Programmatic video ad sales in EU-5 are expected to soar 63.5% to reach €369 million by the end of 2015, according to Emarketer. There’s no doubt that programmatic video is fast becoming mainstream and smart brands are using it to reach their audience across every screen, but this begs the question why the uptake of mobile video advertising has been relatively slow.

The main factor has been a lack of confidence in targeting and measurement through mobile. But times are changing, and the following five facts arguably make mobile video the most important audience engagement channel for brands.

1. Targeting and measurement are here

Advertisers can now buy video inventory on mobile in an automated, targeted, and optimised way. What’s more, this is arguably more powerful on mobile than on any other channel, because, depending on the strength of proprietary data, it’s possible to leverage intelligence from sources such as mobile apps and geolocation to identify audience categories based on people’s recent behaviours.

2. People now prefer to use their smartphone to go online

It’s official! The UK has become a smartphone society, according to the latest research from government communications regulator Ofcom. Some 66% of UK adults now own a smartphone, up from 39% in 2012. This rises to 90% among the 16-24 age group. Furthermore, for the first time, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the UK’s preferred device for going online. Ofcom’s figures show that a third (33%) of UK internet users regard their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared with 30% who still prefer their laptops.

3. Mobile audiences never switch off

Unlike other channels, mobile audiences are always connected. Whether you are in the office, on the go or at home, you’re likely to have your smartphone switched on and close to hand, and consumers are now spending an average of three hours and 40 minutes a day on their mobile devices (Flurry Analytics, comScore, Pandora, Facebook, NetMarketShare. Note: US, June 2015). Research backs up the ‘always on’ nature of mobile users, with the Pew Research Centre revealing that 44% sleep with their phones next to their bed to “make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night” (Pew Research Center, “Mobile Technology Fact Sheet,” October 2014). And this seems a pretty conservative figure – I, for one, don’t know anyone who doesn’t sleep with their phone close by.

4. We’re increasingly reliant on our mobile

Once upon a time, you mainly used your mobile phone to make calls, send texts and do basic web browsing. Not any more. People are using their smartphones and other mobile devices for an increasing array of activities, from watching TV and reading books, to paying for their parking and applying for jobs. Accelerated by the Phablet, it’s essentially rapidly becoming the do-it-all device, so no wonder we’re never without it.

5. Mobile video audiences are engaged

Finally, arguably the most compelling reason in this list is that video watching on mobile is increasing rapidly and completion rates are high for mobile video advertising. Almost half (44%) of all video plays in the second quarter of 2015 took place on mobile devices, up 74% on the same period a year ago, with people predicted to spend over half of their time (53%) watching online video on their mobiles in 2016. Meanwhile, completion rates for video advertising on mobile devices are high at 92% for tablets and 70% for smartphones.

And so the mobile world is waiting. Now it’s simply down to brands to get more mobile friendly.

Patrick Kelly

Patrick Kelly


Patrick Kelly, Director of Agency Sales, BrightRoll at Yahoo