The Future of Mobile Video

By Tim Welsh (@Twel5)

As ADMERICA! rapidly approaches, I have the privilege of covering the mobile advertising forum. As I look towards the future of the mobile landscape, one thing is certain; mobile video isn’t going anywhere. The question remains, “Which mobile application will become THE choice for this medium?” Many have had their moment in the sun. Right now, it appears that Vine is poised to emerge as the champion. If that’s the future, why and can it be challenged?

If Vine is to emerge as the champion, it won’t be because other platforms lacked celebrities or influencers on their networks. Some of the major and minor players alike have an abundance of celebrity accounts. Keek has tried to coral the MTV audience and has even become the best platform to keep up with the Kardashians. Viddy has Bieber. Tout, a smaller player, even has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Vine is acquiring celebrities now but was far from the first ones to do so.

The fact is that consumers don’t seem to follow celebrities as much as we like to think. As much as we love Bieber (not it) or The Rock (guilty), we won’t follow them onto a new platform. I would also argue that consumers don’t seek out the application with the most features. They follow simplicity and user experience. When you think about how Vine’s rise is similar to Instagram, you find one thing in common; an easy to adopt user experience. Viddy, the king of mobile video for most of 2012, has far more features than Vine or any of the other main competitors. Cinemagram, another large contender, had an update earlier this year that basically took Vine’s ability to put multiple segments together and added it to its own abilities. Still, Vine’s simple experience has kept it trending in the right direction while the other two services have dropped off since the latter portion of 2012.

As far as advertising and monetization platforms, each of the main applications/networks has a fairly similar mobile layout. However, Viddy shows the most opportunity for brands and advertising as it has a desktop presence and pushes notifications on its mobile application. This creates more opportunities for variable ad units. Cinemagram is only on mobile devices but does have an application on both Google Play and the App Store. Vine has yet to release an Android application, negating over 50% of the market. While Viddy seems to be better set up for brands and advertising, the fact is that advertising dollars are going to follow consumers. Instagram didn’t have the most opportunity for advertising, considering it doesn’t have any, but it is where consumers went and so brands followed. Now, Instagram is considered a solid investment of time and energy for brands with a strong social media campaign. Who is to say that Vine couldn’t become the same sort of opporuntiy given the way that it is trending right now?

As I look to the future and look towards the mobile forum at the ADMERICA! conference, I can’t help but wonder what’s next for mobile video applications. It might be interesting to see what might happen if Facebook were to put its own clout behind a mobile application like Twitter did for Vine. They do have the Instagram team at their disposal, a team that could really give insight to a Vine competitor on how to streamline their user experience. If Facebook were to really put those resources behind a service like Viddy or Cinemagram, this competition could heat up very quickly.

Follow Tim on Twitter @Twel5 as he reports on mobile and digital at ADMERICA! 2013, June 5-8 in Phoenix.

Tim Welsh is a digital branding strategist who has worked on award-winning campaigns at multiple advertising agencies in industries ranging from the non-profit medical initiatives to luxury travel. Recently, Tim founded his own digital marketing agency, Mischievous Advertising. When he’s not working on digital branding campaigns, Tim is usually outside playing whatever sport is in season, running around with his two pet boxers or restoring his 1968 Camaro.

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