Video app development solutions for “the year of video marketing”

2015 Year of Video

2015 has been hailed by many as “the year of video marketing”. Online video has been seen as a big deal for a long time of course, but much of its business potential seems to have remained untapped. Are you using video creatively in your company? To boost leads or to engage your community? No? Yet three days after encountering a media offering the average person remembers 10% of text, 65% of an image, and 95% of a video. It’s no surprise for us to see video and marketing based companies trumpeting the use of their products and specialties as “the next big thing”, but it’s undeniable that video does effectively engage audiences and should be seen as a massive marketing opportunity with as many as 46% of video views transforming into further viewer engagement. One way to really tap into that potential is through the development of video based apps. Which is one good reason why you should expect a big increase in demand for this type of app over the coming year.

Twitter’s video gambit

One high profile example of course is Twitter, who launched their video service back in January. Now available as both an iPhone and Android app the video service runs alongside their existing Vine service and attempts to fill a niche in slightly longer videos (30 seconds). Given Vine’s success and Twitter’s inbuilt inclination towards brevity, some commentators are questioning Twitter’s decision to widen their video platform portfolio with a longer video service. Twitter though will of course be anticipating that this move will help them to release the large potential for native branded advertising. In fact, Twitter are so convinced of the importance of video in social media that a month ago they brought out yet another video based app service, Periscope. This time the hook is live video, but the underlying principle remains the same, video = big engagement.

Video Apps taking off

It’s not just big names who are putting video to good use though. All manor of smaller companies and original startups are looking for ways to make video work for them. The team at Ekreative has recently been working on a video based app with an interface and video capturing experience similar to Vine’s. The app aims to take advantage of video’s huge marketing potential with an original twist of its own (watch this space for further release details!) It’s a great app idea, but making it a reality comes with a unique set of challenges for the development team.

Development challenges

The first question to be answered? “Where will you save the videos?”.

  • Known brands with large budgets might well choose to build their own server, but the amount of space required even for the most modest of video based apps makes this a nightmare option for the rest of us. Simply accommodating for a range of user internet speeds means multiple saves of each video and as you add convenience to the user, your server will become bigger and bigger.
  • Youtube is a great option in that it’s free and can handle any traffic (300 hours of video get uploaded to youtube every minute!), but on top of the likelihood of people watching your videos away from your site, it’s also plagued with the possibility of videos being taken down on copyright grounds.
  • Our prefered solution is of course Amazon Web Service. Specifically we take advantage of the Amazon S3 storage solution in combination with the Cloudfront and Elastic Transcoder services to ensure that as well as coping with a wide range of video formats, video delivery comes at high speeds around the world. As well as being convenient, as most mobile apps today already require Amazon cloud hosting, the pricing is also fair in that it’s tied directly to usage, so you pay for exactly as much space as you use, no more. It’s also convenient in terms of necessary set up time, you might expect the video hosting element of a project to take weeks of set up, but hooking up Amazon Web Services to your app can be achieved in just thirty to forty hours.

That’s just the beginning though, there are plenty more details to consider: ever wondered why so many services use a square shaped video format? Instagram, Vine, Cinamatic, it’s not just a matter of style, there’s a practical reason these apps chose the square format too. With traditional rectangular video, we soon encounter problems with aspect ratios when the video is being played on a range of devices, each with its own dimensions. The square video format is not only an iconic feature of the social media age, but allows such apps to bypass the complexities of scaling videos of a variety of formats to look good on all devices.

Kreative solutions

As more and more companies try to unlock the engagement and marketing potential of video based apps, we’ll find ourselves seeing more and more of these types of projects. It’s a great product to be able to offer, but the ideas mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of development considerations. What recording style will you use? (the Ekreative team went with the tap-screen to record option), will you allow for voiceover recording? (we did). There’s always room for kreative innovation and new ways of doing things, which in turn often seem to open up new opportunities. So keep on experimenting and share in the comments below: what’s been your experience of different video delivery solutions? What else needs to be considered when implementing video in an app? What problems have you encountered? What solutions have worked best for you?