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09-15-2020: Insights on Mobile Video with Ted Harrison

September 15, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT


Ted Harrison is one of the top 5 experts in the world on mobile video. @TedVid leads the editing and optimization team at Twitter ArtHouse where he enables brands to run impactful content that demands attention and enhances customer loyalty.

Ted’s team edits and produces 1,000+ Twitter ads a year for Fortune 500 brands and consults on many more.

Cory Miller had the great fortune of hiring Ted as an intern at iThemes when he was in college and they’ve stayed in touch ever since. We’re so excited to interview him to share some of his knowledge on this huge field.

He shared a framework he and his team at Twitter uses to ensure the effectiveness of a short video:

It’s simple but profound … they ask … what do you want people to Think, Feel, Know, Do DIFFERENTLY after they’ve seen the spot.

That’s a great framework for ALL your content.

Here’s the replay if you missed it, or even if you want to listen again.

This webinar is open to everyone. Please share this link with your friends and colleagues.

Machine Transcript

Cory Miller 00:02
Everybody, welcome to this great conversational interview I’m going to have with my good friend Ted Harrison. Now Ted, we go way, way back. And the subject for today, though, we’re not going to do too much reminiscing, we may, you know, a little bit of video reminiscing there. But we’re going to be talking about mobile video. Ted is one of a handful like you can with your fingers in the world that has the kind of expertise Ted has. Ted works for Twitter, specifically with their arthouse division. I’ll let him tell more about that in just a second. But if you have question for him, we’re going to be diving in just talking about mobile video and just probably mini video in general too, because Ted’s been doing this for a long time. A lot of his videos before he was even at Twitter when I knew him, went crazy viral. And I mean, he spent a long time a long part of his career, doing really, really good video or which, partly, there was a part where 10 In his career, he got to be with us. I get to work with Ted and I themes. And I don’t know if your official title was, what your official title was Ted, but like, I remember we had some cool videos that should have went viral. Sure.

Ted Harrison 01:16
Yeah, it is. It’s great to be here, Cory. Thanks for having me. It is a bit of a blast from the past when I started thinking about all the video content we were making back with AI themes back in the day. And it’s fun to be talking to you, the first boss that wasn’t related to you know, working with my dad on some stuff, but yeah, took a chance on me. And so thanks for that. I appreciate it.

Cory Miller 01:39
No, if I realized that, by the way, I don’t know is that Yeah, I guess you’re pretty early, but that was awesome. Tonight. Yes. So 10. I went way back actually met each other to church. And he went off to Baylor University and studying and then one summer I think we heard that you were coming back. We’re like, Hey, you just Want to do something cool here? We kind of kept track on, you know, trying to keep track on really good people and been thrilled to watch Ted’s career as it just taken off. We got the chance we had to talk a couple times a year. And I get to catch up on like, what cool thing are you doing today? Where have you been last month? You know, before COVID it was even cool stuff and I know you’ve been going but could you tell us a little bit about what you do for? Well, if you want to tell a little bit of your backstory like how did you get to mobile and video I know video has been a passion of yours for a long time but give us a little background and then tell us what you do a Twitter today.

