native ads and the engaging and interactive nature of video ads. Imagine the possibilities! 

Creative Tips: Do’s and Don’ts

Now that you already know the types of video ads, it is the right time to consider some do’s and don’ts while composing your ad creative.

  • Do make your message work without sound

According to a research by Verizon Media, 92% of consumers view videos with the sound off. The solution? Make sure that your video ad makes sense with the sound off; make it intuitive, and use captions. This same report found that 50% of consumers rely on captions because they keep the sound off. 

  • Do grab the user’s attention quickly

Apply the three-second rule to grab the user’s attention. Video ads that show text in the first 3 seconds have a 46% increase in purchase compared to those without. Making those three seconds count is important no matter how long your mobile ad is.

  • Do be honest

If there is a concept you want to try but it is not representative of actual gameplay, then make a note in the ad as such. Avoiding misleading ads will help you keep the trust of your app users.

  • Do consider the preferences of your app users 

Color, copy, creative approach, and ad duration are some of the things you should consider when designing an ad creative for your mobile programmatic campaign. The app users of different app verticals have specific preferences, and it is important for you to understand these to maximize your acquisition of new users. Below you will find the results of our previous analysis that show user preferences regarding video ads for different app categories. 

Casual puzzle Social casino

Marketplace AppsRPG

  • Don't use extremely flashy effects

Super flashy effects can annoy and irritate the viewer. Videos that animate and “flash” with rapidly changing backgrounds, text, or colors can break your ad. Use flashy effects to emphasize a point and use it with intention so the value of it will not be lost.

  • Don't cram too many ideas into one video

Of course, it is tempting to add as much information as possible to your video ad. But telling a story is the number one requirement to catch your app users’ attention. Stay focused on your main message. 

App Category Matters 

It is natural that video ads perform better for specific app categories than for others. With this, we investigated the app verticals where the best performing ads are in video format. 

  • Bubble Shooter

For one of our recent campaigns, we analyzed the performance of a bubble shooter game by running video and display ad creatives. The results showed that video performed better in all metrics: the video ad format’s click-through rate (CTR) was higher by 15% and resulted in 30% more return on investment (ROI).

  • Casual Puzzle

The casual puzzle app ran a campaign with three ad formats: display, native, and video. The video ad format outperformed the others across five metrics, with a 3X better ROI than display and native combined.

  • Social Casino

Another study conducted by Aarki showed that video is the best performing ad format for Social Casino apps, with the highest CTR across the ad formats at 16.7%. In addition, video ads showed the lowest cost per install (CPI) and had the highest install rate (IR).

  • Travel 

Video proved to be the best ad format for travel apps during our last analysis. We witnessed the highest CTR of 9.64%, a conversion rate (CR) of 5.94%, and the best retention rate (RR) throughout 30 days. Although it had the highest CPI at $1.42, video outperformed the other ad formats in all other metrics. 

This guide to video ad creatives is based on analyses we have done for different app categories/campaigns. But don’t forget that no rule is universal and that you should always keep testing. Champion/challenger and multivariate testing are great means to find new ways to serve engaging creatives.

Video ads are here to stay, and it is critical for app marketers to make the best use of this engaging ad format and maximize the effectiveness of their mobile advertising campaigns. 
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Insights since more content on the benefits of different ad formats are on their way.  


Topics: Creative Insights