How Marketers Can Win Mobile Video When One Second Feels Like An Eternity



Mobile video isn’t about just cropping your TV ad—it’s about evolving your mindset to catch up with the speed of the feed.

All it took was a 0.013 second-long slide of Donald Trump to prove the point.

At SMWLA’s opening session, “New Creative Opportunities for a Video First World,” Facebook’s Carolyn Coyne talked about the speed of feed—more specifically, the News Feed—and how the competition for consumer attention influences branded video content.

Per a 2014 MIT study, it takes the human brain 0.03 seconds to process a thought, and just 0.013 seconds to process an image. In other words, our brains can process the equivalent of 40 HD movies. Every second.

What does this mean for brands? We need to evolve how we approach content we produce for social feeds to catch up to the speed of people.

These days, 75 percent of Facebook content is consumed on mobile, said Coyne, who is Global Creative Strategist for the Facebook Creative Shop. Not too surprising, since 1 billion of Facebook’s 1.7 billion+ user base are engaging with the platform exclusively via mobile.

Here are Coyne’s big takeaways for brands of all sizes as they develop strategies for mobile video.

Adopt a people-first mindset

Social media has upended the way brands approach marketing. We’ve all heard this point made time and time again, but mobile video is especially underscoring its importance. A people-first mindset of course applies to the direction you take with your content, and the stories you tell, but it also applies to how you are reaching people at their speed.

Follow the puck

“Build content for where [consumers] are, not where they were,” advises Coyne. She emphasized this point by arguing that the TV-first model is dead on mobile. The average consumer today spends 147 minutes watching television. Their time with smartphones, on average? 151 minutes. For marketers, it’s important to keep in mind how their audiences consume media on mobile in particular.

Mind the mindsets

Coyne explained that the way people engage with smartphones can vary by the moment, but to simplify things, she broke it down into three key scenarios:

  • On-the-go (immediate): Instances where people need information or want to enter a conversation on-the-fly, for example looking up directions to a location you’re supposed to be at right now.
  • Lean-in (interactive): Proactively acting on a need or urge to engage with content, e.g. following along with your friends’ commentary on the GRAMMY Awards.
  • Lean-back (immersive): Those five minutes before your head hits the pillow where you decide to check out the latest Reddit thread or look at your friend’s vacation photos on Facebook? That’s lean back consumption.

Don’t be afraid to play

Coyne advised marketers to think big with their mobile video creative. “Do to your work what you hope the internet would do to it,” she said. To inspire SMWLA attendees, she shared examples of brands like Red Bull, Samsung, and Asos, which she says is “building an entire culture” through its creative use of Instagram Stories.

Her big takeaway here? Stop looking for a formula. “You have to try a lot of different things, and there are a ton of opportunities to do so.”

Other #protips for mobile video

Here are some other best practices to bookmark:

  • Capture attention quickly: Get your branding into the video within the first few seconds. People watch video ads in the News Feed for 5.7 seconds on average.
  • Design for sound off: Be sure your video can stand alone without sound, as not all viewers will have earphones in or sound on.
  • Frame your story: Building on the play theme, Coyne showed examples of brands like McDonald’s and Lays, which used creative frames to create an illusion of content that quite literally breaks out of the box.
  • Optimize for mobile: She also shared examples of desktop video ads that were tweaked to be more engaging on mobile. These small modifications can make a huge difference.

The rise of mobile video has upended the way consumers interact with each other, increasingly replacing images and texts with recorded or live video content. For brands and agencies vying to speak with consumers in their own language, this means expanding their capabilities to a mobile-oriented, video-first landscape.

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