Best of Digital Summit 2020: Twitter’s Ted Harrison and the Art of Effective Mobile Video

We’re celebrating and spotlighting some of our favorite, highest rated sessions from our Digital Summit at Home events from 2020. In this recap, we featuring Twitter’s Ted Harrison.

You’ve likely heard the phrase “video content is king,” but how can we best produce video content that will perform well in today’s mobile-centric world? In this session from our Digital Summit at Home event in September 2020, we heard some really useful fundamental tips and tricks from Twitter’s Global Video Optimization Lead, Ted Harrison (@tedvid on Twitter). Ted and his team help brands optimize their assets for Twitter’s mobile feed environment.

Harrison takes us through the different components of what makes a successful mobile video and focuses on one key notion: “Boundaries lead to better creativity and effectiveness.” This may seem a bit counterintuitive (after all, what creative person wants to be constrained?), but analytics will prove that this is very much so the case. Let’s take a look at what he means.

Video Aspect Ratios (3:15)

There are four primary aspect ratios that brands can use for their video content: 16×9, 1×1, 4×5 and 9×16. The first two of these are the most commonly used format.

Knowing Your “TVCS” (4:10)

Three core principles that brands need to consider when producing video content that will perform well on mobile platforms are 1) Timing, 2) Visuals and 3) Conversation Starters.

Timing (4:20)

The length of a mobile video is critical to determining how it will perform. It’s important that brands produce video content that is concise to ensure that the primary messages are delivered before the viewer loses interest and continues scrolling through their mobile feed.

PRO TIP: The sweet spot for mobile video length to keep a viewer’s attention and maximize effectiveness is 6-15 seconds

Visuals (5:45)

There are consistent visual elements to successful mobile videos that brands can and should consider before they begin creating their content. Through extensive research, such as eye tracking, Harrison and his team have identified “The Envelope” method as a guiding principle to understanding the areas on a piece of content that viewers’ eyes will be most drawn to in a very short amount of time.

PRO TIP: When creating video content for mobile, visualize an envelope including your primary visual messages (i.e. logos, taglines, calls-to-action, etc.) in the top left, middle, and top right of the video frame, similar to a return address, mailing address and stamp of an envelope.

Conversation Starters (10:35)

A pitfall that marketers often fall into when creating video content is focusing solely on the visual content, itself. In doing this, we can lose sight of the actual actions a brand wants to viewer to take. Harrison places these actions into four buckets: 1) Think, 2) Feel, 3) Know and 4) Do Something Different. Brands need to consider which of these four things they are asking the viewer to do when watching their video content.

PRO TIP: 70% of brand recall is created in the first 3 seconds of a video, and the average person reads 4-5 words per second, so messages should be 15 words or shorter to cut through the noise of a busy mobile feed.

Leveraging Attention & Color Theory (14:00)

Marketers are able to leverage specific techniques, demonstrated in this session, to draw a viewer’s attention to certain areas their video content. The placement of certain elements, such as text or other visuals can “force” the audience to focus on the most important elements of the content. Colors are one of the most powerful tools that can be included in content as it relates ensuring messages are delivered in the most impactful way.

PRO TIP: Take careful notice of how well-known brands use attention and color techniques in ads and think of ways that you can apply this to your branded video content.

Have Fun to Be Effective (27:00)

Finally, Harrison emphasizes that creating high-quality mobile video content does not mean that marketers need to take themselves too seriously. It’s important to evaluate what assets are available and find unique ways to leverage them for video content while having some fun with it.

When using these principles Ted has discussed in this session, brands see double-digit growth in a number of key areas, including brand awareness, purchase intent, message association and emotional engagement. Which of us wouldn’t love to see that?!

To hear from experts like Ted and hundreds of others that teach at Digital Summit, check out our 2021 calendar of virtual and in-person events, and save the dates for your favorites!