We all know that feeling when you’re in the middle of using an app – whether playing a game, reading an article or engaged in any one of the likely dozens of apps you use on a daily basis…and a video ad pops up, interrupting the experience. This is an extremely negative user experience, and if it happens too often it might make you rethink opening the app again next time.
This is an industry-wide problem. Forced monetization experiences like these are too often the result of a publisher who doesn’t understand the damage it’s doing to its brand and continues to fuel it – or worse, sets it and forgets it. The good news is that there are some simple solutions, and tips, that are readily available to help improve the user experience and at the same time improve the monetization opportunity for developers.
The global mobile ad spend is projected to reach $40 billion dollars by 2018, and many publishers are obviously looking to capitalize on this opportunity. It’s a big market that’s going to get bigger, so here are a few tips on how you as an app publisher can implement a video monetization solution that not only optimizes your revenue but also delivers the best possible user experience and helps advertisers engage with their audiences more effectively.
1. Let the User Focus and Enjoy the App!
No one likes being interrupted during something they enjoy. That experience is only more jarring and more disruptive when they are looking at their mobile device. Smartphones and tablets are extremely personal devices, and having an ad interrupt the experience isn’t going to keep people using your app, and certainly won’t make them feel good about the advertiser’s brand.
I recently read a comment by a very well known brand advertiser who said they limit full screen ads to the launch of new products because “people might find it annoying.” In other words, they are willing to risk the consumer’s opinions of their brand to only when they are launching new products. There is a fatal flaw with that thinking. The relationship with the consumer is ongoing and perpetually delicate. It can’t survive if you try to time it only when you need their attention. In our opinion, if people find it annoying and disruptive, then there’s no message, timing or frequency that is “ok.” Interrupting the user, at any point, is the easiest way to get your app un-installed.
2. Make the Experience Native
Native is all the rage in mobile advertising at the moment. However, it means so much more when you’re operating in a space that can fit in your hand, oftentimes in a space that you spend more time looking at every day than your closest loved one. “Native” here means a genuine experience, it means you feel like the brand belongs in the content.
3. Don’t Auto-Play Your Video Ads
On the web, “auto-play” is the experience of opening a web page and being instantly assaulted by an ad blaring out sound. It is jarring and the quickest way to the mute button. Sometimes you don’t even know which tab it’s coming from and how to turn it off. That same experience is even more disrupting on mobile. Don’t allow consumers to feel like they want to close your ad or app. If you do then you risk turning them off permanently.
4. Allow the Consumer to Close out of the Video
Most brands and publishers prefer that the consumer can’t quit a video because it improves completion rates, which contributes to monetization. If the consumer wants to quit, the video (not the consumer’s desire to leave) is usually the problem: it’s not engaging. Don’t be a part of the problem. Allow consumers to leave your video and track true engagement. If you don’t, you’re serving advertising that repels consumers and that can have long term negative impact on your relationship with them.
5. Allow Consumers to Engage
It’s a bit absurd — and indicative of the ineffectiveness of too many digital video advertising solutions — that most mobile video experiences don’t allow the consumer to engage with the brand right after the video plays. If consumers are willing to connect with a brand after the ad, it is an indication of how engaged they are and whether the video connected with them in the first place. This is exactly why we created Tapjoy Video Plus, and offer the opportunity for a branded end card to display right after the video view. If the click-through rates at the end of the video are market-leading, then it’s a good indication consumers enjoyed the experience and there is more the advertiser can get through a secondary action.
6. Make the Video Relevant
If you are running a video, it has to speak to the consumer, at a time in which they are ready to receive advertising. If they are playing a game, then an ad for another game could certainly be contextually relevant. If you have demographic data for your audience, ensure that you’re using an advertising solution that can take this into account. It will help ensure there’s low wastage and high eCPMs.
7. Reward the Consumer
The previous tips all help make video advertising a little less annoying and more tolerable to the user. But what if you could make video advertising actually… “rewarding”? What if, instead of your ad being simply something to endure in order to get to the next article or the next level, your users actually sought out video ads because they were being rewarded for watching them, rewarded with something they actually wanted, right at the moment? Give the consumer the choice of when to engage and the control of what brands to engage with. That’s the huge benefit behind rewarded video ads. A publisher offers virtual currency, premium content, or some other type of reward in exchange for watching video ads. This method, which happens to be the basis of the Tapjoy Mobile Value Exchange®, puts the power and control in the user’s hands and allows publishers to collect revenue each time someone views a complete video ad.
Whether you’re creating apps or supporting them by providing advertising solutions, taking into account these 7 important tips will ensure consumers feel better about the experiences you’re giving them. Consumers can once again feel good about engaging with advertising, developers can better monetize, and brands meet their objectives of engaging with the consumer — creating a win-win-win scenario all around.