Millennial Media’s latest S.M.A.R.T. Year in Review report has unveiled the major trends in mobile advertising which have delivered value to the eco-system over the past year.

The report revealed video reached an average of five times the engagement when compared to standard banner ad, with some verticals experiencing upwards of 800% greater engagement.

Zac Pinkham, managing director EMEA at Millennial Media, spoke to PerformanceIN to reveal the key insights from the report, including how advertisers are taking advantage of mobile video advertising and the ways in which video is being used as part of performance-based campaigns.

What are the most interesting findings to come out of this report?

Zac Pinkham: Without question there is one key trend that deserves the spotlight from our latest S.M.A.R.T. report, and that’s mobile video. In 2014, advertisers increasingly took advantage of mobile video advertising with the primary goal of driving brand awareness and engagement.

One of the most interesting results we saw was that 22% of all campaigns on our platform included Watch Video actions. That’s nearly a quarter of all campaigns, which is a colossal volume.

When you consider that video realised an average of five times the engagement when compared to standard banners, with some verticals experiencing over 800% greater engagement, you can see why advertisers are embracing video in their mobile campaigns.

PI: How do you think video advertising is going to develop and progress over the next year?

ZP: With improving network capabilities, larger screen sizes, increasingly sophisticated devices available at lower price points, and greater demand from consumers, video will continue to remain one of the most discussed topics this year.

However, we know from our key brand partners that there is a desire to go beyond simply repurposing video from other channels, and as video becomes more central to mobile strategies we’ll see more brands looking to create bespoke content for engaging their audiences on mobile.

It’s also important to point out that video is not just for driving brand awareness metrics; you can also use it to drive performance. In Japan, we see a lot of app download campaigns start with video, whilst in the UK we’re seeing finance companies use a form fill end card for a direct response from consumers that view video content.

PI: In a rapidly changing industry, what can advertiser do to ensure they stay relevant with regards to mobile video advertising?

ZP: Firstly advertisers need to consider the objective of their campaign and ascertain how different formats can help connect with the right audiences. For example, if you’re looking to build awareness, pre-roll video ad units are a great option. These videos usually last 15-30 seconds and play within the flow of the content the user has selected, predominantly prior to other video content.

If instead your objective is brand engagement and you want to develop the relationship that a user has with your brand, you can’t beat rich media video ads. These ads are full-screen interstitials with a video player embedded in a customisable rich media backdrop.

There are lots of ways to use rich media to drive engagement, depending on your campaign goals. These ads can be interactive too, so your audience can view your video and take a distinct action during or after the video plays.

Perhaps the key consideration for advertisers looking to stay relevant with mobile video content however is to recognise the form factor of the mobile device. For example, people on a smartphone will consume video content in much shorter bursts, in some cases in just 30-60 seconds. Videos have to be compelling from the start if they are to hold attention.

On tablet however, with lean-back devices that are used less frequently but for greater periods of time, consumers are more willing to dive into content.