The Challenge of Mobile Video
It should come as no surprise that smartphone and tablet usage has skyrocketed and is continuing to do so. The number of mobile-connected devices exceeded the world’s population in 2014, Cisco says, and the average amount of time Americans spend using mobile devices has surpassed the amount of time they spend watching television, according to Fortune.
With the explosion of mobile use, the video production and advertising industries have begun to recognize the significance of video content catered to this growing audience. Over 50% of YouTube’s consumption is on mobile according to the site’s statistics, and Advertising Age reporter Michael Sebastian stated at this year’s VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit that last year people spent more time watching video on mobile than on desktop. It is up to advertisers to catch up to this trend, and according to Google’s Director of Brand Activation Michelle Bandler they’re starting to do so. She explained that the biggest advertisers in the world are beginning to allocate the most spending to digital, with dollars shifting 5-20% from TV to digital ad spending, although the percentage of that shift varies by company.
Although TV advertising is not dead, digital is becoming particularly important among younger consumers. For example Frank Amorese, Heineken’s media director, recognizes that although Heineken is still benefitting from television ads, the company can better reach 21-34 year-olds through mobile and social marketing. However, he adds that moving TV ads directly to mobile is not the right way to make this shift; the marketplace is far more complex for online video than for television, he says, and brands need to deliver the right message to the mobile viewer.
During the conference, speakers expounded upon the importance and challenge of tailoring video advertisements to the mobile platform. Mike Berkley, head of product at Viacom, mentioned how historically in the media world the platform has determined the content format, and according to Rachel Pasqua, head of mobility at MEC North America, marketers should design content specifically for mobile instead of making one-size-fits-all videos. The speakers brought up that one of the main issues with designing for mobile is that we need to find a way to shoot vertical video for mobile devices in order to make them more easily viewable, and that video framing and composition do not always translate well on the small screen.
Thus with the rise of mobile and its corresponding growing importance to the advertising community, video production professionals need to start thinking about what their content will look like on a mobile device.
Zoe Epstein is a marketing and communications intern at Green Buzz Agency. She develops and executes social media strategy and reports on industry trends.