Ted Harrison 02:37
Yeah, absolutely. So I actually started kind of making videos in my like room when I was 12 years old on just like an old camcorder. And that was a that was early on. And then a few years later, like I guess I guess like five or six years later YouTube became a bigger thing. So they’re already launched but became a bigger deal and it for it just I remember posting my first YouTube video in 2006. And being like, wow, other people get to see this. I think it was like stop motion Legos that sort of kicked it all off there on the internet. So I’ve always kind of had a fascination with not just the video portion of like creating it process. I’ve actually had a really interesting though a lot of deep dives essentially into how it gets distributed, how people pick it up what people are willing to look at and share. And so with that it kind of became a natural progression of video work that I’ve done that kind of lands squarely in my term lands, being a mobile video space, actually, for a long time started doing video work for Baylor University, not for the university, but also just like as a fan of the football team and creating like videos that would also went viral, and hundreds of thousands of views on those videos alone. And so will all those little things actually kind of work aside from just the typical video production I was doing for digital in general and all those things can help inform my kind of career decisions as I went along, I worked at a couple of agencies started in Dallas, Weber Shandwick and then transferred to the New York office about seven years ago and worked there. And then I transitioned to FleishmanHillard. And both of which is another agency. And both of those I was basically working in kind of like their upstart digital video production sections. And then from there, I actually had a former colleague, colleague of mine at Weber Shama for my first agency job who reached out to me about an opportunity at Twitter. And at that point, a lot of my work, it’s kind of like I had realized even that people were consuming video on mobile more than any other device. In fact, at this point, I believe the statistic is it’s over 75% of video online, is actually consumed on a mobile device, so a tablet or just a cell phone. And so with those numbers, you kind of go Okay, what and I’ve actually even realized lately, people still aren’t talking about it quite enough about how you design for like the fact that a lot of times people are viewing video with a lot of other stuff going on around it and a very small real estate window. So, that’s kind of my journey to get to Twitter, my role kind of started actually as a contractor role. And with basically, you know, this, like, this idea that that brands needed to help making video for Twitter be because a lot of times, you know, the mobile platforms are getting these long, 60 years 92nd anthem television commercials, and people are putting them on Twitter or on Instagram or Snapchat and going, why isn’t this working for us? It’s because no one’s gonna watch 60 seconds of your ad in a very, you know, on their phone. If you think about it, we have one of my favorite slides we actually present sometimes our clients is like, we just actually put nothing on the screen and make them sit there for 30 seconds to realize how long even 30 seconds is. And so we started thinking about so they we started working in that way and it originally was just like helping brands cut down so whether like consulting with them on that or actually doing the work for them. And now it’s expanded to this global thing my team does work in, you name the country pretty much that we’re in with It’s most countries and we do work for the brands, they’re just recently finished a project in Indonesia, you wouldn’t think it but that’s getting 15 million views and alongside this, like, partner and you know, and that we have in Indonesia, and we’re helping it’s over the brand, and I have no idea what the ad is saying myself. But fortunately, I have a great global team is able to jump in and help. But a lot of those principles that we use to help basically drive this, the view rates and engagement and all of our brand effects studies are all things that like we are basically able to take that data and information we’re getting on, like what we’re learning actually apply it to these videos so that brands are running all over the world. And it’s crazy to see how it works. And there’s some slight variance at times and markets and regions. But for the most part, a lot of the true like base value like human engagement with visuals is like that’s all pretty similar across the board.

Cory Miller 06:50
That’s crazy. You went back to the 75% kind of mark about video and I totally believe it. I mean, you know my kids. One of the things They asked me as Can I watch your phone, you know? And then they’ve got iPads and Chromebooks for their, you know, virtual classrooms. But that that kind of really like I think most of us go Yeah, mobile video but like you’ve waited and spent so much time in this to see all of this kind of traction, this phenomenon is not going away. It’s only going further. And that’s so fascinating when you said like the constraints of very small piece of real estate, how do you I think you said view rate and engagement and kind of some of the metrics you use. So talk to me about like, okay, so it’s a small I want to dive in, and there’s so much here so we’re gonna have a lot of fun talking to these things, but like, so talk, would you kind of give me your thought process about it’s on this very video is on this very piece of small real estate. And how you get someone to interact with that, like you made the mention of You know, 62nd spots aren’t really gonna, like resonate on Twitter, particularly on any platform for someone specifically an ad, but like, Can you tell me your approach when you’re working with someone about this little piece of small real estate?

