Vevo’s ‘Post-Roll’ Mobile Strategy

mobilerocksPre-roll may still be the primary ad unit on offer at Vevo, but the music video platform has an ear out for the sweet sound of mobile ad dollars. And with the launch of a new feed-based app for Android, it’s a strategy that makes sense, especially considering the consumption habits of its predominantly millennial user base.

At the beginning of the year, Vevo was garnering about six billion video views a month. Today, the company’s CRO Jonathan Carson said that number has grown to nearly seven billion — and, as expected, much of that activity is happening on mobile devices. Three years ago almost 90% of Vevo video views took place on a PC. Between then and now, PC views have dropped to 45%, with mobile taking the triumphant lead at roughly 60%.

“We have a large number of PC users, but they’re relatively light users, and that’s because PC is driven by search and social embeds,” Carson said. “People are clicking through, watching one video, and moving on to another activity, whereas mobile and connected TV users are dramatically more engaged both with videos watched per month and per session.”

Carson said the aim of the new app experience, which surfaces content in a feed-based manner along the lines of Facebook or Twitter, is to put more “fuel on that fire.” Pre-roll may be the rock star of PC-based video views, but it’s less enticing if a viewer is binge watching on a mobile device or via a connected TV app. Mobile users spend about 39 minutes a month consuming content, while connected TV app user spend roughly 173 minutes.

“The pre-roll model works well when people watch one or two videos,” Carson said. “But we’re seeing our user base migrating to longer sessions and all of a sudden we have the opportunity to experiment with mid-stream advertising, for example.”

Despite mobile’s ascendancy, Carson said mobile traffic isn’t cannibalizing PC traffic. For the first year after Vevo initially launched its iOS app there was a slight dip in the PC audience, but it’s leveled out since then, and that most likely has to do with customer behavior. Just because a user likes to watch multiple videos in bed on his or her phone doesn’t mean that person isn’t also going to search for videos on a PC at some later point.

As for media buys, the vast majority of Vevo’s approximately 900 advertisers run cross-screen campaigns, but Carson admitted that there is more work to be done.

“Campaigns are managed in a seamless way across screens, but not all the technology involved in measurement and targeting is quite that seamless,” he said. “There’s a little duct tape involved behind the scenes and everybody in the industry is still trying to catch up to the consumer.”

When AdExchanger spoke with Carson back in January he noted that Vevo’s programmatic direct efforts were still at the “experimental stage.” But since then, he said it’s made some good headway.

“We’re seeing a healthy number of our advertisers getting more serious about using these automated approached to transact business with premium publishers,” Carson said. “We’re still in the test phases of those relationships, but we believe the trend is very real and it’s going to benefit buyers and sellers alike.”

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