Facebook video ads to crunch mobile monthly data allowances
| 24 May 2014
Facebook auto-play video ads may or may not be irritating: what they could likely do is contribute to bill shock for mobile video users, says the latest Citrix Mobile Analytics Report.

The survey says that the ads will eat data and may become unpopular, unless they are brought to subscribers through a sponsored data plan.

In general the survey found that just 5% of subscribers are currently being served video ads and that mobile ads currently generate less than 2% of a subscriber’s daily mobile data volume. Furthermore, mobile advertisements now reach an audience almost double that reached in 2013, now served to half of smartphone subscribers.

Even though the survey found that just a fifth of users watched video on their mobile devices, the same percentage as those watching mobile video in 2013, Citrix projects dramatic growth in 2014 for number of subscribers touched by video ads and the data volume attributable to video ads. Such growth will be driven, in part, by such dynamics as auto-play for video ads.

A complementary Citrix consumer survey found that on average nearly three-fifths (58%) of subscribers with monthly quotas exceeded it. The worst offenders were Millennials (68%) followed by Baby Boomers (44%). Looking as to how they went past their limits, 59% did so browsing the internet, 48% from watching video. Two-thirds of those who watch at least one mobile video per month, and have a monthly data limit, have exceeded their quota; by contrast just over a third (36%) of those who said they watched less than one mobile video per month, and have a monthly data limit, have exceeded their quota. A further 59% of users thought that mobile ads did not count towards their monthly data quota.

Looking to solutions, Citrix suggested that mobile video subscribers are good targets for sponsored data plans. Indeed 78% of those who have a monthly data limit and watch at least one mobile video a month, are more likely to engage in one of the five sponsored data options, compared with just 38% of those who watch less than one mobile video per month.

“Facebook introducing auto-playing video ads is a move that is sure to increase the contribution of mobile ads to a subscriber’s overall data usage,” commented Chris Koopmans, VP & GM, service provider platforms at Citrix. “Given the fact that 59% of consumers believe that ads do not count towards their quota, operators and publishers such as Facebook will eventually need to reconcile an emerging conflict, opening the door to more numerous and sophisticated sponsored data plans.”