Ted Harrison 08:16
Yeah. And I think that I’ll just like walk through a real role, like a real example. So we were working with Google, recently on an ad that they were they were running to run on our platform. And they had, what’s interesting is they actually had a bunch of star power involved within the ad ads and celebrities. And what’s interesting is like, those are some instances where you could probably go over like what we would say the sweet spot for mobile, which would be six to 15 seconds, but you can kind of push it to go over if you’ve got some slip like starpower or whatever, but Google’s not going to settle for just like an excuse to do it. They’re going to do the best in every regard. Right? So we were able to work with them to kind of really kind of do everything that I was like a very fun project for me because it was like, oh, they’re like letting us loose to really like get involved with How that should look on mobile. So they already have this ad shot ready to go. It’s a 32nd. TV spot. But what we decided to do is was take apart the frame and really think about what’s going on. So we actually chose the sections and to make it 15 seconds, that included the characters throughout the video that were wearing the same colors as Google branding, which you think that’s a very small detail it is, but it’s it makes an outsize impact when you’re talking about that going just out to the general public and seeing it and the number of times and impressions it’s going to have to an audience. So we’re intentionally selecting, like, even at that level of detail to bring out the branding that Google has, because one of the things that happens too often in that real estate, is that you lose the idea. You’re like, well, let’s do something visually stunning, but you either do that, or you do something where it’s just like kind of jarring. And just a bunch of branding and it makes people not like your brand. But there’s there’s definitely a way to integrate all those things without feeling that way. So one way to do it is naturally in the environment. The other thing that we did was we made sure to actually animate the Google logo. And we actually also use the colors and use that as transitions between scenes so that at any point in time when someone’s moving to the feet, let’s say that they’re not intending to stop on that video, they would actually see the colors be moving alongside and in that why emotion we talk often about, if there’s vertical motion or horizontal motion. And without y motion, we’re able to also make sure that it feels like a natural part of like, particularly Twitter speed. Obviously, you can think about that differently when you’re looking at maybe an Insta story or something like that, where you’re going left to right, you those types of things are things that they all seem small, but they’re very actually easy decisions to make upfront when you’re producing content that will lead to a better result. And when you’re talking about putting your content out there, the goal is every incremental thing to be helping Yeah. And so, one thing I’ll say on that video, in particular is before when they did a B test, it was just a 32nd. So the MRC standard view rate is basically it’s I think, currently about like two seconds or three seconds. In at 50%, basically in view, so if videos give us 1% in view on a phone in any platform, and it’s been viewed for three seconds, that counts as a view, our view rates for this Google thing went from about 30, some odd percent, a little over 30, to about 65%, just with the tweaks that we made overall. So while we’re doing this, and so then also the brand lift, you can see obviously, the higher longer view rate, the brand lift is going up in terms of purchase intent is for Pixel phone, in terms of and this is all run with Nielsen and alongside this for purchase intent, message awareness, brand awareness. And my favorite stat about all this is it doesn’t actually affect the brand favourability your brand favourability goes up, because guess what people are long past the idea of being like, trick like they’re okay with being tricked into seeing advertising. We don’t want you to call it what it is. It’s an average. So that’s kind of a lot of information. There’s a lot to unpack there, probably but it’s little things like that. And the way we integrated some captions even into the elements in the scene that that really brought out a difference. And that be right.

Cory Miller 12:07
And on scale you’re talking about, I think it was a Singapore ad. That’s like 15 million impressions. You know, on that skill, every little bit does matter. But I think it’s such good takeaways back here. Okay, so my first question of a lot that you said there was getting your message across in six to 15 seconds. Like, how do you get that that’s an elevator pitch on steroids. Like, yeah. Because you found that that’s the attention span of an ad and then that this constraint of six to 15 seconds on a small screen, like you’ve got to be sharp. I mean, the approach that is so interesting, so do you all, do you all make suggestions or do you create the content for them? Or is it a match Have all that, you know? And how does that process work to try to figure out what the message is? And then cram it down into small little tight spaces and six seconds.

