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5 Ways Mobile Video Rocks the Catwalk

Mobile video is changing the game in content marketing and creating opportunity to grow your brand. See 5 ways to rock the movie video catwalk.

girl with mobile

Mobile video takes center stage and if your brands isn’t strutting the mobile video catwalk, then you are making a major content marketing fashion blunder. The red carpet of video content marketing is brutal. Falling flat will let your competitors fly past you.

In fact, publishers are already using technologies like machine learning to up their video marketing game. Mobile video, interactive video, and e-commerce integration are all geared to maximize the consumer streaming experience. Video content is no longer static and linear. We’re seeing new mobile video technologies like Meerkat live streams exploding at SxSW, Periscope,Twitter, and the big video push by Facebook at F8, all focusing on innovating with video.

The rush to create great visual, full motion stories is making 2015 an exciting time and an open opportunity for those embracing a full motion world.

AnchroFree mobile video with machine learning built in. Photo/ Screen shot 03/25/2015 www.anchorfree.comAnchroFree mobile video with machine learning built-in. Screenshot taken 03/25/2015


In my previous post, 5 Hypnotic Mobile Native Video Content Marketing Methods, I highlighted the importance of integrating video OR leading with video in a native advertising strategy. Mobile video storytelling is feeding the consumer’s insatiable appetite for motion, visual content marketing and audio into one package.

This year’s F8 (Facebook Event) was huge with their announcements about embeddable video, robust video API extensions, and Facebook courting many top publishers, codifying the video smack down being waged between Facebook and YouTube.

Publisher Challenge or Dilemma

Mobile Video on Complex Sport section Photo/ Screen Shot 04/02/15 on iPhone6Mobile Video on Complex Sport section. Screenshot taken 04/02/15.

Many publishers have taken advantage of Facebook’s loaded offering to boost traffic and place more content on Facebook. Facebook spoke about “needing publisher’s content” but the sword cuts both ways. It’s still unclear what the value is to a publisher placing their best content on FB without a way to monetize. Buzzfeed has made a business out of Facebook but now with the gamed content pull back and F8 clearly announcing steps to filter video “bait” content, the question is yet to be answered on value for the publishers in the long-term.

Facebook’s publisher hypnosis has been viewed as interesting but what is Facebook really offering? Does the world have amnesia about what happened in the past when the app developer’s were pushed to tabs? Let’s not forget about all those third party apps that got pushed to tabs on the backs of companies like Zanga and RockYou losing to Facebook changes.

Lets hope this turns out differently. Brands are basking in the video limelight and experiencing a really nice organic reach and luring big spend. The billion dollar question is how long this great offering will last?

Publishers have to be careful not to get drunk on free traffic booze. If you’re looking at Facebook being a platform, much like how LinkedIn is doing with blogging, be careful building your house on rented land. John Battelle frames up several questions all brands and publishers should consider before plunging in.

The YouTubization of Facebook has great potential, but it’s unclear what the outcome for publishers will be in the end. One thing is certain, 2015 is set to be exciting for video regardless of what channel you are using. Here are some amazing stats that point to why Facebook is so attractive.

Mobile Video growth projection by Cisco presented at F8 Photo Taken Chase McMichaelMobile Video growth projection by Cisco presented at F8. Photo Taken by Chase McMichael.

Facebook Claims:

  • 3 Billion video views a day
  • 65% of that is on mobile
  • 53% of all views coming from shares

Thumb Stopping Video

Mobile Video Ad Complex photo/ screenshot 04/02/2015 on iPhone 6Mobile Video Ad Complex. Screenshot taken 04/02/2015

So is your video “thumb stopping”? This term thumb stopping was used loosely to describe a person’s action when thumbing through their feeds. If you are on a native mobile app or a highly mobile optimized site with a great responsive design the rules still apply. For mobile video, the feed is where it’s at and visuals rule the day.

When looking at video on Facebook the truth is that most video has yet to even load and those first few screens have to be amazing. Contrary to what we saw at F8, not everyone has Marvel or Fast and Furious content as being good examples of “Thumb Stopping”. The key to Fast and Furious was having lots of action at the very beginning. This really doesn’t matter if the video is not loading or relevant. Yes motion causes humans to look,  however, it’s unclear if Facebook’s gamed auto play will continue to provide value to brands. Video plays are starting to go the way of the Facebook “like” but brands are seeking more measurable engagement and video completion rates.

When creating your video, experts have recommended you should “Grab attention in the first few seconds”. This is an understatement. People on their feed and in mobile most certainly don’t hover over videos. You have the first few frames at best. People thumbing through their feeds are “image snacking” at a fast rate and don’t have time for loading videos. Most have experienced seeing the swirling spiral of death or worst yet-  the black screen with play button, which obviously won’t get people to engage.

Silent Movie Resurgence

Charlie Chaplin would love the new Facebook, as we have reverted back to the world of silent films where you need to design the video without sound. When Facebook evokes auto-play the sounds is off by default. The reasoning is well founded, due to sound being very disruptive in certain environments. And having the sound off MASKS the fact that the video keeps playing even if you scroll it out of view for many pages in your feed.

Go and test on your feed by turning the sound on in a video, scroll out of view and you will see. If you are a brand this begs a major question, if the video keeps playing but it’s not in view is that considered a play? What happened to viewablity? In fact it’s amazing just how long the video keeps playing. There is lots of unsavory content being shared these days so having the video sound off is a good thing but are we shifting to turning the sounds on being the new click to play?

