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What the changing look of mobile video means for marketing

Sharon Goldman | March 10, 2016
It’s no longer a fad. In fact, video on mobile devices is now de rigeur for consumers and brands alike – and marketers are scrambling to catch up.

The new look of mobile video creative 

To succeed long-term in mobile video, experts say marketers have to put a more concerted effort into the creative side to meet the rising expectations of consumers – who have quickly gotten used to good-looking, quick-hit videos on their larger-screen phones and tablets. 

Some of the biggest changes in the look of today’s successful mobile videos are: 

Mobile videos are shorter

A traditional 30- or 60-second TV ad may not work on mobile, says Goel. “The attention span on a mobile device is shorter,” he explains, pointing out that in some cases, existing content can be cut into bite-sized experiences. But in the best cases, mobile-only short-form video ads are created in the punchy, tight way that works – in some cases just 6-10 seconds long. 

Mobile videos need to be formatted for vertical viewing

Experts say videos on mobile need to shift from horizontal – the traditional widescreen shape for television and YouTube – to vertical, in order to meets the needs of consumers used to holding their smartphones “tall” in their palms. In addition, apps such as Snapchat have made it clear that vertical videos perform better than horizontal ones. 

Mobile videos need to engage without sound

Many consumers keep their devices on mute during the day, while apps such as Facebook autoplay videos in the Newsfeed without sound. “Unless you have very visual creative, you’re simply not going to engage with customers who don’t have the sound on their phone turned up,” says Baer. 

In-app mobile videos offer new interactive opportunities

As marketers struggle for proper mobile video measurement, in-app mobile videos – as opposed to videos running on the mobile web – offer a way to keep track of the entire consumer journey in a way that hasn’t been possible previously, says Baer. For example, he explains, Vungle uses creative optimization technology, working with advertisers to modify creative based on user segments. “We’ll use red call-to-action buttons if we’re promoting ads in China because red is a lucky color there, or we’ll move the ad because some languages read text from right to left,” says Baer. In addition, interactive “end-cards” allow users to click on a variety of calls-to-action – so different viewers end up having different experiences. 

Continued complexity in the mobile video space – and a wild-card issue

The bar has clearly been raised in the mobile video space – experts maintain there will still be plenty of experimentation as the landscape evolves and marketers keen to engage with consumers work to develop a strategy that works. 

“Content creators are still trying to figure out which walled gardens they want to invest in,” says Goel. “There will be continued complexity in the space and advertisers and publishers will continue to rely on technology companies to hash out the technical complexity behind the scenes.” 

 

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