Ted Harrison 13:10
Yeah, no. So that’s all that’s kind of great question. My team in particular, within Twitter, our house actually does do the work alongside the brand. We don’t create anything net new, we basically take what they have and kind of rework it for them. We do have a part within our house that we kind of helped produce and oversee net new content creation, if they’re in a pension need that to happen. But that is all run kind of in an external agency, that we’re we’re still kind of overseeing the production. But one so regardless of which direction you’re going, aren’t we do help inform a lot of those like those questions. One of the things that I thought was actually really interesting, and I’ve actually been finding this lately I’ve been curious actually, to hear your thoughts on this query, is I keep finding more and more useful information outside of just like my particular world, you know, that I like living day to day, that’s really beneficial to me like then I’m like, wait, why isn’t That being applied to what I’m doing. And so I happen to come across like a speed reading test that kind of got to how many words per second people can read. And it was completely, you know, isolated and completely, you know, in other in another category, it wasn’t had it had anything to do with advertising. I was like, Wait a second, if people can only read four to five words per second, I’ve got about 15 seconds, you know, total the Vega message, I better not make sure my entire message is shorter than that. And then on top of it, if I’ve only got about three to six seconds to really make a bunch of brand impact, my message should be like 15 words, and that’s like, data backed. And so again, this is going into the thinking about the fact that you don’t have like it’s not it’s not a TV setting, you don’t automatically have the viewers attention, you’re trying to gain it and earn it. And with that, what we found is what we like to say is like singular messaging will cut through the noise of a busy feed. And so I think I even tweeted last night just because it just based on some conversations I was having, don’t overthink Your call to actions or what your message is too much, because the clearer you are, the more it helps the end user go, Oh, that’s right. That’s why this is being presented to me, you’re not wasting their time, and you’re not wasting your time making this ad that’s not effective for you. And, and so we think about things on that level. And then it when we really do advise and think about like if we’re creating it, and like really trying to push a new message. So sometimes we use like old footage or other stuff to make something new. We try to miss we can dissect this in a bit a bit more of a query, the things that we really impress upon them is to think about one of four things that we want them to do, do we want the audience to think feel no, or do something different? So by focusing on one of those four things, what we have found is that you end up doing kind of at least three before if not all four, even if the message is short. So the the best example of this is the shortest campaign message of all time in slack. I don’t know if everyone is familiar with what Rei runs every year on Black Friday where they tell everyone to hashtag OPT outside. So they’re telling you to that’s two words OPT outside, and three of you include the brand ROI. And in that what they told you to do is do something different. They focus on getting people to do something different. But inevitably, you now know so think feel no do something different, you now know, okay, our eyes closed, because that’s part of their campaign, they’re, they’re closed on Black Friday, you start to think about your own consumerism, you start to feel kind of bad about it and maybe making a better purchase decision next time. And again, doing something different. And going back to the doing something different, you know, component of it. So all four are accomplished by focusing on one. So we often that’s how we advise our clients and the work teams that we’re working with how to really consolidate their message.

Cory Miller 16:52
Okay, that right there everybody was worth the whole time. Thanks, Ted for your time. Oh my god. No, you know, it just One, we’re getting tapping into a foremost expert on this type of platform that like at that granular and skill level that you’re doing, we can apply back and go. So I go, that’s a fantastic framework and the thinking about it in the 15 words you said to Okay, so it helps with the clarity you go, I can only do one thing and I need to do it. So crystal clear that when you’re gone, or when that message, I mean, this applies past mobile video. But when that message like when they hit my front page of my site, think no do feel differently. And you have six seconds, let’s say to get that done. I think there’s a there’s almost a freeing part with that constraint, because you have to be extremely clear and you got to go. What’s the one thing I want to leave with now? I think a lot of us struggle with. I don’t know what that is. What’s the one thing I want to pick 15 things like, what you’re talking about a skill is just so crazy. Okay, and I love the art I example of OPT outside that that’s such a classic one, okay? Gosh, I don’t even know what to do. Now Ted with one, I’m just sitting there going, that’s a framework I want to like, use because part of our conversation, I want to take back selfishly and go, I want to do more better on video, you know, and I think thinking through some of these type of frameworks and approaches and things like that is just so critical. Okay, where do we go next? Get my head spinning now.

Ted Harrison 18:27
Well, I can add one. One thing that I think is interesting on top of it D, is because it’s funny to talk about how the constraints are freeing. And the quote that I annoyingly tell my team all the time, his boundaries lead to better creativity and effectiveness. And I think that the reason that’s the case is and it’s true, like so I this is a kind of a cliche at this point, but I’ve said this so many times. Someone on my team is like rolling over right now like rolling their eyes. But JK Rowling CS Lewis JRR Tolkien George RR Martin all the fantasy writers who happen to have initials for names. I don’t know why that’s like apparently a prerequisite to write a fantasy novel. But they went, they had to kind of establish like what couldn’t happen in their world, right before they could be creative within it. And I think that that’s kind of the same thing applies when you’re talking about Garner garnering attention and like directing the audience to get to the point that you want them to get to. And so by doing those things, that you can also even think about that as writers to kind of your point about how you’re clear about what your message is, what’s the high level thing you’re trying to get across, that’s important that audience to get them to do one of those four things. They’re doing the same thing in the writing. All of that can be been applied over to, you know, when you’re creating your digital content.

