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How automakers marry display and video ads for mobile potency

Automakers lead the pack when it comes to tapping mobile video for brand building by simultaneously incorporating display ads that drive lower-funnel actions such as lead generation.

With more consumers buying cars at younger ages with smaller price points, automakers have been quick to jump onto mobile to target consumers with a medium that marketers in this vertical are well-versed in ? video ? to stay relevant with consumers who are now relying on smartphones and tablets as main devices for watching full-length video. This quick adoption of mobile video means that automakers are increasingly moving beyond cutting down a 30-second TV spot for a 15-second mobile ad.

?We?ve seen many use a combination of mobile display to drive lower-funnel activities and mobile video to drive awareness and engagement, which ultimately increase brand health metrics,? said Tim Ware, vice president of mobile and connected TV sales at Tremor Video, New York.

?The automotive category has arguably driven the television marketplace, and subsequently has embraced the one-to-one nature of video to fully capitalize on growing consumption,? he said.

Driving mobile awareness
Instead of solely repurposing TV ads, automakers are increasingly leveraging mobile for distributing pieces of video content that are different lengths. 

Additionally, brands are increasingly looking to layer in additional information and content on top of the video component.

For example, automakers are more interested in overlaying tap-to-map or interactive video galleries on top of video ads.

In particular, the tap-to-map feature makes particular sense on mobile when consumers are looking for instant information and help.

Automakers can also leverage larger video formats on tablets that take over the screen to pinpoint one specific feature, such as a sunroof. 

?The key is to remember to design for the medium,? Mr. Ware said.

?Don?t overload the unit with too much info,? he said. ?Focus on a few key points and remember to use native device functions to your advantage.?

Targeting specific groups
While the primary goal of these mobile videos is to increase awareness, automakers are also using mobile display to also capture more low-funnel goals including lead collection and getting consumers into dealerships through interactive ad units.

In fact, a study released by DG Mediamind at the end of last year found that automakers average some of the highest interaction rates, which measures the number of interactions and time that consumers spend within a mobile ad (see story). 

At the same time, Apple is upping its focus on mobile video and is reportedly rolling out full-screen video ads to its iAd ad network, which will open new interstitual ad units for marketers.

?Mobile video offers opportunities that traditional broadcast television could not, and this is huge for the auto industry,? said Iva Campisano, vice president of sales at Rhythm New Media, Mountain View, CA.

?For example, using retargeting technology, auto brands can offer different messages to consumers as they move down the purchase funnel,? she said. ?Someone who's already interested in buying a Ford will be receptive to completely different messaging than someone who isn't in the market for a car at all.?

This type of targeting is particularly well-suited for automotive brands that need to align different vehicle models to specific groups of consumers. 

For example, an auto brand may want to run a campaign on a specific site or app that targets men to promote a truck while the same brand wants to buy a different piece of inventory to push a sedan car to women.

Additionally, automakers' advertising lends itself to storytelling that is well-suited for mobile.

?I think auto video ads translate well to mobile video,? said Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the IAB, New York. 

?When you think about CPG and some of the more complex products in ads that tell a story ? that can be hard to translate to mobile,? he said.

?But an auto ad in that kind of video tends to work well on a small screen because of how automakers tell their stories, and therefore I think consumers are willing to watch auto video ads.?

Is short always better?
There is a school of thought in mobile that shorter is always better when it comes to video.

However, for an automobile brand that already has significant amounts of video, marketers in the vertical can likely get away with a bit more than other verticals, according to Matt Rosenberg, senior vice president of marketing at 140 Proof, San Francisco.

?I would say that while the best practice is the shorter the better ? witness Vine ? people will stick with content that they?re engaged with,? Mr. Rosenberg said. ?If the content is good, go longer.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York