Looking retrospectively from 2020, it should come as a shock to none of us that the Internet has, indeed, changed our lives. Of course, we were told that it would – in essence, we knew this was coming. On the other hand, what many of us did not expect was how much mobile technology would change our lives. That little device with the green blinking LED that’s always within arm’s reach now globally outnumbers PCs by at least 3-to-1 and likely packs more computing power than a traditional laptop computer from just a few years ago. Moreover, the convenience means we are more apt to use them: over 52% of global Internet traffic and over 62% of global online video views come from mobile devices (Statista). In a marketplace where everyone is competing to reach the largest potential audience, the sheer weight of these numbers force people to think in terms of today’s word, mobile first.
Breaking down the term, mobile, originally from the Latin mobilis, meaning ‘movable, non-stationary or easy to move/transport’ first entered English from the French mobile in 1490 and was first used in relation to wireless telecommunication in 1928; however, relating to a specific portable computing device, such as a phone or tablet, the first usage dates back to the 23 October, 1989 edition of Financial Times, which notes how: “Company employees can perform a full day’s work..while on the move—using the latest plethora of mobile devices.” First, in this usage, can be traced back through the Old English fyrst to the Proto-Germanic furista ‘foremost’, with an initial usage that goes back to King Alfred’s translation of Pope Gregory’s Pastoral Care, pondering (in Old English): “Hu se lareow sceal beon on his weorcum fyrest.” (“That the teacher shall have done his own work/learning first.”).
Cutting through design and development jargon, the concept of mobile first can be defined as approaching site and application design, development, and graphics based on the experience of mobile users over that of traditional desktop/laptop users. It should come as no surprise that this concept can be traced back to the man whose company’s operating system currently controls 74% of the global marker: then Google CEO Eric Schmidt outlined his ideas for making mobile implementations primary in a PC Mag article written by Chloe Albanesius, entitled: “Google’s New Rule: Mobile First.”, on 16 February, 2010.
Interestingly, not only is mobile first affecting where we receive our information, but also the data itself. Two examples of this can be seen in the length and formatting of the videos we watch. Gone are the days of 30-second videos: a 2018 Facebook Business study (among others) shows that shorter, 6 to 15 second videos are more effective in terms of ad recall, completion, and clickthrough rate. Second, gone are the days of having to turn your phone in order to see the proper horizontal (typically TV viewing) video: to make content as easily accessible as possible, venues such as Instagram Stories and Periscope have literally adjusted video dimensions in order to accommodate hand-held mobile devices.
At a time when so much of our lives are, literally and figuratively, on our phones, it’s no surprise that mobile first video storytelling is the new way forward to create video ads that offer seamless consumer experience. And here are a few tips on creating global video marketing content.