Residents of Southeast Asia are far less patient than their worldwide counterparts when it comes to video, with only 47 percent in SEA sitting still on a daily basis for a video that's less than a minute long, finds research by AOL. In the US, 59 percent are willing to watch videos of a minute or less daily, while a third of Brits are willing to watch videos of up to five minutes daily.
But regardless of geography, as videos grow longer the crowd gets smaller. In the UK, for example, videos of six to nine minutes only have 20 percent of people watching on a daily basis.
"The trend is definitely headed towards smaller and shorter," said Anita Caras, head of international research at AOL.
For brands, said Caras, it’s really about condensing your message into an elevator pitch that you get across in the first few seconds, "no matter if you have five seconds or 50".
The report is based on research that was conducted in December 2016 with 1,300 consumers and 1,614 publishers and advertisers in seven global markets including the UK, US, Canada, France, Japan, Australia and Southeast Asia.
Rise of mobile video
Globally, the study found that 57 percent of consumers watch videos on their mobile phone every day, just about on par with the 58 percent who watch videos on their laptop or desktop everyday.
In the UK, mobile video consumption has drawn level with desktop at 52 percent each. In the US, desktop remains ahead with 67 percent of users watching video on mobile daily versus 70 percent who watch on desktop.
In Southeast Asia, however, mobile video consumption has far outstripped desktop with 72 percent watching videos daily on their phones, compared with 60 percent on desktop.
Oddly enough, it is the UK that is the most mobile-dependent, with 71 percent saying they cannot live without their smartphone or always have it within arm's reach, compared with 60 percent in the US and 42 percent in Southeast Asia.
As might be expected, given these figures, mobile spend is going up. Globally, 47 percent of advertisers expect to increase mobile ad spend by at least 25 percent this year, and 57 percent of publishers expect the same.
The US is leading the charge with 70 percent of advertisers and 79 percent of publishers planning to increase mobile spend by at least a quarter this year. In the UK, those figures are 46 percent and 61 percent for advertisers and publishers respectively.
Counter-intuitively, despite the high degree of mobile adoption, Southeast Asia trails the UK and the US in terms of mobile spend, with only 58 percent of advertisers and 48 percent of publishers planning to up mobile investments by at least 25 percent this year.
Caras pointed out, however, that more Southeast Asian advertisers were planning on spending increased amounts on mobile than the global average of 47 percent. "This is an indication of a desire to increase spend, not the amount spent," she said.
This growth in mobile video spend is coming from TV, said the report, and mobile video spend is catching up to desktop video. When AOL looked at TV budgets shifting to digital video, it found that 63 percent is going to mobile video and 70 percent is going to desktop video.
Opportunities and challenges in mobile video
UK marketers are most interested in the granular audience targeting possible via mobile video (42 percent) and TV-to-mobile retargeting (37 percent).
The top impediments to a successful mobile video strategy, say UK advertisers, is the quality of consumer experience (35 percent), lack of quality content (34 percent), the lack of quality inventory available programmatically (31 percent) and ad-blocking (30 percent).
More than four in 10 marketers (43 percent) are also put off spending more on mobile video due to long load times. To address this, 40 percent are creating lighter video ads that will load faster.
"It’s important for the industry to clean up ad formats and standardise them," said Caras. "By reducing the number of ad formats and making them as light and as fast as possible, we reduce lag time. It's about striking a balance between premium content and consumer expectations.
Publishers are aware of the challenges and 52 percent are exploring possible solutions to implement this year.
It really is about guarding the customer experience, said Caras. "This study is aimed at raising the bar on quality, to ensure we’re promoting the rise of digital but in a way that aligns with the consumer."
Mobile is driving VR, 360 and Live video
Despite the UK’s virtual reality market standing relatively on par with the US, according to Forrester, consumers in the UK trail behind the rest of the world in terms of adoption. Only 9 percent expect to watch more videos in VR in the next year, compared with 31 percent in the US and 21 percent in Southeast Asia.
"When it comes to VR, it’s as much about availability and distribution as it is about interest," said Caras. "Also, it’s time to move beyond novelty and towards utility. We’re at a stage now where consumers need a reason to immerse themselves and come back for more."
For the UK specifically, Caras shared that the main reasons UK consumers stated for not watching VR is an underpowered PC (39 percent), the cost (32 percent) and the lack of relevence to them (38 percent said VR was only for people who play games.)
"If we focus solely on the 31 percent of UK consumers who are already consuming VR, the figure rises to over a quarter (26 percent) who expect to spend more time watching VR in 2017," she added. "Furthermore 27 percent of UK consumers that have never experienced VR plan to in the next 6 months. Adding these people to the original consumers that are already using VR we get to 58 percent of the UK population would be using VR in the next 6 months, so, in theory, the appetite is there for the taking."
Live video adoption too is on the rise. In the UK, 60 percent of consumers regularly watch live video on their smartphones, compared with 66 percent globally. Southeast Asia leads the way with 76 percent followed by the US with 74 percent.
When it comes to live video, an average of 65 percent of consumers watch live video on their smartphones. Southeast Asia saw the highest result, with 76 percent of consumers watching live video on their smartphones.