Cory Miller 19:46
Yeah, I love the framework. And I’m thinking about how I use my Twitter profile, you know, and, like, all of the audience’s that I particularly have, like the people here today or anything, I think, okay, these are people People that are interested in something I’m doing now how do I get their attention or share a message and make progress with that systematically over time? But it makes me think like, okay, you said earlier, message awareness and brand awareness. And I’m the first one to go. Absolutely. Like, yes. But a lot of companies we know, particularly on the smaller space that we’re talking about not Twitter size, you know, are thinking about ROI and it’s, it’s a hard sell sometimes to say, you know, message and brand awareness they want, like, we’re just talking to a company yesterday, their emails aren’t, you know, converting, like they used to what’s like, Okay, well, hold on, you know, you, you’re wondering why there’s not so much of an open rate as you used to have is because you’re just, you’re just selling, selling, selling, selling. Okay, back to this whole ROI thing. So how do you think about, you know, this is the piece of content we’ll just back out of what arthouse doesn’t you do an RFP for our house, but like, how do I use that particular message and how do I Think about return on investment. What are your thoughts there?

Ted Harrison 21:05
Yeah, I think one thing that’s what’s what’s interesting, and we’ve applied this framework to talking about it. And again, this experience on this most recently is obviously on a broader scale. But when I think about talking about this, like, even as Let’s go, let’s like try to put it in the use case of like a nonprofit, so you’re on like this small of a budget as possible, just as obviously we want to, but we want to convert someone to donate. So that’s already a huge lift. One of the things that I would probably start with in terms of getting to that place is still the framework of think field know or do something different. And I would lay out clearly Okay, which one of these do I want to do first, especially if I’m thinking about the return on investment, I’m going to be thinking about retargeting, and how that’s going to apply to my my process here. So I’m going to start with moving them down that funnel that we all know is like the critical component of every that’s keeping the wheels turning on everything globally right now. Especially go especially now that everything happening digitally and virtually. And so what my favorite exercise in this regard is to start with what I don’t want. Because I think often it’s easier for me to say, I know what I don’t want to communicate. And, and because what it does is I end up then if I’m thinking about what I want to say, I get too caught up in every little last detail. But when I’m thinking about what I don’t want to I keep coming back to like in the back of my head, what I do want to do, or what I wanted the audience to feel are now a really good a really good thing that I would say to you would do with like, let’s say your nonprofit or your small business, is to be upfront with that fact. I think that’s like one of the superpowers of being small is claiming to be small. Like that’s an intrinsic value prop that a lot of brands that I’m dealing with on a day to day basis don’t have. So if you’re able to quickly say we’re never forgetting you, or whatever that is because we know our clients and who we’re reaching out to, that’s an immediate like, I feel feel going back to that the connection is That’s something that’s a very clear message. It’s like I’m not getting that from Verizon, no offense to Verizon. But I’m not going to feel that way at Verizon the way I might with a small business or a smaller nonprofit, I know there’s a one to one relationship here. Even if it’s not truly one to one, the goal is obviously a bit of scale within that, but at least there’s something you probably know the small business, I am not just a name on that spreadsheet somewhere in the back.

Cory Miller 23:23
Good. Okay, so you mentioned kind of in this ROI conversation to like, do you rate in engagement when you’re doing work? What you, you know, you know, you’ve heard this phrase 100,000 times and I know creative types like you are you able to blend this fits, though, like of understanding both worlds business and creative and everything. But, like, we all want to try to measure it, you know, it’s like, you got to measure every single thing when it comes to ROI. Now, you mentioned and if you could unpack this for us view rate and engagement particularly but what is the M Just supposing that that’s part of that, like thing they want they do think like Google did the ad on the phone, they want likes, click throughs or something or view time or something like that, could you just kind of like, unpack what most of the big brands are looking for? How are you measure effectiveness?

