Making Sense Of Native Video And The New Mobile Video Landscape

on Native Video, Mobile

Mobile video is exploding. Video now accounts for 55 percent of all mobile data traffic, a figure that will rise to 75 percent by 2020. Consumers today spend 42 minutes per day watching video on their mobile devices, surpassing desktop viewing time by 50 percent.

Advertisers have taken notice. Mobile video ad spend in the US, currently $4 billion, is forecast to grow annually by double digits through the end of the decade.

This shift to mobile video has given rise to new and unfamiliar video formats and strategies. Native video, the newest and probably least-understood form of mobile video, is seeing the fastest growth. Facebook receives 8 billion native video views each day and sold over $700 million worth of native video ads in 2015. Publishers are filling more and more inventory with native video ads and even redesigning their feeds to accommodate larger, autoplay-ready thumbnails.

Understanding what native video is and why it works is pivotal to every brand’s mobile strategy. The following is a primer to help you make sense of native video and the new video landscape.

In-feed native video allows brands to deliver meaning to everyone, even for those who don’t click play or even have the sound on.

Native Video and the New Mobile Video Landscape

The IAB defines native video as “a promoted video within one of the six IAB native core ads” (one of which is in-feed native ads, which Sharethrough specializes in). To be properly native, in-feed video ads must include a headline or description. This is the case not only for in-feed editorial video ads, like the ones we run on the Sharethrough Exchange, but also for social video ads, such as those appearing on Facebook and Instagram, in which video ads are always accompanied by a description.

Though the IAB does not call it out explicitly, most native video ads are autoplay enabled. The video plays automatically as soon as it appears on screen, typically with the sound off. Once rejected by media buyers, autoplay has had a resurgence, and is now considered acceptable by advertisers and publishers. Younger demographics even prefer autoplay. In a Sharethrough study of Millennial experiences with native ads, 79 percent said that they found an autoplay video to be convenient.

Facebook receives 8 billion native video views each day and sold over $700 million worth of native video ads in 2015. Publishers are filling more and more inventory with native video ads and even redesigning their feeds to accommodate larger, autoplay-ready thumbnails.

Outstream video—ads that load and play between paragraphs of editorial content—are often associated with native video, but actually fall within the category of in-article video, according to the IAB’s Digital Video Glossary. In-article video is not native. Its positioning between paragraphs does not adhere to the form and function of the user experience in which it is placed, which is the defining feature of all native ads.

In the squabble over terminology, it is important not to lose sight of the main difference between in-feed and in-article video: the headline. Headlines play an important role in how video is consumed.

The Key To Video is Reading, Not Watching

In-feed videos aren’t merely watched, they’re read.

When people watch in-feed videos, many are also reading the headlines. A survey conducted by Sharethrough reveals that 70 percent of millennials read headlines while watching in-feed video.

This should come as no surprise. For many millennials, the headline isn’t subordinate to the content, it is the content.

When paired with autoplay video and animated thumbnails, headlines are a powerful and efficient way to get your message across to viewers, especially with the shortened attention span of today’s modern consumer.

In-feed video allows brands to deliver meaning to everyone, even for those who don’t click play or even have the sound on.