Here are some key takeaways that all brands and video content marketers should consider and leverage when launching mobile video on Facebook:


  • Track engagement metrics
  • Understand video performance


  • What you can do with Facebook Video API
  • Scheduling and take down
  • Restrict audience
  • Publish directly to Videos tab
  • Upload subtitles for multiple locales
  • Set custom thumbnail
  • Manage featured videos & playlists
  • Embed on your own website


  • Do the basics (CTA, tagging)
  • Upload file sizes of 1.5G
  • Resumable uploading (Killer feature)

Performance Measurement:

  • Audience retention
  • People reached
  • Average view duration
  • Videos views

Video Interactivity

Example of a mobile card on top of a YouTube video. What shows when you click the (I) in the upper right of the video Photo / Screen Shot 04/14/15 on iPhone 6Example of a YouTube mobile card on top of a mobile YouTube video. What pops up when you click the (I) in the upper right of the video links to a verified site. Screenshot taken 04/14/15.

Once YouTube dominated the market, but now mobile native video and video streaming services like HBO are in on the game. Consumers are shifting from a static image world to thirsting for full HD videos and pumping sounds that create an immersive experience only video can provide. Another innovation is interactive video and it’s showing major promise, this is where the video is not just a passive experience but the objects within the video are clickable.

Companies like true[x] and now YouTube cards with Skippable TrueView  are powering advanced video overlaying, strong calls to action and full interactive video on objects that are flagged within video. This is creating a true interactive experience.

There will be a day in the near future where objects will launch into other video streams, creating a “create your own story” type flow. I remember reading books as a kid where you could select options during the story to change the outcome, and this type of immersive video approach is what brands covet due to time on content and engagement.

Video Marketing At Scale

At the first Yahoo developer conference back in February, they announced the integration of BrightRoll with the Flurry app network giving monster reach and scale to a potential 9,000 apps. Many brands and publishers, like Complex TV, have a full content creation unit along with advertisers generating content for mobile that is really taking their entire mobile video storytelling to the next level. Opera even launched at the start of 2015 the Opera Mediaworks boasting a Native Video Fund – a multi-million dollar creative fund designed to facilitate and inspire mobile-first storytelling with video.

Other noted video exchanges to consider are LiveRail, owned by Facebook, and YuMe. All offer scale with integrated video players engineered for mobile. The choices are big and, depending on the audience you are reaching for, they all have their pros and cons. “Test test test” is the strategy now.

5 Ways to Make Your Mobile Video Rock the Catwalk

1. Consumption: Know Your Audience

How well do you know your customer? The more personal your brand is the greater success you will achieve. Videos that start a conversation help maximize channels consumers already use. Leverage tools that can show you what your audience is consuming and sharing. It is a great way to make the video attribution more appealing.

2. Storyline: Is Quality the Most Important Factor or is it Personality and Storyline?

Look at YouTube and successful niche channels where the production value is not high-end but the content and theme is consistent. Some of the most successful channels are using this tactic to achieve massive audience reach, however, building a following doesn’t happen overnight. Do you know your niche and is it being designed to matter to your customers?

3. Design for Mobile: There was a Reason Opera Created the Fund

Many videos are created for TV or wide-screen and the producers forget video is being viewed on mobile. You have to design for a smaller screen. Compress everything down to fit a small frame and be VERY CAREFUL about including text in your video. Remember, it’s hard to read when there are lots of visual distraction. This is a big reason why we are seeing many people shoot video from a phone. The key is make sure the story can be visually appealing to a consumer in mobile mode.

4. Social Currency: Will They Share It?

From the number Facebook was touting the answer is YES. Most shared content is emotional, funny, and highly entertaining. It’s important that your content gives people who share it props with their friends. Look closely at content you are sharing now and further analyse sites like Reddit, Upworthy, etc. What is getting shared is a science, and must be considered in your video content marketing strategy.

5. Video Completion: Can You Hold the Audience?

Completion rates are so key because it demonstrates your ability to keep your audience engaged. If your content was capable of captivating your customer with the right story-line, visual combination and emotional connection you have the opportunity to convey your message throughout the clip. Can you get your message over in the first few frames without SOUND?

As more publishers and premium content providers push the video creation envelope over their media consumer touch points, the mobile first or mobile only strategy will be a major driving factor in what’s being designed. Mobile video is pervasive and will continue to grow globally with greater penetration of higher bandwidth and smarter phones.

The advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence is now improving which consumers will engage on based on many attributions. Just like in the display world, where programmatic ads rule the day, so will video shift from a linear world to a highly interactive experience using advance technologies. The question comes down to how fast with video change in the coming year.

Where is Mobile Video Market Going?

Photo at F8 Chase McMichael 2015Photo at F8 2015 by Chase McMichael

Mobile video is the full motion content lubricant for on the go communication that humans best understand. Motion is a fundamental characteristic of the human brain and we live in a 3D motion world. Virtual reality is set to disrupt thet entire ecosystem. Companies like Facebook, acquiring Oculus, Microsoft with their launch of HoloLens, and Google’s Magic Leap, show that augmented reality is poised to cash in on the visual immersion revolution.

What video solutions are you using and what tools you can share that are improving the consumer experience?


Featured Image: Shutterstock

Category Content
Chase McMichael CEO at InfiniGraph, Inc.

Chase is the CEO and Co-Founder of InfiniGraph. InfiniGraph provides real time video optimization through video machine learning called “KRAKEN” ...

5 Ways Mobile Video Rocks the Catwalk

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