Proportionality and layout design of most social feeds mean that it’s possible to fill a user’s screen with just your content, provided it’s in a square format. The effectiveness of using square formatting is amplified when you consider mobile usage, as most feeds are scrolled through with the device in Portrait. A conventional video format will scale down to roughly 30% of the screen.When actioning on the video, widescreen format videos would then need the user to clumsily rotate the device, while square format videos will sit nicely in the centre with any actionable buttons located above and below the video, rather than on top.
Straight up, hearing is a sense that can provide a lot of emphasis and emotion so you should always design sound into a video. Nonetheless, as videos autoplay as scrolling focuses on video, you need to be able to convey a message (or at least generate intrigue) without sound.
This is an issue that quickly gets complex, but to keep things brief consider:
- The context surrounding the video, what can the text within a post tell you about the message in the video?
- Using text within the video – more on this belo
- Grab attention with a title sequence that summarises the point and provides background to what follows
Subtitles and kinetic typography
When there’s a point to be made, using text during the video has become a norm. The main triggers for this have been ‘Autoplay’ and usage of phones in quiet/public spaces (commuting for example). Using text on the screen makes it more likely that someone will stop to absorb. The trick with text is, of course, reading means focusing!
You have two different choices; you can use the conventional subtitle route, or alternatively, incorporate full statements or just essential words into a scene’s space. A classic example of the kinetic typography in action is in this video:
Every year players of @TNLUK help us to care for the places you love. National Lottery players, to see how you’ve helped come and join us on Wednesday 13 December when you can visit FOR FREE! Find out how at https://t.co/fPrUFHezT3 #ThanksToYoupic.twitter.com/kslIeQader
— National Trust (@nationaltrust) December 11, 2017
The National Lottery Ticket Day with the National Trust. By the National Trust and Jammy Custard
If you think back, you’ve probably even seen film trailers use either one of these options.
Knowing your audience is the most significant key here. Deciding whether to use subtitles or kinetic type should be based on your audience’s knowledge, the level of detail required, the duration of the video, the complexity and size of the subject matter on screen, and the amount of movement it needs to support. Branding may also be another important factor, but the important thing is to decide where a focus on text or visual is a priority.
Don’t let this be an afterthought either, as including text visually comes with a lot of technical and timing nuances, so start thinking about this during storyboarding.
Videos hosted on social media platforms can have the ability to loop and immediately replay without instruction. The goal posts of what qualifies a video to loop seem to move from time to time, but making a video loop seamlessly from start to end is a ‘sneaky’ way of ensuring the viewer understands the message. No, you’re not aiming for a state of trance with pretty visuals, but a visually enjoyable short video statistically is likely to be played more than something which is long and has a very definitive end.
We like to try and transition from the end slate back into the beginning with the right amount of timing in between, but do recognise when this might not be suitable or possible. Call to Actions are very important, for instance.
Where to host the video
If you can, try to upload the video to the actual social network. Doing so guarantees many of the qualities that define social video above, including autoplay and looping playback. More significantly, a square format video can be uploaded, meaning you can fill up that feed view with your content.
If you enjoyed this content, try having a coffee with us! We’re always happy to talk you through the above in more detail. Cardiff Bay has a cool range of cafes, too!
Thank you for reading,