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Digital Video Trends and How to Create Best-in-Class Digital Video Content

6 MINUTE READ | October 14, 2019

Digital Video Trends and How to Create Best-in-Class Digital Video Content

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Catherine Babin

Catherine Babin has written this article. More details coming soon.

It’s no secret that video content is taking over across digital platforms. So much so that Cisco predicts that by 2020, over 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video. Mobile video is easy to consume and gives users a sense of community. Research conducted by Facebook found that compared to traditional TV, video on Facebook and Instagram was 2.9 times more likely to help users feel connected to friends and family and 1.9x more likely to give users something to talk about. 

For brands, it is important to consider how video advertising can tap into that feeling of connectedness and sense of community. We’ve all found ourselves stuck in a rabbit hole of animal videos on Facebook or YouTube, and we’ve probably shared those videos with our friends. There is no reason why brands cannot capture that same attention. Through mobile video, brands can capitalize on this feeling of connectedness by creating user-friendly, relatable content.

Whether your video is appearing in social media or even in programmatic rich media, digital video should be optimized for mobile. And users certainly appreciate the convenience of mobile video. Building video creative to the right specs will lead to a seamless experience, where users can easily jump into the content. Adapting content to certain specs can seem limiting at first, but creators who are clever and work within the guardrails are the ones driving the trends.

Thanks to smartphones and stories-based platforms, creating vertical video is a must. Utilizing the entire portrait orientation of the phone makes video content more immersive and takes up more real estate in a news feed. With the incredible display quality of smartphones, seeing content come to life edge-to-edge on a device can dazzle audiences. Vertical videos ultimately allow for creative flexibility and can be placed in stories or feeds. PMG’s Director of Social, Carly Carson, states that people are spending more time in stories than in newsfeeds, which reinforces the importance of tailoring creative to this format.

Brands can make the most of vertical video because the video can sometimes be easily cropped into a square. Social media has trained users to expect media in a square, which also makes square video assets appear more native and social-friendly.

Example of vertical video

We all thought silent movies were a thing of the past, but the ability to consume content anywhere has trained users to watch videos without sound. If a user is interrupted by a noisy advertisement, they may actually try to turn off or skip the ad. It is ideal if a story can be told without any sound. If a video requires a voiceover, subtitles should be added to the creative, so that the video can be viewed silently. Consumers can multitask with their media, and a sound off approach allows the consumer to approach the brand, rather than the brand begging for a consumer’s time. 

Example of digital video without sound but with captions

A sound off approach allows the consumer to approach the brand, rather than the brand begging for a consumer’s time.

Creating silent videos means that brands must capture the viewer’s attention quickly. In fact, the user should be drawn to the video within the first three seconds. Even Vine, a short-form video app, was ahead of its time by limiting video to six seconds, and similar content is thriving on apps such as TikTok. Video is a great medium to create “micro-moments” via short-form content. Google defines four types of micro-moments: feeding passions and interests, learning and exploring, seeking instruction, and deciding what or how to buy. These four types of moments can help brands align their goals with the type of story the brands should tell.

Courtesy of Think with Google

Creatively, best-in-class brands continue to raise the bar for digital video. Because many brands still equate video to expensive, highly-produced commercials, the thought of creating video content can be daunting. The following trends make video content approachable while still allowing a brand to elevate its storytelling.

The use of animation and motion graphics is an excellent way for brands to elevate existing assets and turn them into video content. For a low-fi approach, a sequence of static photos can easily be made into a GIF or simple motion graphics that can call out the features and benefits of a product. For a more advanced approach, brands can leverage 3D product renderings or layer motion graphics on top of existing video assets.

Example of digital animation video, courtesy of @Away on Instagram

According to, a blog by Vimeo, users spend eight times longer watching live video than on-demand video. On average, users will spend 3.5 minutes on mobile live streams as opposed to 2.8 minutes watching on-demand. When a user is viewing on a larger device, they are willing to spend more time watching. For example, a person will watch live video for an average of 34.5 minutes on a desktop.

Live video taps into the feeling of connectedness and interactivity that users desire. The anticipation of what will happen next captures the viewer’s attention, and the live aspect highlights a brand’s authenticity.

The boom of influencer marketing paired with the takeover of video content is a huge opportunity for brands. Platforms such as YouTube and Twitch have a wide range of creators willing to produce and distribute videos for brands.

The most successful influencer partnerships allow for the influencer to take the creative reins. Influencers know their audiences and what their followers are seeking. Working with influencers will enable brands to tap into their niche following. Therefore, it is important to be flexible with the influencer’s creative direction. Branded partnerships also will appear more authentic when content is true to both the influencer’s followers and the advertiser’s brand.

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IAB reports that in 2019, marketers’ digital video budgets increased by 25%, which emphasizes video is here to stay. While digital video trends will continue to evolve, advertisers should not forget the feeling of connectedness that users seek. By combining a sense of community with a user-friendly experience, brands can find success in digital video.