YouTube capabilities have been built into iPhones and Android devices since their inception and with 1.2 billion mobile web users worldwide according to a company spokesperson, it’s no wonder a big chunk of them would like to see more YouTube content tailored for those users. In fact, YouTube’s mobile site takes in more than 600 million views a day, just behind regular YouTube. That’s a lot of viewers on a daily basis who want immediacy and on-the-go videos as opposed to enjoying more than 3 minutes of video content from their favorite creators. Current mobile speeds have an impact as to how much time users on their smartphones will spend time on YouTube mobile.
The current state of YouTube mobile brings me to the next point. How should creators try to optimize their videos for mobile devices? Here are two things to consider when trying to tailor your content to the iPhone, Android and Blackberry audience.
The Shorter The Better
In a recent interview with Search Engine Watch, Watch.tv resident expert Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff pointed out that mobile users will less likely sit through a 10-minute clip but will more likely watch a good 1 minute video. Why? The immediacy of mobile watching and the expense and speed of using 3G or 4G is what matters to that audience. He explains, “I worked for a company years ago and we discovered something really important to our viewership. If we cut down the average length of a video by one half, we would generally see the viewership triple. The “sweet spot” for video changes constantly (mostly trending toward shorter and shorter videos) and with mobile and the increased cost of 4G bandwidth to the consumer, time is definitely money.”
Is It Worth Your Time?
For creators who live and breathe YouTube, it all depends on your audience. If you’re updating every day (e.g. vloggers), you could try a 60-second digest of today’s topic and tease your mobile viewers into checking out the full video when they have the chance to check their laptops. It goes to Nemcoff’s assertion that it has to be short and sweet to reach your audience. He adds, “You can always make a separate mobile-friendly (and shorter) edit of your longer piece. Yes, your longer video may be a work of pure genius, but if your mobile audience/customer has to wait forever for it to load or is on the go, they may never see the whole thing anyway.”
On the other hand, those who work with high production and value may feel that tailoring their videos solely for the smartphone audience may cheapen their value and turn off viewers who watch them for the production value. It’s not for all creators just yet, but some may actually get value going mobile.
Although YouTube’s mobile site has the large audience to tailor specific content, the infrastructure and training has yet to produce quality videos just for that demographic. That doesn’t mean that content creators can try to experiment; when you try and try again, you will come to the realization that something will work in the end. So if your creative juices call for shorter content, make it worthwhile for the mobile audience. Otherwise, it can wait when technology catches up with elaborate production and longer timeframes.
How should YouTube creators and artists try to reach out to mobile users? Should they focus more on making more clips optimized for smartphones or just focus on quality? Tell us below.
[Sources: Search Engine Watch]