Video Marketing

How to Make Video for Mobile

Emma Gallimore 01.08.2019

If your business wants to succeed, you need to shape your 2019 marketing plans around these two key truths:

  1. Shoppers love video
  2. Internet users love mobile

What does that mean to you? It means that if you intend to sell your products or services to people on the internet, you had better learn to make video for mobile that works well.

Why video? Why mobile?

According to hubspot, 72% of people would rather watch a video than read the same information. That may be part of why the average person watches more than 1.5 hours of online video per day. People are watching video for more than entertainment. They’re using it to learn new concepts and familiarize themselves with new products.

That covers consumers, but what about B2B marketing? Are B2B buyers also watching videos? According to Google, yes. As early as 2015 about 70% of B2B buyers and researchers watched video to learn about a product or service. It’s safe to assume that number has grown in recent years as more digital natives take on the B2B buying role.

Once you know that video is important whether you’re selling directly to consumers or to other businesses, the next question is: how are users consuming your videos? Are they sitting in front of their televisions and catching your TV spot between the cliffhanger and conclusion of their favorite show? Are they sitting in front of the computer doing deep research to choose between your service and your competitors?

Probably not. They’re most likely to be sitting on their couch at home watching YouTube or scrolling through social media on a phone or tablet. In fact, YouTube reaches more adults during prime time on mobile in an average week than any cable network does. And 75% of adults watch YouTube at home on their mobile devices. Interestingly, YouTube mobile users say they are twice as likely to pay close attention while watching YouTube over watching television.

man watches video on cell phone while using headphones

“We used to think about mobile as a channel and we realize that’s not sufficient because marketing really is mobile today,” says Eric Reynolds, CMO of The Clorox Company in a Think With Google interview.

In early 2018, a report by eMarketer predicted that more than 78% of digital video viewers would watch video on their mobile phones in 2018. Those numbers seem to have held up. More than 70% of YouTube watch time happened on mobile devices.

Making video work for mobile

With all this talk about how mobile is revolutionizing the video space, mobile video might start to sound like a huge undertaking. Before we get too overwhelmed, let’s cut through this tangle. Here’s what you absolutely must do to make mobile video successful:

  1. Hook them in the first five seconds.
  2. Make it audio independent.
  3. Edit ruthlessly.
  4. Choose the right format.

How to hook viewers

You could just repurpose your standard TV commercial and put it online as a video, but it’s likely not going to convert as well as one specifically designed for mobile. One small change is all you need. Just make sure that you have a strong hook in the first few seconds of your video.

A hook is an open question in the viewer’s mind. What’s going to happen? How are they going to solve this problem? Why is that grown woman dressed as Goldilocks?

Set the hook and viewers will be compelled to stop scrolling and watch. It’s also a good idea to make sure your product or branding appears in those first five seconds. Even if viewers don’t watch the whole thing, they’ll at least glimpse what you have to offer.

Remember that YouTube and social media aren’t the only places that mobile users view videos. They may also land on your website. When they do, they should be able to easily watch your videos.

So, to make video work for mobile you need to think about not just the video itself, but how it’s being delivered. Does it load quickly? Does it impact your page load times? Can mobile users watch it without flipping their phones?

Keep in mind that 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Your videos shouldn’t bog down your website. If they do, talk to your web designer. There may be an issue in your settings that’s causing the problem.

Make mobile videos audio independent

Music, voiceovers, and sound effects all add nuance and depth to your video. Unfortunately, something like 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound. That trend is spreading across social media channels. Even YouTube, who once chastised Facebook for encouraging audio independent videos, recently introduced silent autoplay of videos when users are scrolling through the home section.

If you want to make video work for mobile you need to make videos that can stand in silence. Including captions is a great first step, but you can do more than that. You can also add text into the video itself like we did in our Why IdeaRocket video below. Of course, we want you to watch it with the sound on, but even without sound the central idea is conveyed.

Viewers should be able to summarize the key point of your video even if they never unmute their phones.

Edit ruthlessly: Short formats and quick transitions

AdAge reported that in an A/B test of editing styles, faster video led to better view through rates. In this context, faster means shorter shots, more transitions, and shorter dialog. The slow version achieved a 29% view-through rate on mobile while the fast version got 35%. Compare these results to desktop viewings where the slow version had a 31% view-through rate while the fast version achieved 33%.

The length of your video matters too. The general guideline is 60-90 seconds, but as long as you stay under 2 minutes, you’re within the optimal video length. Keep your video short by staying tightly focused on a single idea. A video that can’t be cut down to less than 2 minutes is probably too complex to engage mobile viewers.

Choosing your format

Vertical video has become the norm on social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. It just fits better when a user is scrolling on a mobile phone. Only YouTube still deals in traditional horizontal video. Video purists have argued against vertical for years, because it was hard to edit and made your video look amateurish. IdeaRocket Creative Director, William Gadea, is having none of it. “Think of all the great portrait paintings,” he says. “Most of them are portrait orientation. Nowadays we think of widescreen video as ‘serious’ and cinematic, but for a long time going to see film meant viewing a squarish 1.33:1 frame. Bring on the different formats, I say!” With so many social sites embracing various aspect ratios, the change is coming whether we like it or not.

More importantly, debating which format is “best” is beside the point. The real question is, which format is best for which platform? So if your video is playing to your social media audience, make it vertical. If it’s going to be shared primarily on YouTube and your website, horizontal is still the best choice. Use the aspect ratio recommended by the social media platform to make video work for mobile.

The Bare Essentials Of Mobile Video

People are impatient. There’s an expectation that information is always at your fingertips. This creates a two-fold challenge:

  1. You must use mobile friendly formats and styles so your video can be viewed anywhere
  2. Your video must present useful or interesting information in seconds

Even while viewers have evolved shorter attention spans and are more likely to get distracted, they’re also watching more actively than ever before. On mobile, users aren’t sitting back with their hands behind their heads passively ingesting your commercial. Instead they are commenting, liking, voting, and clicking through to the next thing. Engaging with the video is part of the experience. Create a video that invites engagement and is optimized for mobile.

And don’t forget to include a compelling CTA like this one: Contact the IdeaRocket team to start making videos that work for mobile and anywhere else where your audience is watching.

 

Emma Gallimore

Emma Rose Gallimore is a content marketing expert, SEO extraordinaire, and research addict who believes life is better when it’s animated.

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