When consumers today need or want something, they reflexively reach for their phones. They want the right answer, right away. Is there room for brands in these moments? Our latest research says yes. Mobile viewers are in fact more likely to watch, share, and feel connected to ads and branded video.

In the mobile age, instead of a few "moments of truth" or a Zero Moment of Truth, consumers experience countless micro-moments throughout the day while exploring interests, solving problems, searching for products, and making decisions. These micro-moments are the new battleground for hearts, minds, and wallets.

Increasingly, we're seeing that these moments happen while people are watching video on their mobile devices. When it comes to digital video viewership, mobile's small but mighty screen is having a profound impact. In fact, 50% of global viewership on YouTube comes from mobile devices. And as we reported back in October, millennials are 2X more likely to be focused while watching video on mobile than while viewing it on TV. To them, mobile isn't the second or third screen. It's the first.

In our latest research with Ipsos MediaCT, we wanted to see how this enthusiasm for mobile video translates to brands. We surveyed U.S. consumers who watch videos on various devices and the results were striking. We found that smartphone video viewers are significantly more likely to watch, share, and feel personally connected to ads and branded video content than their counterparts watching on desktop or television are.

Here, we share the insights we uncovered about how smartphone viewers experience video advertising and branded video content:

Smartphone users are more likely to watch and share ads and content from brands.

Our research suggests that people who view videos on their phones are 1.4X as likely to watch ads as those who view videos on desktop computers or televisions. And smartphone viewers aren't just more inclined to watch ads; they're also more inclined to share them. Those who see ads or branded content on their smartphones are 1.8X as likely to share it as their desktop counterparts. That compulsion to share extends offline, too. Smartphone viewers are 1.6X as likely as TV viewers to turn to their peers in person and talk about the video content they're watching.

Get deeper personal connection on mobile, but give consumers a choice.

Our research found that in addition to being more likely to watch and share ads and content from brands, smartphone video viewers were nearly 2X as likely as TV viewers to feel a sense of personal connection to brands that show video content or ads on their devices and 1.3X as likely as desktop viewers. That's intuitive when you think about the nature of watching video on your smartphone; it's a more intimate and personal experience than watching on desktop or TV. It seems natural that mobile video would be the place for brands to build personal connections.

That said, brands need to be sensitive to the personal experience people have on their smartphones. One way to respect mobile users is to give them a choice in the ads they consume. In fact, more than three out of four smartphone viewers surveyed in our research said having the choice to skip an ad is important to them.

And choice isn't just better for mobile consumers; it's better for the brands trying to reach them, too. Rosetta Stone, for example, ran TrueView ads to test different video thumbnails and see which grabbed the attention of mobile users. The version of its ad that more people chose to watch was then promoted further with YouTube Masthead ads on mobile. Its two-pronged mobile approach yielded a 51% increase in its YouTube channel subscribers, in addition to a 10X increase in mobile traffic to the brand site.

Micro-moments are those moments in which we reflexively turn to a device to act on a need. Often, that need relates to a product or service. And increasingly, mobile video is playing a role in meeting that need. More than 50% of the smartphone video viewers we surveyed said they used video to help them make product decisions in stores or on company websites, and they listed YouTube as their #1 destination for finding information about a brand or product. In fact, mobile phones might even be the new in-store shopping assistant: one in three shoppers actually prefers to use a smartphone to find additional information rather than ask a store employee for help, according to our mobile in-store research study.

The brands that win in these moments are using video to solve for user needs. Our recent research shows that smartphone video viewers are 1.2X as likely as desktop viewers to think more highly of companies that offer videos about their products and services. Unboxing or how-to videos may not be as sexy as creative advertising, but they're essential to any mobile marketing strategy. They help consumers quickly predict the experience of ownership.

Just like with the introduction of the internet before it, mobile has had a major impact on consumer behavior. Consumers are reaching for their phones to look for answers and—increasingly—to watch video. The good news is that brands have a place in this mobile world. Mobile viewers are more likely than desktop or TV viewers to watch, share, and feel personally connected to ads, and they're seeking out branded content to help them make quick decisions. Brands can win these micro-moments when they meet consumers' needs while respecting their expectations for relevance and choice.