Mobile Video: Pressing Play with the Cross-Platform Viewer

Jul 20 2015

Mobile Video: Pressing Play with the Cross-Platform Viewer

AOL and Focus Vision recently conducted research exploring the core elements of the mobile video experience from the consumer’s perspective, measuring both video content and video advertising across different devices. In this first post, we’ll take a look at consumers’ expectations and motivations for watching online video, and share our recommendations for creating an online video experience that connects with the cross-platform viewer.

If you’re not aligning mobile video with At Home Me Time, you’re missing the mark. In our Seven Shades of Mobile Research, we learned that “mobile” is very often not mobile. In fact, 60% of all mobile moments are spent in home, with almost half of those moments driven by “me time” motivations (such as turning to our smartphones to be entertained, to bust boredom, to laugh, or just to take a break from something else). So we were not surprised when we saw that this is even more true for mobile video: 73% of all mobile video viewing moments happen at home, and three-quarters of all mobile video moments involve “me time” motivations. So when you think about people watching mobile video, do not picture them on the go – because they are much more likely to be kicking back at home.

“Snackable content” is the price of entry for mobile video, but online viewers are hungry for longer videos too. There’s a lot of focus on creating short “snackable content” for mobile consumption, with good reason: according to Nielsen, 60% of the online video people watch is under 20 minutes. But a fair number of people are watching longer video on their devices too. In our study, 40% of the videos people watched on their tablets were over an hour in length; on the smallest screen, almost one in three of the smartphone video moments were for videos longer than an hour in length. Clearly, video programming strategies have to include a strong foundation of short videos, designed to fill those use occasions when people are at home (or on the go) and want a quick hit of Me Time. But this research shows us that there is room in our video programming strategy to experiment with longer formats that speak to a wider variety of motivations, and still find an audience with today’s OLV viewer.

Mobile viewers are cross-platform video viewers whose expectations “automatically calibrate” to the device. While people might say they have a preferred device for a particular digital activity – in this case watching online video - most of the time they reach for the device that is most convenient. In our study, online video watchers were twice as likely to choose the most convenient device over the device they thought would offer the best viewing experience. And even when they watched on the smallest screen, it did not degrade their overall enjoyment of the video: viewers assigned to watch varying video lengths on a smartphone rated their overall enjoyment just as high as those who watched on larger screens - even for the longest videos. In reality, what this means is that mobile viewers are actually cross-screen viewers who are likely to experience your content across multiple platforms. They know what experience to expect when they pick up each device for video viewing - and then their expectations automatically calibrate to that device.

For more insight into better mobile video advertising, read AOL Research's Cortney Henseler on mobile video advertising' potential

Download AOL’s latest infographic, “5 Reasons Why Mobile Video Works.”

Tags: Video, Mobile, Focus Vision, Infographic, AOL research, Denise Brien


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