The Internet Advertising Bureau’s global study of smartphone video-viewing habits has been released, bringing with it plenty of market-specific insights for advertisers wanting to get ahead with their multimedia output.

Video has long been touted as one of the fastest-growing digital marketing channels in terms of spend committed. Indeed, the IAB itself proclaims that video ad spend will rise to £500 million globally this year as brands go about re-inventing their display campaigns, with mobile driving part of the growth.  

For those in charge of the purse strings, serious questions over the best platforms to advertise on and the length of clips to target are going to rouse debate. But each market tends to have its own video nuances, as IAB duly found out.

Long form is taking off 

For targeting smartphone and tablet users, there tends to be one mantra for messaging: keep it short and simple. The same rules have applied to online video production, where content marketers are aware that attention spans are short, and their clips should be shorter. 

But if other lessons are to be followed, mobile is taking over a number of aspects of content consumption. Thus, in its survey of consumers across 24 countries, the IAB found that we’re now seeing over a third of smartphone users (36%) across the world viewing clips which are over five minutes in length.

Turkey is by far the biggest market for doing this daily, on 60% for the portion of users watching clips that are five minutes or over, with Finland proving only a slight rival on 48%.

In a broader view of the situation, East Asia, the US and Canada lead the way in this category. In East Asia, 34% stream full movies on their smartphones and 23% watch TV shows, with 30% and 20% of US and Canadian users doing the same. 

Dominance by platform

Of less surprise were the numbers of smartphone users that flocked to YouTube for their digital video content. Over 63% admitted to discovering new clips via the Google-owned site, with social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter providing the video content gateway for 33%. 

Search engines managed 20%, with advertising the entrance point for 14%. Of course, if advertisers really want to get their hands on the biggest audiences, it may well be about blending content marketing efforts in with their paid-for options on sites like YouTube, which appear to be dominating the field when it comes to video discovery.

Finding a target

Personalisation was another key takeaway for video marketers – highlighted by 82% of smartphone video viewers demanding tailored ads to accompany their clips.

A total of 28% said they would like the ad to match the content being watched, 19% said this could be based on their recent viewing history, with 18% looking for ads to be linked to their favourite brands.  

Joe Laszlo, senior director at the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, had some words of wisdom for marketers wanting to follow this path.

“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.”

The ad multiplier

One of the other interesting highlights from the IAB’s report was exposure for a ‘trend’ in cross-channel marketing, created by brands showing the same ads on TV as on mobile.

In theory, playing the same ad twice – on different devices – could improve recall, as users may start to associate a memorable clip with a specific brand. It seems this strategy is proving popular, as 66% of the study group said they “often” or “sometimes” saw the same ads on their TVs being played on their smartphones.

An above-average level of adoption for the this technique was evident in Latin America, where 71% of the group claimed this was the case. 

Conducted between April – May 2015, the IAB’s findings are based on a survey of over 200 consumers aged 16+ from markets across Europe, the Americas and various parts of Asia.