Mobile First: Watch This!
In the last year, with the introduction of Vine—along with updates to both the Instagram and YouTube applications—the consumption of videos through mobile devices has seen a huge jump. These applications have created the platforms on which to share content, but the other part of this equation is how users consume video content through their smartphones. Let's first take a look at what each product did to help foster this video growth across mobile.
Prior to Twitter introducing this app in January 2013, users who wanted to share videos would have to upload their clips to Facebook. The problem was the majority of their videos were a minute or more of actual footage, and Facebook's mobile app didn't have a very friendly interface to upload videos. What Vine did was set a short time limit per video and allow users to share videos from the same app they used to record them. The results where astounding, as the new platform grew by millions of users in a matter of months.
Six months after Vine launched, Instagram updated its app to also include video. Already the fastest-growing social network, Instagram quickly gained ground by following Vine's lead of limiting video length, but made the length longer. While Vine only allows 6-second clips, Instagram allows for videos to be up to 15 seconds long. Both Vine and Instagram solved the distribution problem for mobile videos.
Before mobile was the leader for digital engagement, the majority of online videos were based on the Adobe Flash protocol, which was not supported by mobile browsers. Once YouTube began converting videos to be mobile optimized and accessible via both an app and mobile Web, the biggest barrier for consumption was removed.
Short-Form Video for Marketers
The two issues addressed by these apps were consumption and distribution, specifically for mobile devices. They can be summarized as such: On mobile, short-form videos distributed through social media networks are the preferred method of content, as they are not only easier to upload and consume, but easier to share, as well.