By now you—marketer, brand manager, PR practitioner, executive—have figured out that in this new, content-driven, multichannel environment your brand is now, among other things, a content publisher.
You've also likely figured out how important and effective video as a medium can be for engaging consumers and bringing them into your sales funnel. And just when you had the whole YouTube video, Web surfing thing figured out, the ground beneath your marketing strategy shifted.
One trend is moving faster than most: Through apps or the mobile Web, on a phone or tablet, consumers are watching more and more video on mobile, and now you have some figuring out to do lest you get stuck in the last century.
With more than half of US consumers using smartphones, the time to plan your mobile content strategy is now. Here are seven steps to get started.
1. Optimize your website for mobile (and video)
This is a no-brainer, but still less than 10% of all Web sites are mobile-optimized and fully 45% of Fortune 500 Web sites are not mobile-optimized.
Making money on mobile video requires new thinking if you are a video publisher, but monetization won't happen without a mobile-optimized site first. In addition, having an HTML5 player isn't enough; video publishers need to ensure that their HTML5 player also supports full video analytics and monetization.
2. Build an app
NDP Group has found that smartphone users are using an app more than half the time they're on their smartphones. To put the app opportunity in perspective, this year alone 1 billion active mobile app users worldwide will be spending 100 billion minutes a month.
Apps are popular, but they're also a tailor-made marketing venue. Why? Consumers choose to use an app. People may skip TV commercials and ignore banner ads, but they actively look at their phones and the apps on them.
Considering the proximity of mobile devices to the consumers who own and love them, brands have a huge opportunity in front of them to engage consumers on a personal and professional level via apps.
3. Now, build multiple apps
You may think that the uber-app for your brand is the answer, but, except for some of the largest brand names, a multi-app strategy often works better. Why? Because apps that have a singular focus tend to have more engagement and return users.
If you have various sub-brands, Web series, TV shows, or content categories, you should be forming a multi-app strategy.
4. Develop an app conversion strategy
Many smartphone users look up information or entertainment via search on their phones. They often then click through to a brand's website. That's the best time to convert that visitor to an app user.
The tactics to app conversion are many—from the "alert" pop-up to the top pushdown banner (Instagram) to the full-page banner (LinkedIn); all are geared toward alerting users that there is an "app for that." You would be surprised at the conversion rates of website visitors to app download and usage.
5. Think screens
The multi-device consumer is changing how engagement occurs with video and apps. Data shows that consumers turn to tablets for medium and long-form videos, and a large percentage watch videos three minutes or less on their desktops. Video engagement on tablets, for example, is 30% longer than any non-tablet device.
Given this shift in content consumption, brands should consider the type of content that is being delivered, the screen (e.g. connected TV, mobile phone, tablet, desktop) it will be viewed on, and the bandwidth requirements for ensuring a positive experience on any device.
Often an overlooked step, mobile Web and mobile app analytics is vital to measuring consumer engagement. Though there are several packages out there, such as Localytics and Google Analytics, be sure that you are also able to track video engagement, which is vital to the next step, monetization.
7. Rich media ads are the key to mobile monetization
Rich media leads the way in consumer engagement, advertiser ROI, and publisher CPMs that are equivalent to online video pre-roll. In addition, it is growing very rapidly: Mobile ad network Mojiva has said that rich media advertising will grow at least fourfold in the next four years.
Rich media is growing because it works; ads with videos boast higher interaction rates, according to a study commissioned by Say Media and conducted by comScore. The use of video in rich media ads is increasing as well, increasing time spent over 28% compared with ad formats that didn't include video. With rich media and apps, any online video monetization lost should be gained back and then some.
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It is time to make the investment in your brand's mobile experiences. It isn't an easy path with so many different experiences, from iPhone to Android to tablets, but with consumer viewing habits changing, hopefully this article has helped outline some steps you can take now.