American Marketer


For mobile video success, start with concept, not length: report

July 15, 2016

Photo courtesy of Estee Lauder Photo courtesy of Estee Lauder


While marketers are increasingly interested in short-form video on mobile, the need for long-form content remains strong, with how best to determine when and where to use each still elusive, according to a new report from analyst Lauren deLisa Coleman and Lnk Agency.

As the media landscape quickly evolves, marketers are struggling to leverage technology and insights in new ways to deliver a consistently intelligent experience across channels that wins customers, particularly tech-savvy, mobile-centric millennials. One important dilemma marketers face in this environment is when and how to use long-form or short-form content.

“Mobile video will become even more important but that long vs. short form will be highly dependent upon the type of content and consumer engagement goal,” Ms. deLisa Coleman said.

“Millennial sensibilities will continue to drive the importance of and creativity around new forms of story-telling - linear will become less compelling and innovation will rule,” she said.

“Finally, given the massively diverse demographic of the millennial arena, mobile marketers will need to be even more savvy when using ad tech and be mindful that a monolith approach will fall flat.”

The report, The Marketing & Advertising Technology Report: New & Future Trends To Leverage, is based on an analysis of trends as well as interviews with key researchers and c-suite executives.

Finding the right length

The debate about long versus short content is ongoing. Both forms are showing signs of strength, putting pressure on marketers to become experts at deciding which version to use at different times. Making the wrong decision could result in loss of attention and market share.

Per the report, success seems to be linked with starting with the concept and allowing the length to derive from that.

While some experts suggest that long form leads to better conversion rates, there is no clear-cut advantage except that, when executed well, users spend more time with a brand.

“Perhaps the most surprising finding is that there are actually not steadfast rules around video length - it's really about the type of content that dictates the length and only very savvy people get this,” Ms. deLisa Coleman said.

“And I'd add that the reinforcement of understanding that mobile is still primarily being used for consumer research while actual purchase is completed via laptop – depending on demographic,” she said.

Emerging platforms

The debate over video content length is further complicated by emerging digital platforms and the unique use across each.

Snapchat is primarily a short-form driven tech platform and is projected to book $1 billion in advertising sales this year.

In contrast, The Huffington Post recently decided to increase long-form content while Politico offers both short and long versions.

These examples underscore the challenges in uncovering the right mix of age, sensibilities, behavior, platform and offering for content.

However, no matter the length, one important strategy has not changed: the need to tell a great, compelling story.

Whether content is short or long, marketers should think about making a connection with people and steering certain behavior.

“Deeper consumer intelligence/emotional intelligence and new ways in which to obtain it, to which this report speaks, should be sought in order to more deeply engage given the high risk of a consumer ‘tuning’ out now that the mobile marketer is so driven by the ‘mobile moment,’” Ms. deLisa Coleman said.

“There is a high risk of inundating the consumer given the fact that technology enables various targeting and tracking that is being refined and expanded daily,” she said. “This is key.”