Many consumers prefer video as a means to obtain news or interact with organizations online.
A certain variety of video—short spots with optional audio—has proved immensely successful but has yet to be adopted by public relations pros, corporate communicators and marketers.
As these videos remain almost exclusively the province of news media outlets, it’s clear that branding experts and marketers are missing out.
Here’s an example from Now This News:
On social media, make audio optional.
Although these videos have audio, listening isn’t required. This is important, considering that most people consume videos via auto-play from their social media news feeds.
On Facebook, “audio off” is the default for auto-play videos, and organizations are catching on. Many groups have recognized that getting the news out—even without the audio—is preferable to forcing people to turn it on.
Watching videos without audio is so common that all video ads on Facebook will soon feature captions. According to Facebook research, 80 percent of people respond negatively when video ads play the audio without being prompted by the user.
Twitter, too, has caught on. It announced recently that auto-play video ads will appear at the top of all users’ timelines.
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As more consumers thumb through their feeds on a phone rather than on a computer monitor, many choose to leave their phones on silent throughout the day.
Despite this, Facebook data show that 41 percent of videos are intended to be watched with audio. Consider this video ad from Bank of America:
Marketers and advertisers take note: Whether you’re buying ad space in a social media feed or just hoping users share your video, producing it so audio isn’t required is becoming a must for mobile. Building the meaning of your message into visuals will reach a wider audience.
To reach an audience on the go, opt for something short.
Both Twitter and Facebook have found that people consume information much faster on mobile devices—1.7 seconds, versus 2.5 seconds on a desktop.
“People can recall mobile news feed content at a statistically significant rate after only 0.25 seconds of exposure,” AdAge reported. “When people watch the first three seconds of a video on Facebook, 65 percent of those people go on to watch at least 10 seconds of the video, and 45 percent make it to 30 seconds.”
The use rates on Twitter are similar. In both cases, the default is “audio off.”
If you’re looking to expand your audience through social media, consider producing short videos with non-essential audio.
Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology . A version of this story first appeared on his blog