Producing videos for social platforms is more complicated than taking officewide Starbucks orders.

A year ago, brands and publishers were wrestling with whether and how to make vertical and square versions of the horizontal videos they had traditionally produced and posted to YouTube and, more recently, Facebook. And that was just visual formatting. Now they have to consider not only how people may view a video, but also whether they’ll listen to it.

Until about a month ago, the dilemma seemed to be getting easier. Facebook had been telling brands and publishers to create videos that could be watched with or without sound, and some publishers were putting out stats backing up Facebook’s point. LittleThings and Mic told Digiday that 85 percent of their Facebook video views happened without sound, and Render Media CEO Vic Belonogoff told me that his food site, Cooking Panda, sees 80 percent of its Facebook videos watched without sound. Given Facebook’s dominant position, some brands and publishers took that to mean that socially distributed mobile videos in general needed to be audio-optional.

“Because Facebook is such a big part of the video ecosystem today, especially in mobile, clients, creatives, people on the agency side, even our directors — all of us are thinking about how are we going to tell a story if the end usage is on mobile in an audio-agnostic way,” said Greg Manago, Co-President of Mindshare Content + Entertainment.

But it turns out that mobile doesn’t always equate to silent cinema. In early June, Snapchat announced that two-thirds of the videos posted to its mobile app are viewed with the sound on. That stat “totally took me aback,” said Gloria DeCoste, Head of Digital Strategy at Nestlé USA.



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