7 tips to maximize mobile video advertising success

December 11, 2017

Tags: 2017, DSPs, Marketers

Tarika Soni
See all blog articles

This post is co-authored by Tarika Soni (Video Product Growth Manager, MoPub) and Florencia Vago (Marketing Manager, Jampp).

Everybody is talking about video because everybody’s watching video

Some say social media started it, others say higher connectivity enabled it, but regardless, video consumption on mobile has been on the rise and will likely continue to grow. As per a Cisco prediction study conducted in Feb 2016, video will be 75% of global mobile traffic in three years.


Global mobile traffic 2016–21 (TB) // Source: Statista


It’s a good time to be asking yourself the question, “Why video?”

 Advertisers delivering both brand and performance media budgets are starting to invest more on mobile video because:

  • They can reach their audience in a format in which they are already consuming media.
  • They can captivate their audience both visually and audibly through full screen formats, creating more meaningful engagements.
  • Consumers can get a good sense of their brand or product and its value, which can lead to higher brand lift and recall.

As video is still a challenging format for many advertisers, we teamed up with one of our DSP partners, Jampp, to share some key tips and best practices.

Creative best practices

Each brand has a unique style and way of communicating with their users. Some use humor, others go for more aspirational messages; however, after seeing a diverse range of videos, we’ve identified a few key elements that the best creatives have in common.

1. Make sure the brand’s logo or app icon is present in the video.

Ideally, the brand logo should be on every frame, but at the very least at the beginning and end.

Some advertisers include the app logo, others the app icon; both options work equally well so the use of either will help with brand recall and recognition.

2. Make sure the aesthetics of the video are coherent with the app store landing page and contextually similar to the app itself.

The mystery factor has worked for some brands, but as a general rule, people will click, install, and buy if they understand and like what they’re getting. If the ad looks different from the rest of the user experience it generates uncertainty, which can lead to distrust.


3. Videos should make sense without sound.

85% of Facebook videos consumed on mobile phones are with sound off, so it’s important for ads to make sense without audio. This doesn’t imply that advertisers should refrain from including audio; however, it suggests that the storyline of the video ad content should not have sound as a prerequisite in order to be understandable.

While many marketers argue an ad’s audio often drives the narrative or emotional emphasis, the truth is that making the audio optional ensures a less intrusive experience for users. A good way around this is to use captions. Captions allow for slightly more complex soundless content. According to Animoto, 39% of consumers are more likely to finish an ad with subtitles vs without subtitles.

4. In general, avoid dark backgrounds and/or dark night scenes.

Not afraid of the dark, but cautious of poor visibility. Many users adjust screen brightness settings to save battery, and more likely than not, they’re not going to adjust the settings just to view the ad.

5. Provide a clear, customized call to action.

The call to action (CTA) is a must-have element, and needs to be specific to the desired action. Replace the standard “Learn More” call to action with a customized one to maximize conversions, such as “Install the App Now” for user acquisition campaign or “Book the next flight now” for a re-engagement campaign based on the target audience.

Using a clear CTA and testing different CTA versions up to 15 characters in length can improve the click through rates by over 20% as per MoPub’s internal data.

6. User acquisition vs retargeting — “above all, be relevant”.

Keep in mind who the target audience is and adjust the message accordingly. In user acquisition campaigns, users do not yet have the app installed. They may or may not be familiar with the brand, but they haven’t seen it in action. Use video ads to show how the app works and in what situation it could be useful for the user. Focus on one capability or feature, and display its ease of use. The aim is to get users to install the app.


For retargeting campaigns, users already have your app. Here the aim is to get users to come back, and make the next purchase. Use video ads to show new or additional features.

Once the content is taken care of, machine learning and predictive technology can enable targeting and timing optimization—in other words, showing the ads in contextually relevant in-app moments.

7. Successful videos engage users during the first 3–4 seconds.

This is accomplished by:

  • Showing the app or product in use.

  • Telling a story. Better still, telling a relatable story.

  • “Keeping it simple” — the video story is easy to follow.

Below we’ve included a couple of examples we think work really well and cover the above mentioned best practices.

Example 1: Deliveroo

Deliveroo is a food delivery app that helps users order meals and drinks from their favorite restaurants in several countries across Asia and Europe. This 10 second video demonstrates that 10 seconds are plenty of time to show the app in use.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Why it works:

  • It’s adapted for its short duration and is simple and easy to understand.

  • The logo is present throughout the video, so even though the video is brief, the brand is easy to recall.

  • It makes sense without sound, using a clear caption to emphasize the key value of the app (“Get the food you love, delivered”).

Shorter videos can be a challenge, but as this Deliveroo ad shows, they can be just as effective as longer videos in communicating a product’s value. Testing different video lengths allows advertisers to unlock access to a wider audience of potential customers.


Example 2: Airy

Airy is an Indonesian travel app that helps users find and book hotels and domestic flights at the best prices. Their video clearly shows a customer using the app to find accommodation.

Your browser does not support the video tag.


Why it works:

  • Includes the app logo in different frames of the video and, of course, in the last few frames.

  • Airy's brand is also manifested in the colors used throughout the video (captions, clothing, even the hotel room's decoration).

  • Includes subtitles so users can understand the video without sound. Bonus points for adding a shadow behind the subtitles to make them more visible.


Example 3: Takeaway

Takeaway is a European food delivery app which helps users choose dishes from a wide selection of cuisines and get the meal delivered. The app is available in different languages, and they create specific ads for each region. This 15-second ad for the Netherlands shows all our tips in action.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Why it works:

  • App logo is present throughout the video.

  • Subtitles ensure users can follow the storyline without sound.

  • Shots of in-app screens show the app’s ease of use.

  • Bonus points for being specially created for the current winter season, highlighting the app’s relevance at a given time.

This is an all around good example of an ad customized specifically for mobile. Vertical video has reportedly become more and more popular as users can comfortably view it without having to rotate their phones, so it makes sense to have both horizontal and vertical variations.

Even though the last two videos are not in English, it’s easy to understand what the app is for.

Technical Best Practices

By following creative best practices, your video ads are half-way to success — but don’t miss the technicalities. From recommended file sizes to tips for effective End Cards, you'll find all the technical best practices your video ads should comply with here.

Wrapping Up

We hope this post was helpful. If you have any questions about running mobile video ads for your campaigns, get in touch!

Want these creative best practices as a PDF? Available here.


©2017 MoPub, Inc.
TWITTER, MOPUB and the Bird logo are trademarks of Twitter, Inc. or its affiliates. All third party logos and trademarks included are the property of their respective owners.

Contact us

Contact us

Ready to maximize your mobile revenue?

Girl with phone