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The unstoppable rise in mobile usage is fuelling video growth, according to a study from AOL, State of the Industry: Mobile Video Report, which shows an explosion in video viewing on mobile devices with mobile ad spend predicted to increase in 2017.
The global research of industry and consumer behaviour, conducted in seven markets including the UK, shows we are approaching a tipping point where mobile is set to be the number one video screen. Smartphones are rivalling desktops as the screen of choice for video, with an average of 57 per cent of consumers globally watching videos on their mobile phones every day, compared with 58 per cent who watch videos on their desktops or laptops.
A nation of smartphone addicts puts mobile on a par with desktop
In the UK, nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of consumers say they can’t live without their smartphone or always have to have it within arm’s reach. With dependency on smartphones on the rise, 54 per cent of those surveyed say they are watching more online video now than a year ago, and 52 per cent are watching these videos on their smartphones daily – the same amount as those watching video on their desktops or laptops (52 per cent).
Short-form video is booming
With so many distractions at our fingertips, the attention spans of online consumers are rapidly shrinking. While online video is growing across all lengths, consumption of short-form video is rising at an even higher rate. In the UK, 32 per cent of consumers watch videos that are five minutes or less every day (vs. 42 per cent globally). As videos get longer, this number decreases, with only 17 per cent of consumers watching videos that are 10-20 minutes long on a daily basis (vs. 21 per cent globally).
Mobile is supporting the rise of immersive formats, including VR, 360 and Live
In the UK, 60 per cent of consumers are regularly watching live video content on their smartphones, compared to 66 per cent globally.
Of those who are watching 360-degree video in the UK, 38 per cent are experiencing it on their smartphones. And when it comes to VR, just under a third (29 per cent) of those who experience it do so on their smartphones.
Compared to the rest of the world, the UK is still slow on the VR uptake. 31 per cent of US consumers and 21 per cent of Southeast Asia consumers are expected to watch more videos in VR in the next 12 months, compared to only 9 per cent of UK consumers.
Mobile spend is increasing for advertisers and publishers
The industry is set to keep up with consumer demands this year. In the UK, nearly half (46 per cent) of advertisers are expected to increase mobile ad spend by at least 25 per cent (vs. 47 per cent globally). On the other side of the coin, 61 per cent of publishers are expecting client investments in mobile video to increase by at least 25 per cent this year (vs. 57 per cent globally).
Opportunities and challenges for mobile video in the UK
AOL’s study has identified the three biggest opportunities for mobile video in the UK in 2017. When asked what they were most excited about in the development of mobile video, 42 per cent of advertisers and publishers cited granular audience targeting, followed by videos under one minute (38 per cent) and TV to mobile retargeting (37 per cent).
With these opportunities, advertisers are shifting more money away from TV budgets. When asked about the channels their TV budgets were shifting to, 61 per cent of UK advertisers stated mobile video.
As mobile continues to grow, there are still a number of key challenges facing the industry. Platform and service costs are the biggest bugbear, with 34 per cent of advertisers and nearly double the number of publishers (66 per cent) citing this as their top barrier.
Solving long load times is a key priority for publishers in 2017. Forty per cent of advertisers are spending less on mobile video ads due to long load times and 38 per cent are combatting the issue by creating lighter ads that can load faster. But far from resting on their laurels, 91 per cent of publishers surveyed said they are either exploring possible solutions or have already implemented new solutions to create a better user experience.