The Growing Importance and Emerging Trends of Short-form Video in Mobile Consumption

By: Joe Bilman, Chief Data Officer, Harland Clarke Holdings
Published Thursday, Jun 8, 2017

The Growing Importance and Emerging Trends of Short-form Video in Mobile Consumption

Video is everywhere. From cooking videos; to hilarious slip and falls; to watching current events unfold; not a day goes by when someone, somewhere isn’t watching video – especially on their smartphones. In fact, 67 percent of consumers report watching videos on their mobile phones daily.1 However, as we become inundated with avenues and networks through which we’re able to watch video via phone, the overall time spent watching them is diminishing. 

Think about the average amount of time you spend on your phone each day catching up on all those social and information sources. . Between Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, news, sports and recipe sites, pictures of cats and dogs, etc., there are more media organizations and applications attracting (even demanding) our attention and reducing our overall attention spans.

No longer are we watching a 10-minute video on how to make the perfect lasagna. Who has time for that? Now it’s: Give me what I need in 60 seconds or less (or 15 seconds or less in the case of Snapchat) so I can move on to watch the 100 other videos that I need (or didn’t know I needed or wanted) to watch.

In fact 45 percent of consumers report watching videos that are one to five minutes in length each day. And, a whopping 59 percent of consumers report watching videos that are one minute long or less per day!1 Think about that. More than half of all videos being watched by consumers are videos that are 60 seconds or less. 

So what does this shift to short-form video really mean for marketers?

For starters, mobile advertising is already commanding a growing share of a marketers media buys. And, in 2017, 70 percent of advertisers are interested in increasing their mobile spend by 25 percent.1 Video is undoubtedly going to be an essential part of this growth in mobile spend, particularly as dollars continue to shift from television to digital media.

But there’s a bigger issue at play: getting consumers to absorb and interact with all this video – particularly in 60 seconds or less. As the competition for consumer eyeballs across media increases, getting them to watch (and engage) with short-form video has been an issue plaguing both marketers and content publishers alike.

Here are a few emerging trends to watch for in 2017 to help ensure your clients’ short-form video doesn’t get lost in the shuffle:

Trend #1: Vertical Video

Vertical video is the hot new way to view video. No longer restricted to the “boxed” format where consumers needed to turn their phone sideways to get a full-screen look, video is now easily watched regardless of how your phone screen is oriented – thanks to the increased popularity of vertical video.

Vertical video is great for showcasing a very short video (think 10 seconds or less short) as it allows for a full-screen experience that draws consumer attention.

Trend #2: ‘Soft’ Video Engagement

The “close” button has been a consumer’s best friend and a marketer’s worst nightmare.  Consumers have become so accustomed to finding that ”X” somewhere on your ad – particularly a full-screen ad on their phone – that they’re spending less time engaging with your video and more time trying to close the ad. 

Providing consumers the opportunity to watch your video without causing annoyance is an emerging trend in video marketing. Here are some examples of marketers who’ve found ways to invite consumers to watch video on their phones without disrupting their full-browsing experience.

Trend #3: Enhanced Video Creative

According to MarketingTech News, a big trend in 2017 is mobile ads incorporating more interactive features such as shoppable video.2

Getting consumers to impulse-buy a product based off an ad is every marketer’s dream. Thanks to the evolution of advertising technology and some creative imagination, marketers now have the ability to create shoppable experiences for consumers as they’re watching video.

This latest trend consists of interactive ad creative that allows video to play on the top half of the screen while a scrollable gallery of products as featured in the video, present on the bottom of the screen. This enables users to add the products they’re seeing in the video creative, directly into their shopping bags.

Trend #4: Immersive Video

Augmented reality, immersive video and 360 video are terms you’ve probably heard tossed around as the hottest thing since sliced bread. And with good reason. These highly engaging experiences allow marketers’ branded video to be seen beyond the depths of the initial ad creative.

Enabling the consumer to dive into your video creative is a fun and interactive way to capture their attention. Putting the consumer in control of the ad experience as an active participant – particularly in the palm of their hand via their smartphone – is a great way to create engagement beyond the traditional passive experience of watching a commercial.

The consumption of short-form video as a whole has become a sheer numbers game. While it’s true that as we spend more time devoted to watching videos on our phones, the overall time spent watching each particular video is plummeting. However, as discussed, there are ways to ensure your clients’ video is being seen and engaged with, without being a nuisance to the consumer. 


1: State of the Video Industry Global Research Study, AOL, 2017.

2. Three Mobile Trends to Watch in 2017, Marketing Tech News.