In part four of his series – Five steps to achieving viral reach on mobile – Ryan Gandalf van Jaarsveld says video is vital, vital enough to make “keyboard cat fall of his chair (if he was still alive today)”.
I love video, it’s such a simple media to share and it engages so many senses. I understand why ATL, and TV specifically, has been the Biff since the 40s. The beautiful stories told by brands in 30 seconds – just look at some of the awesome work by Allan Gray and I really enjoyed Emoticon Boy last year – Velocity you are the business!
As mentioned in my first article in this series we started Seven because we wanted to change the game in this highly technical space by merging left and right brain thinking. We wanted to start the first mobile only advertising agency and deliver sick campaigns with the kind of viral reach that would make keyboard cat fall of his chair (if he was still alive today). In order for us to do that we would have to have video as part of our service offering.
Of course lots of mobile marketing agencies have been doing video on mobile for some time now though when I say do video, I am not talking about syndicated content that’s formatted for mobile and slapped onto a mobi site for download with some nasty branded wallpapers and a ringtone of a celebrity saying, “You’re freaky but I like you a lot”. No, I am talking about the kind of stuff you see on TV, but on your phone (and more suited for viral).
So when I chat to people they often ask the same questions about video. They are either struggling with the technical side of it or they are having problems compressing it or they don’t know where to go for the production. So I would like to use this article to share some of our learnings with you.
Let’s start with production.
Masters and Savant. Their team is awesome and they have done some excellent, award winning work (they have great biltong too!). We got them to produce a video for a Tropika MMS we did for Christmas. http://youtu.be/XnzxcYNw1ZI
We’re also working with them on some killa stuff for Cell C, when it’s up I will share the link.
Velocity. These guys are brilliant – we are working with them on some awesome stuff for Nedbank which is still due to go live so I can’t share a link, though their ability to tell a story and create amazing viral content is outstanding.
Pollen. Great team, very diverse, with their fingers tightly on the pulse. They handle everything from animation, design, augmented reality and shooting. They put all the animation together for us on our latest campaign with Nedbank. www.WhoIsSam.co.za
Alight Productions. Great company for shoots. Alight have worked with us on a number of mobile campaigns. Really good with stuff for sport. http://youtu.be/ILJQlreQGz0
What all these guys have in common is that they take the original idea and make it fly – they push the concept and make it work.
Once you have produced the epic piece it’s time to start making it work for mobile. This can be tricky as you need to adapt the content for different handsets. You are going to want to allow consumers to stream it from a mobi site and download it. For the mobi site side of things YouTube is a really awesome tool and provides a solid API. Link this in with the current technology you are using for content adaptation and you should be a winner. One thing you have to make sure of is that you cater for Flash, HTML5, RTSP and download. RTSP stands for Real Time Streaming Protocol which means playing the video using the phone’s native video player.
Before you start embedding the video onto your site you are going to have to compress everything. This is vital as you don’t want large files (buffering sucks!). For MMS don’t produce anything longer than 20 seconds and cater for a screen size of 176 x 144. Your FPS should be set to 15 and your bitrate should be 40KB/s. Use a 3GP codec when converting. With these settings you will be able to compress a video to 250kb with crystal clear quality. When it comes to download you can have a higher resolution. Fiddle with the FPS and bitrate until your file size is around 500kb – you can go higher though always think about the download costs for the consumer.
With streaming you can upload a video of around 10mb – YouTube will handle the compression on the fly.
The one thing I obviously can’t cover in this article is how you come up with the idea for your video. Follow the steps in the first article and make sure the person conceptualising the piece is not a techie or strategist otherwise you are going to end up with something most people will consider lame and probably see as spam.
For me the main objective of using video is to increase the value proposition for the consumer, the brand and the agency. If we do not focus on ways to make campaigns more engaging they will not become more viral and mobile will continue being the ugly step child.
Remember, a mobile phone is a viral channel – if a campaign does not achieve viral reach then it’s because the campaign was not engaging. The consumer is in control – give them something cool and they will pass it on.
Step number four: Use video
Ryan Gandalf van Jaarsveld is MD 7Dffrnt Knds of Smke