There is no doubt that more people than ever are watching videos on their smartphones and tablets. This is a trend that is only set to increase in the foreseeable future. So what do you need to consider when you’re making video for mobile devices?
Make your narrative clear without sound
It’s likely that a fair chunk of your mobile viewers will be watching your video without sound. Why? Well, consider when you watch video on your mobile. Sometimes it will be when you’re out in public. You might have forgotten your earphones or might not carry any with you. We’ve all had that embarrassing moment when audio from a game or a video starts blasting out unexpectedly from our phone. To avoid that, a lot of us will have the volume turned down by default.
Even if someone has earphones in, they might be listening to something else. Then they just happen to come across your video while browsing. But they may be inclined carry on watching it without audio if they can still follow what’s going on.
You need to account for these scenarios when you’re making video for mobile devices. It’s important to make sure that your video can still be understood and enjoyed without sound. If you’re able to tell your story entirely visually, with only music and sound effects, then that’s great for mobile. If not, subtitles will help to make sure that your viewers can follow the flow of your video’s narrative. I’ve seen view rates rise significantly after subtitles were added to a mobile video. But if you go down this second route make sure your text is clearly visible, because you need to…
Make the most of limited viewing space
Mobile screens are getting better and better, which is great for visual content. Also, most people are able to stream at a higher quality than in the past. It’s much easier these days to discern details in photos and videos. But there are still limits, due to the physical size of smartphone screens. You also need to account for the fact that your videos sometimes won’t be viewed in full screen mode.
As such, it’s important that you keep content clear when you’re making video for mobile devices. Keep text fairly large and don’t have too much of it on screen at once. Try and keep your shots and graphics quite clean, so there is less to distract the viewer. Aim not to put too many competing bits of content on screen at once, such as complex graphics on top of shots. Keep shots close where you can.
Short video for mobile devices works best
Finally, when you’re making video for mobile devices, try to keep it short. Of course, you should not sacrifice your narrative or message for brevity. But mobile viewing times for video are generally shorter, with longer videos still more commonly viewed on desktop devices (or, increasingly, tablets). There are various reasons for this, such as people conserving their data, multitasking, or having limited viewing time while on the move.
This is especially true if you’re producing mobile video for an online advertising platform, such as Facebook or YouTube. Here you’re also competing for attention with other content the user is trying to view. So when you’re making an advertising video for mobile devices, keep it short and get your key messages in early.