Consumers’ tendency to be glued to their smartphones at all times has given rise to a new era of marketing. Snapchat? Now the trendy platform for retailers seeking to connect with fans. Instagram? A great display channel for artsy, creative product photos.
However, one facet of mobile marketing in particular has experienced a complete resurgence: mobile video. Small-screen-optimized videos are being played on individuals’ commutes, over lunch breaks, in between television programs and while browsing desktop sites. Retailers are now, more than ever, leveraging this medium to showcase their products or services to target audiences in interactive, memorable ways.
Brands including LOFT, Unilever, Volvo, and Sephora are transforming themselves into mobile video mavens with their recent marketing forays, paving the way for others to follow in 2016. Their innovative use of short clips and social influencers has propelled them to the forefront of the minds of millennials – a demographic with a notoriously short attention span.
Instagram-worthy commercials: To promote its fall 2015 collection, LOFT tapped actress Busy Philipps to star in several comedic YouTube videos. The retailer then shared sneak peeks and snippets of Ms. Philipps’s adventures in its autumnal clothing on its Instagram account, enticing followers to click the link in its bio to access additional content. Fans were quick to tag their friends and go on re-posting frenzies when the humorous mobile videos first debuted, undoubtedly aided by LOFT’s creation of a designated hashtag for the campaign: #averybusyfall.
The full-length videos were posted on LOFT’s YouTube channel and garnered over 10,000 views more than most of its previously uploaded clips. The power of social influencers and celebrities can never be understated, especially when a retailer is looking to busy up its social media traffic and gain an army of new followers.
Backseat driving: Mobile video is removing the dreaded hassle of taking new vehicles on a test drive, thanks to a piece of cardboard. While Google Cardboard is arguably more valuable than a typical Amazon Prime shipment box, it is able to remind brands how a simple idea can evolve into a complex, memorable experience.
Automaker Volvo offered a series of branded Cardboard sets, which consumers were able to set up at home. Then, participants were required to download the Volvo app, slide their smartphone into the Cardboard headset, and enjoy a simulated test drive in the brand’s XC90 SUV. This kind of convenience was, until then, unparalleled in the car-buying process, highlighting how mobile video is often times just a few steps away from an awe-inspiring virtual reality experience.
On-the-go tutorials: Unilever’s Axe brand joined the mobile video frenzy last month by launching a slew of 15-second clips featuring quick styling advice for men. Instagram followers were able to gather tips and tricks on curating their individual look, as well as view live-action answers to common grooming questions. Relevant and creative enough to appeal to the average millennial male? Absolutely. Memorable enough to keep Axe’s new Advanced Collection top-of-mind for shoppers in men’s grooming product aisles? Even more so.
Product-starring clips: Seldom does a marketer surpass beauty giant Sephora when it comes to advertising products in organic ways. The retailer frequently treats Snapchat and Instagram followers to short videos – often times featuring well-known beauty and style bloggers – that toe the line between commercials and tutorials. Several months ago, Sephora promoted the Too Faced Bon Bon palette with a several-second-long video featuring a model’s eyelid growing more colorful and dramatic as layers of shadow were added on. The post’s caption offered viewers a step-by-step instruction guide of creating the final look, a purple smoky eye.
The post’s comments were unsurprisingly filled with open desires to purchase the product and practice makeup application with friends. Another home run for Sephora was the brand’s decision to preview the hotly-anticipated 2016 birthday gifts for rewards members on Snapchat. Followers received the first glance at the freebie items in a teasing mobile clip, proving how the photo-sharing app can sometimes be a more effective promotional tool than an expensive catalog shoot.
Ultimately, mobile video is projected to play a paramount role in many retailers’ 2016 mobile marketing strategies. Brands that have not yet reshuffled their mobile budgets to make room for video may find themselves at a disadvantage, especially if they are setting their sights on the ever-important millennial audience.
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