Short-form video: punch, area and courage

Smartphones have catapulted video up as a format: mobile video is the modern language of communication. Today, video already accounts for over 55 percent of mobile traffic – by 2020, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, this percentage will increase to 75 percent. Anyone who wants to continue to be successful with video content on mobile devices must understand that moving pictures on smartphones follow different rules than, for example, classic TV commercials.

Mobile videos are consumed ‘on the go’ most of the time, be it in the form of entertaining video clips, stories or short promotional videos: we often have a short attention span and quickly scroll across large content areas. In fact, we spend an average of 1.7 seconds on the mobile, and 2.5 seconds on the desktop.

A great way for brands to take advantage of this usage behavior is to use short-form video – as an ad, a classic page contributor, or in the form of increasingly popular stories. Short, clear and concise in the messages, emotional or surprising in the storyline and striking in design, they generate attention and whet the appetite for more. Everything between zero and 15 seconds is short.


But how do you best implement short-form videos?

  • Short-form video needs punch! Short videos should start interesting and consistently convince with a dynamic sequence of scenes – just do not let boredom arise!
  • Short-form video needs space! Meanwhile, almost all videos are viewed vertically on the smartphone. Of course this is even more true for short formats. Accordingly, mobile videos should ideally also be created in portrait format or at least square, and of course correspond to the individual format specifications of the platform.
  • Short form needs courage and disruption! Shorter creatives mean less time to convince. Good storytelling should therefore leave the familiar ways and surprise. Creatives should experiment with unusual or scarce narrative sheets or various visual video building blocks.

Crafting tips

  • According to a study by Nielsen, 47 percent of the impact of a video campaign on Facebook will be achieved within the first three seconds. So creatives should experiment with turning the dramaturgy of their videos around and putting the message and brand on the start of short videos.
  • Central messages can be clarified with texts and graphics within the video, not (only) in the accompanying comments.
  • Very few people have activated the automatic sound in their feeds. Videos benefit from this, even if they can convince without sound.

Daredevil or cowardly chicken? Dorito Roulette

The tortilla chips manufacturer Dorito has come up with something special for his new product Doritos Roulette: every touch in the chip bag is a test of courage, because between the cheese-flavored tacos, extremely spicy chili chips are hiding. To address a young target group in Belgium and the Netherlands, the existing 25-second TV ad was transformed into mobile-optimized 15-, 10-, 5-, and 2-second short-form videos. The vertical format was achieved by the so-called stacking technique, which arranges different video components on top of each other in a collage – thus creating a novel interaction between the various storylines and video elements. In terms of content, the various spots pick up on the “test of courage”, which was subsequently also picked up as the “Dorito Roulette Challenge” in the social networks – a great experiment in storytelling. The resulting ecosystem of mobile short versions shows very striking: creating short but still rousing videos does not have to be complicated.

Christina Keller Facebook
Photo: Facebook

Christina Keller leads the Creative Shop for Facebook and Instagram in Central Europe. Together with her team, she supports companies and agencies in developing innovative ideas for the Mobile First environment. Before joining Facebook in August 2015, she worked for several advertising agencies – including Jung von Matt, TBWA and DDB – and later on for Deutsche Bahn.

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