Watching a series or film during a long train ride. Sharing a funny video with your colleagues over lunch. We are watching more and more video content every day. And we increasingly do this on portable screens. We literally carry videos in our back pocket, watching on our tablet and smartphones. Research by Cisco proves that 78% of all mobile data traffic will come from video by 2021.
Videos on mobile devices ask for a different approach when it comes to production and distribution. Luckily, we still have some time to optimize mobile video. Here are five tips to help you get started with your mobile video strategy.
Portrait or landscape?
The traditional television screens are pretty straightforward: one screen size fits all. For mobile devices this is a different story, as viewers can watch video content in two moduses: portrait and landscape.
For a long time portrait video was off-limits, but it is getting more mainstream. The most natural way to hold your smartphone is in portrait mode. Think of the times you scroll through your timeline or feed. And apps such as Snapchat or Periscope run entirely on portrait videos. More and more organisations add these videos to their marketing mix.
Besides diversity in apps and moments of watching content, it also depends on the type of content you watch. Shorter videos and talking heads are very suitable to watch in portrait mode. However, series or longer features are filmed in landscape mode, making them more suitable to watch on horizontal screens.
To advertise or not to advertise?
The amount of viewers on mobile devices is steadily growing. Nearly every public place has a wireless connection, such as trains and cafes. However, these connections are not always reliable or fast, so some viewers still rely on their own data connection.
Video requires a lot of data. On top of that, most videos include advertisements. A study by Enders Analysis proves that advertisements take a big chunk of your data, between 18 and 79 percent. This percentage will only grow with more visual elements.
To avoid advertisements taking up so much data, YouTube stopped ‘unskippable ads’ by 2018, as they are shortened and can be skipped. This to make sure people still watch videos on mobile devices, even when they use their mobile data.
Interactive mobile video content
More and more videos contain interactive elements. Think of clickable titles, call to actions and feedback forms. This interactivity increases the level of engagement. Yet, these videos do not yet seem optimized for mobile. Some interactive videos are relatively ‘heavy’, causing longer loading times. Or the buttons are unreadable on small screens.
However, interactive video can be a mobile success. For example, YouTube said goodbye to Annotations after the 2nd of May 2017. Now, these interactive Annotations are only visible on desktops.
YouTube replaced Annotations with Cards and End Screens, which work on both desktop and mobile devices. Yet, they are receiving a lot of negative response. Instead, you could look at alternative online video platforms. It might give you the opportunity to create a video such as this one:
Find the right technical support
You should also make sure you have the best support for your video. All web browsers have given up on Adobe Flash Player, as it gave glitches in video content. This also has consequences for browsers and content that run on mobile devices.
Android and iOS do not support Flash. Flash Player is not suitable for touchscreens, as it was created for mouse clicks. Also, Flash shortens the durability of your battery and causes glitches in video.
Great alternatives that work well with touch screens and mobile devices, are Custom CSS and HTML5.
Mobile video content on mute
Scrolling through your timeline on Facebook, you might have noticed an increase in video content. This is automatically played without sound - also known as mute. It is still possible to play video with sound, but the majority of people does not bother to turn the sound on. So, let your video grab the attention and let it speak to the imagination.
Does your video really need sound? You can add subtitles to your videos. Facebook states that videos with subtitles are viewed 12% longer. So they have decided to make the subtitling of videos easier. Once you turn on the sound, the subtitles automatically disappear.
What's next for mobile video content?
As you might have noticed, it takes quite some effort to optimize your video for mobile devices. Yet, this effort is only temporary and will pay off soon. And the sooner you start, the better.
This blog was also published on Marketing Online