On this week's Creator's Tip, we are joined by Jeroen "JW" Wijering, the co-founder of JWPlayer, and one of the world's leading experts on optimizing video for mobile. He shares some very useful tips on how to optimize video content for mobile devices and on-the-move consumption.

Three Best Practices for Mobile Video Optimization

Mobile video consumption is growing at an enormous rate, and 50% of video views will be via a mobile device by 2016. So what steps should creators and video marketers take, particularly around these three components:

  • Responsive web design
  • Adaptive Streaming / HTTP Live Streaming
  • Call to Actions

#1 Optimize Your Website to Be Responsive on Mobile

Responsive design is a very big deal for websites these days, and if you are hosting videos on your own site, then think about how viewers access video landing pages via their mobiles. Your unique video landing pages for mobile viewers should be a more trimmed-down version so they get the full value of the player without missing out on the extra text and images that are provided. Jeroen confirmed that the JW team were seeing a massive drop-off rate on mobile devices for brands that don't have a responsive site.

A responsive site is one that has been created so that all of the content on a page remains consistent, no matter how the viewer accesses it. If a viewer is using their PC or laptop screen to view then they are obviously getting the full view of the website. If they access via a tablet or smartphone, the page will retract to fit the screen they are viewing the content on. You can see an example of responsive design below - see how the mobile page content realigns compared to the full desktop version?

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responsive website design

#2 Encode Videos to Work on Mobile Devices

There are still a lot of people who encode their videos so they only work on desktops. Ideally, you need to encode your videos in such a way that they work for smartphones and tablets. There are two approaches you can take for this:

Short-form Video: Use a MP4 file for videos that last up to 4 minutes in length.

Long-form Video: Use Apple's HTTP Live Streaming. This technology "responds to a client’s bandwidth capacity and adjusts the quality of the video stream between multiple bitrates and/or resolutions". Basically, it allows you to stream longer videos to mobile devices, and it's the secret sauce behind YouTube and Netflix. With this 'Adaptive Streaming', you can watch a Netflix movie on your phone, and then cast it to a bigger screen and it still looks great.

http live streaming hls apple

#3 Ensure Your Call to Actions Work on Mobile Screens

In terms of video marketing, it is essential that the call to actions that you have implemented on your video landing pages (email sign up, overlays etc) are working for the mobile user. Use big icons that are easily clickable. You can have an awesome video that's delivered in the right format, but if your CTA is too small for people to click then you will lose out on potential conversions.

Are you implementing best practices for video playback on mobile? Let other creators know what is working for you in the comments below.