Mobile Video Usage and Advertising Statistics

Anne Freer | January 4, 2016

App Business

There’s little doubt that consumer consumption of videos is shifting towards mobile devices as we upgrade to higher quality devices, screens grow and networks support larger data loads.

But what, when, how and where are consumers watching mobile video and how can advertisers benefit?


According to a study from IAB last year, video is on the rise with 35% of respondents viewing content on mobile devices. Consumption was even higher in the US (50%), Canada (42%), New Zealand (42%), South Africa (42%), and the UK (40%). Contrary to previous research, consumers aren’t shying away from viewing longer content on their mobiles. Over 36% said they watched videos 5min+ in length on a daily basis. Chinese viewers were found to be the most likely to view movies and TV shows on their mobile devices.

36% of consumers view videos over 5 min in length.



IAB also found that of those viewers who regularly watch TV, 22% simultaneously stream video on their smartphones. Anna Bager, Senior VP Mobile and Video, IAB, and General Manager, IAB Digital Video and Mobile Marketing Centers of Excellence, explains:

anna bager

“The popularity of digital video is evident across small screens the world over. The fact that people are not only watching short snippets of programming, but committing to longer form content on their phones, opens doors for brands to be part of this impressive mobile engagement. However, the finding that viewers around the world are now video dual screening while watching TV, points to an emerging challenge for marketers: How do you grab a viewer’s attention when it’s divided between two simultaneous video feeds?”

Video tech firm Ooyala has highlighted similar findings with mobile video accounting for almost half of all digital video plays in 2015.

Mobile video grows 44% during Q2 2015



For the younger generation, consumption of mobile video is of particular importance. According to Animoto, 48% of millennials view videos solely using their mobile devices and are three times as likely to do so compared to baby boomers. The study further discovered that 74% of millennials followed brands on YouTube, indicating the importance of digital video for marketers and businesses.

Millennials are big on mobile video

Screen shot 2016-01-04 at 9.55.25 AM


Citing stability as a reason, the IAB research adds that 48% of consumers use mobile apps to view video. Only 18% of users stream video through their browsers.

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Apps are responsible for half of mobile video views



When it comes to video discovery, YouTube is king. 62% of consumers discover videos through the platform, followed  by social media (33%), search results (20%) and advertising (14%).

Research from BI Intelligence finds that YouTube generated 40% of its traffic from mobile devices in 2014, compared to just 25% in 2013 with Machinima one of the top viewed channels on the site. It has a global audience of 200m people. In addition, 23% of Netflix users are streaming on smartphones and 15% on tablets.

Twitter is one example of social media driving mobile video consumption. 82% of its users now watch videos and 90% do so on mobile devices. Twitter users are also 1.9x more likely to upload a video compared to the average US internet user. When used for discovery, Twitter is of great help. Whilst YouTubers mostly search for specific videos (63%), Twitter users discover new content (70%) on a regular basis. 41% of consumers would agreed that Twitter helped them discover new videos.

Twitter helps to discover new videos




2015 has undoubtedly been the year of video marketing. Mobile video ad spend more than doubled from $720m in 2013 to $1.5bn the year after and has been predicted to reach $6bn by 2018. According to research from AppLovin and AppsFlyer, video ad spend reached 66% of total spending in Q3 2015, up from 32% in Q1.

Video ad spend 2015



According to the research, video ads also performed better in terms of retention at rates of 34% compared to non-video ads. Game developers are particularly interested in the format because videos are more capable of showing a game’s features compared to other formats.

Similarly, IAB confirms that as long as mobile video ads are relevant, consumers are certainly interested in them. Joe Laszlo, Senior Director, IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, adds:

joe laszlo

“Audiences around the world are overwhelmingly open to mobile video advertisements that relate to their context and viewing patterns. Clearly, this is a real boon to global marketers that want to ensure they reach the audience segments most likely to be interested in their products or services.”

High success rates for video viewability on mobile devices may be another reason why budgets are being allocated more liberally. Google research found that video ad viewability on smartphones was higher (83%) than that on desktop (53%) or tablet (81%). Mobile ad viewability on YouTube was even higher at 94%.

Video ad viewability is highest for mobile web



Interestingly, most (60%) video ads are activated by the consumer, compared to 15% interactive in-stream and 25% pre-roll mobile video ads.

Consumers choose to watch mobile video ads



52% of consumers also confirmed that watching videos grew their confidence in the products they planned to purchase. Mobile purchases were up with 40% of users buying a product after watching content.

A study by Opera Mediaworks and comScore confirms that best practice native mobile video ads drove a lift of 90% for nine tested campaigns. Mobile ad recall, uniqueness and purchase intent were twice as high and user favourability as well as likeliness to recommend a viewed product were 3x higher for tested ads.

Performance lifts across the four campaigns that closely followed best practices for native mobile video ads

native-mobile-video-best-practices-mediaworks-800x366 (1)


As a guide for marketers, cross-screen ad firm, Rhythm One gives an overview of the type of mobile video ads and their completion rates and as well as Click-Through Rates (CTR). Generally, in-stream video ads proved higher completion rates (87%), but tap to interactive videos performed better in terms of CTR (7.2%).

Mobile video ad formats completion and CTR rates



However, mobile video still has its challenges. Metrics as well as uniform measurement for views across various mobile devices are hampering growth and confusing ad buyers. 2016 is likely to make advancements in solving some of these challenges.

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