October 23, 2010
How To

Mobile Video Marketing: 4 Tactics to Get Started

SUMMARY: When it comes to mobile marketing, it's easy to feel left out. Some of the flashiest tactics seem to work only on smartphones. If a large portion of your audience does not own a smartphone, then you probably cannot justify an investment.

But you're not entirely out of luck. Mobile videos can reach feature phone users, as well as smartphone users. Read on to see four mobile video tactics every marketer should consider.
by Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter

Reaching mobile users with a compelling experience does not require building a sophisticated app, or even targeting smartphones. Mobile video, for example, is available on many feature phones, says James Citron, CEO, Mogreet, a mobile video marketing platform.

"We're seeing gigantic video adoption from feature phone users," Citron says.

While smartphones are at the cutting edge of mobile technology, many feature phones offer Web browsing and email.

Feature phones users were 79% of the U.S. mobile market in the fourth quarter of 2009, and smartphones were 21%, according to Nielsen. Smartphones are steadily gaining ground, and Nielsen expects more smartphone users in the U.S. than feature phone users by the end of 2011.

The same trend is happening in Europe, where 26.4% of mobile subscribers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain use a smartphone.

Citron sees a growing number of marketers using mobile video, everyone from movie studios promoting films to pharmaceutical companies reaching doctors.

If you're thinking of experimenting in this emerging channel, check out the four tactics Citron highlights below to help get you started.

Tactic #1. Choose the right delivery

Videos are viewable on mobile phones in the following three ways, Citron says. Choose the right delivery method to meet your team's needs and your audience's preferences.

- Multimedia Messaging (MMS)

MMS is similar to SMS (text message) technology, but can also send content such as images, video and audio files. Using the standard, a team can send video directly to a person's phone to be opened and viewed at will.

Marketing teams usually take advantage of MMS by working with service providers that specialize in bulk messaging. Citron sees a lot of potential in MMS video delivery since consumers have so widely adopted text messaging. Also, MMS is an affordable option for users, Citron says.

"MMS as a delivery mechanism costs the exact same thing as a standard text message. There are no incremental costs for consumers."

- Stream from a website

Another option is to send users to a website that offers streaming video. The video must be formatted to work in a mobile browser. It can be set up to automatically play upon arrival, or it can be clicked to play.

This option can be valuable for marketers who want to indirectly increase website traffic by driving traffic to the videos.

- Direct Stream

Citron has seen news organizations and other companies stream video directly to users' phones. Users simply click a link in an SMS message or email and the video appears on-screen. The video is not hosted on a webpage.

This method can be used to attract attention to channels other than websites, such as television programs or brick-and-mortar locations.

Tactic #2. Format for your audience's devices

The trouble with mobile video is that there are very few industry standards. This presents a challenge to marketers who have audiences with a wide array of devices. Videos have to be offered in formats that account for the needs of:
o A growing list of devices
o Operating systems, which are consistently updated
o Carrier requirements

Failing to properly format a video can drastically reduce its potential audience. Some video providers, such as YouTube, automatically format videos for major smartphones such as the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, but do not specifically format videos for less capable feature phones.

Your marketing team should understand which devices your audience uses. This information should be available in your website analytics by looking at your visitors' browser-type. This will indicate the formats for which you should optimize mobile videos. You can also check the common mobile operating systems in your target country (see useful links below).

"You can't expect consumers to have an app preloaded on their phones," Citron says.

Tactic #3. Study successful strategies

Marketing with mobile video is in its infancy, but Citron is seeing marketers uncover winning strategies. Here are two he highlights:

- Persuading doctors

Citron's team works with pharmaceutical companies to improve their marketing to doctors. Collectively, the companies have thousands of sales reps across the country who visit doctor's offices.

Instead of leaving voicemails or printed materials, sales reps have had success with sending doctors mobile videos, Citron says, such as a one-minute video of the surgeon general discussing the benefits of the drug.

"That's a very powerful use case," Citron says.

- Driving foot traffic

Citron's team has also helped a Santa Monica hotel drive more traffic to its Sunday brunches by sending coupons with mobile videos of the hotel's food and ocean view. The promotions' coupons have captured redemption rates as high as 30% among the team's mobile subscribers, Citron says.

Tactic #4. Avoid repurposed content

Consumers are not interested in seeing television ads rehashed on mobile websites, Citron says. Instead, marketers should leverage the unique capabilities of mobile devices, such as their nearly constant availability.

For example, Citron mentions the pharmaceutical companies' marketing to doctors, as described above. By sending quality videos to tech-savvy professionals, a marketing team is able to reach an audience with a multimedia message even if the doctor is out of the office at lunch.

If you need to be economical in your video production, Citron suggests using left-over content instead of repurposing content. For example, if there are three or four minutes of valuable or humorous footage left over from your television commercial's production, perhaps it can be edited into a short mobile video.

Useful links related to this article

Members Library: Page Tests Cut Mobile Bounces 22%: 3 Steps to Improve Experience for Mobile Visitors

Members Library: Get Started in Mobile Marketing: 4 Insights to Guide Your Strategy

Members Library: Mobile Website Advices from Taco Bell: 5 Considerations to Reach More Mobile Devices

Nielsen: Smartphones to Overtake Feature Phones in U.S. by 2011

comScore: U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share

comScore: European Smartphone Market Share

YouTube Mobile


Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions