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Short-Form Video: Punch, Space and Courage


Short-Form Video: Punch, Space and Courage

By Ahmed Hafez Younis

“There’s no recipe for creativity.”

If you walk around Facebook’s offices chances are you’re going to come across this poster. It truly reflects what we at Creative Shop believe. We also believe that to connect with today’s consumers in this mobile world, we must build for where they are and not where they were. The behaviors people carry out on their mobile devices throughout the day vary. If they’re on the go they need instant content. If they’re leaning forward – let’s say taking a break from work – they need interactive content, whereas if they’re leaning backwards they’re ready to engage with immersive content that requires a lot more attention. Therefore, we always go for what we call the “pitch, play, plunge” strategy. I believe the region is well-versed when it comes to the “plunge” bit, especially when it comes to long form content, so I’m going to focus on the bit that everyone still struggles with: the “pitch.”

Picture of Ahmed, provided by Facebook.

Smartphones have catapulted video forward as a format: mobile video is the modern communication language. Today, video already accounts for over 55 percent of mobile traffic. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, this percentage will increase to 75 percent by 2020. 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 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 refine 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 grab interest from the start and consistently convince with a dynamic sequence of scenes — 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 are best created vertically or 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 lead to surprise by catching the viewer’s attention. Creatives should experiment with unusual or scarce narrative sheets or various visual video building blocks.

Crafting tips

  • 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.

But always remember, these are tips not rules – creativity can go much further.

Ahmed Hafez Younis (AKA Fizo), leads the Creative Shop for Facebook and Instagram in Middle East & North Africa. He supports companies and agencies in developing innovative ideas for the Mobile First environment. 

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