Smartphone Share of Video Ad Views Grows in the UK

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Hidden among the avalanche of media commentary surrounding therecent launch of the Apple Watch, you may have noticed that a couple of new phone models were also let loose into the market. Whether or not you’re a fan of the portmanteau “phablet,” the iPhone 6 Plus clearly falls into that category. Its coming entry to the UK market may add to the trend of digital video ad views shifting to the smartphone platform.

According to an August report from FreeWheel, 17% of digital video ad views in the UK (of ads served through the company’s network) were served to smartphones in Q2 2014. The significance here is less to do with the proportion of video ad views being served to mobile platforms, but rather that the smartphone share passed the tablet share (which was 15%). The proportions last quarter were the other way around, withsmartphones accounting for 13% and tablets 17%.

One thing that didn’t change was that the vast majority of digital video ad views in the UK were seen during long-form content. FreeWheel estimated that 75% of ads were served during content of this length in Q2 2014—up from 73% last quarter.

So, Q2 2014 saw more digital video ads served via long-form content to more smartphones. But why this shift to smartphones? One reason might be behind Apple’s decision to join the phablet bandwagon.

Recent research from Flurry found that phablets were taking a foothold in the worldwide device market, accounting for 10% of all smart devices the firm tracked in 2014, up from just 2% in 2013. And while active phablet users “only” doubled—up from 3% in 2013 to 6% in 2014—they represented a disproportionate share of app activity. App sessions on phablets accounted for 11% of the total in 2014, almost quadrupling from the 3% share in 2013.

Of course, all of these figures must be taken into the wider context of them being global measures. It is widely understood that the phablet market in the Far East is particularly robust, for example. However, the popularity of these devices in the UK is rising. According to TNS Global, phablets currently represent 17% of all smartphones in the UK. TNS also posited that an increased desire for smartphone video viewing might be behind this rise. The FreeWheel data certainly points toward that being the case, and Apple’s decision to get in on the phablet act adds further fuel to that particular fire.

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