Mobile Marketing

Nielsen: Mobile Video Usage Over-Inflated in U.S.

Nielsen has revised its method for evaluating time spent on mobile video in the U.S.  This change in methodology has resulted in a huge drop in reported time spent watching mobile video. Last year’s data from Nielsen had users in the U.S. spending 5 hours and 23 minutes per month watching video on their mobile devices.  Until recently, Nielsen used a diary based methodology to collect this data, asking consumers  how much time they spent watching online video.  Upon upgrading to a metered system last year to measure mobile video behaviour, the numbers dropped dramatically to a much lower 1 hour and 23 minutes. This has caused some discussion about the possible over-valuation of the mobile video ad industry, as discussed in this recent article from Ad News in Australia.

The Nielsen Australian Multiscreen Report has Australian smartphone users spending around 1 hour 20 per month watching video on their smartphone and 50 minutes watching video on their tablet device.  This data was from Q4 2012 so it’s likely to be significantly higher by now.  Nielsen’s Australian usage data is collected using a similar ‘claim’ based methodology as was previously used by Nielsen in the U.S.  It remains to be seen whether Australians are better at estimating their mobile video usage than their U.S. counterparts.  According to local media expert James Hier, Nielsen’s claimed data may have been confused by respondents assuming they were watching video consistently when they were in fact switching between screens and multi-tasking, coming back to video between utilities and other mobile services.  The question is if Australians have been equally distracted or if Nielsen Australia’s  methodology might have allowed for more accurate measurement.

Time Spent on Device – Nielsen Australian Multiscreen Report Q3 2013

Nielsen Time spent on device

It may be almost a year before we have any answers.   By the end of this year, Nielsen and the IAB will have completed an electronic metered usage pilot in Australia and will be able to provide more accurate data for the local market.  The pilot will install software with the consent of 1500 smartphone and tablet users and track their actual mobile behaviour.  

Late last year we wrote about Nielsen’s mobile video usage date  in some detail and discussed the possible reasons for Australia’s low usage rates compared to the U.S.   In particular we asked if Australian content might not be keeping pace with the market opportunity.  Given Nielsen’s latest data adjustment it might be that Australian consumers are actually more or less in line with global usage patterns after all.  The good news is, this means the relationship of ad spend to mobile usage in Australia may be more realistic than elsewhere.  Mobile video advertising is seeing steady growth here, and advertisers are moving into this space as they observe their own customers embracing the technology, rather than in response to hyped media spin about the size of the opportunity.  Existing mobile video advertising models are appropriate for the local market and place advertisers in good stead for new developments and opportunities in interactive and native video advertising.

If mobile video is on your radar, you might want to review our education piece around current and future opportunities to reach smartphone customers with video content.  It’s also worth building an understanding of Australia’s burgeoning catch up TV marketplace and the growth opportunity we are seeing in reaching multi-screeners.

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