As a lifestyle habit, consumers turn to their smartphones for everything from answering simple questions, researching products and making shopping decisions, to scrolling through social media feeds to stay connected. For this reason, brands have the opportunity to engage with consumers at timely moments via their most personal devices.
User behavior has evolved as consumers become more and more comfortable doing everything on their phones. As such, people are always connected, and therefore consuming massive amounts of content, sometimes on multiple screens at once. Consistently, video has proven to capture attention effectively and drive real results. Fifty-five percent of people watch an online video every single day. Therefore, if retailers are looking to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive environment, it's essential for them to develop video content that's tailor-made for their target audiences, authentic, and can be consumed across devices.
Mobile is Integral to Shopping, and Video Captures Attention
Smartphones will be used in more than one-third of total U.S. retail sales at some point in the buying process, whether through research, price comparison or for the final purchase, according to Forrester. Consumers are now accustomed to having all of the information they need about a brand or product at their fingertips, including reviews by YouTubers, unboxing videos and product showcases. Shoppers are using their devices for webrooming, as well as in-store product research while standing at the shelf to make a decision.
Video has proven to inform buying decisions and, frankly, that should come as no surprise. Video brings together two things that capture consumers’ attention like nothing else: movement and sound. As a result, videos convey efficient messages while vividly capturing brand personalities.
Why Brands Should Create Mobile-First Content
Facebook, in particular, has placed an emphasis on brands creating "mobile-first" content as it pertains to creating both native content and paid placements for Facebook and Instagram. Facebook completed internal research and concluded short and vertical videos convert because consumers move through content rapidly, determining their immediate interest before moving on without a second thought. We’ve seen this trend in the emergence of short-form video platforms like Vine, TikTok, Snapchat’s 10-second video, and Instagram’s 15-second video.
That being said, newer research indicates that users are becoming content fatigued, and the pendulum is starting to swing back toward longer-form video consumption. Longer-form content like Twitch streaming and YouTube are still significant, and even Facebook is placing a greater emphasis on this trend with Facebook Live and IGTV.
How to Create Mobile-First Video Content
- Vary video format and length. As attention spans decreased over time, brands responded with shorter videos. However, as video has become more commonplace, consumers are proving to be interested in longer-form video and seeking to get more than instant gratification from branded content. Changing up video styles and including short and long versions in the mix is more likely to engage viewers throughout the buyer journey, prompting recall of the brand or product or even enticing a sale in the moment.
- Include vertical video. By editing videos to be vertical, rather than creating only horizontal or square formats, advertisers can take up more real estate on the mobile screen and keep users captivated. Seventy-nine percent of vertical video consumers would choose the vertical format in most cases because it's more engaging. Furthermore, seven out of 10 tests showed vertical ads drove an increase in brand lift, according to research from Facebook.
- Make static images into video. Brands don’t have to invest thousands of dollars creating net-new videos. It’s simpler and more economical to take static images and convert them to videos than it is to create videos from scratch. By simply incorporating light motion or movement to the first three seconds of photography showcasing basic brand elements and/or text that communicates product benefits, brands can capture consumer attention.
Why Brands Should Remember to Test
Regardless of the amount of time and financial resources a retailer invests in initial video creation, it's incredibly important to test content and make changes on the fly. Simple digital tools allow retailers to quickly adjust elements that have a real impact on performance, including various colors, different call-to-action buttons, or video length. Additionally, testing various types of messaging in videos is crucial since content will resonate with users differently based on where they are in their buying journey. Elements like humor, heartfelt stories, educational content and trending topics should be strategically planned around the audiences a brand is aiming to reach.
Mobile Creative That Converts
As consumer behavior continues to change in the age of video, the best strategy involves testing all video lengths to see what works for a brand and audience with a mobile-first perspective. Today, consumers are turning to their mobile devices frequently to engage with branded content. With mobile as the new normal, social networks like Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube are making it easier than ever before for brands to stay relevant with a variety of video tools and format options. By creating mobile videos that are varied, include vertical orientation and take advantage of light motion, advertisers can be sure they're putting forth mobile-first content that's ready to convert.
Laura Russell is the director of strategy at Adlucent, a leading digital marketing agency focused on helping brands grow profitability through cross-channel solutions.
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