Ted Harrison 24:19
Yeah. And I think that it’s a really it’s a very hot topic right now In fact, there’s there’s a couple and I think it’s called common thread collective is an interesting company to follow they’re pretty transparent with particularly the return on investment piece. And, how they do handle especially I’ve been reading a lot of their work because they’re handling a lot of Instagram ads, and I’m just obviously always reading up on anything I can. So if you want to get like very granular about it’s just a place I’d recommend kind of like looking at and looking into and I’m all about knowledge sharing as much as possible. So definitely check that out, not just for Twitter related stuff. But these bigger brands. One of the things that I find interesting it you know, Twitter’s biggest play, you know, Twitter is where you To launch something new or connect with culture, like if you’re going to make that big play, so we play into our shrinks often as we’re pitching what a brand would want to be doing alongside Twitter as well. And so you think about this one of the things that people don’t often know, but it kind of makes sense when you pull back and think about it in the first 48 hours when like a movie trailer drops, the views on Twitter are roughly about, you know, 40 million in that amount of time. And on YouTube, they’re like three, you’re launching on our platform, because that’s where the conversation is happening immediately. And it’s like, now you think, oh, that that makes sense. But a lot of times you to put that framing around what’s what’s each platform, and this is what I would suggest anyone to do, what is each platform superpower? And what’s it going to do for me in my advertising strategy. And so one of the things that we love to see in terms of the lift is is that you know, the results in our qualitative brand surveys that come back through a Twitter insiders program that we have, where we just we have users who basically take And see, like basically that tell us that they remember the campaign and all that kind of stuff. But that’s all that all is done at a statistically significant level. So we get that, but the biggest things that I that shift that we continue to see is the the brands, you know, wanting to get the the cpms, or the cost per engagement or impression or, or CBS excuse me, and not just the cpms because we’re getting the goal is to get to a place where those engagements are, are really good reflection of the monetary value that’s coming back to them in the long run. And obviously, one of the things when you look at the platform landscape right now, one of the ones that really jumps out to me just to be candid is at Pinterest, it’s been really interesting to watch what they’re doing because there’s so many people who are currently leaned into home renovations and all that kind of stuff. So the retail space you can just see flocked to a place like Pinterest because they’re putting their content in the right place. And that’s what’s like one of the fun things and I really do like it Gonna obviously be Twitter first. And one of the things I do like about our company culture is that we are in a place where like, we kind of believe like, if you’re helping our clients and our brands we’re helping, not just us. But for other platforms. It helps everyone involved, the better. The content is a little bit of intangible, the better the content for everyone, the better for, you know, overall. So I see the move more and more into the cost per engagement, because ultimately, they can see in their off line studies, you know, these m&m studies that take, honestly almost up to a year to be able to see the impact of like in store sales or online sales as a result of campaigns. Those things take a long time and cost a lot of money. But we’ve seen those go up as the engagement as basically the cost per engagement actually goes down when they’re making the bid on our platform and went and we are this is one of the teams that helps do that by optimizing the way that that contents paid. I don’t there’s a lot there. It’s like so it’s hard to kind of tie Oh, yeah. But

Cory Miller 27:58
it didn’t get engagement. It can mean like, like it retweet. Making a comment, I guess,

Ted Harrison 28:05
or Yeah, that. Yeah, that’s included as well as click a click through. And I do like to jokingly say sometimes, like brands are like, well, people on Twitter are gonna say something bad about my brand. And I’m like, Yeah, but there’s like some random person you just don’t know who happens to be a target superfan that’s going to come to your events as well. So and a lot of times, those conversations actually are from people who go to your store regularly anyway, they just might have this one off, you know, moment where they weren’t happy with you. So but yeah, it’s that and then that they can there is obviously purchase through the click through rate. And that’s one thing that I think Twitter overall we are currently trying to work and do a better job of because Twitter is so good on that. Go back to the y axis, that we’re very good at the Y we’ve gotten better at the x in terms of just getting over to your notifications or that the you know our spotlight bar or search bar. Those movements are a bit more ingrained. But getting in going into the platform is still something that we do just because there’s so much information happening right in front of you, or she’ll working on developing from a platform, or from a product side as well.

Cory Miller 29:13
I’ve kind of dug in just a little bit on Twitter insights on my own account, you know, and there’s some broad categories and to see, you know, like, tech comes up on mine quite a bit, and kind of use some of that, but it’s so interesting on Twitter in particular, that the stuff that gets the most engagement, I think, is back to your part about kind of, I think it was leaning into this, but she said, be up front, but also lean into who you are. And the stuff that gets the most engagement for me is pictures of my kid or kids or some kind of funny, personable thing. It’s not join me for this webinar at all, you know, and that’s really interesting. Like you said, with Twitter, like it’s part of the conversation, but it’s, like you said you have to change Fourth thing there. But anyway, I don’t know, it just kind of lends to like, the content that you’re sharing. Every time I found is that when you’re more genuine in the show more of you, as a human side, kind of do your point about, lean into who you are, if you’re small, you can out compete the horizon of we’re never gonna forget, you kind of think has such an appeal in this type of content, it seems.

Ted Harrison 30:25
Yeah. And I would say what one of the things that’s interesting is like, we I would consider Instagram a like, look at me platform. And Twitter is like a look at this platform, even when you’re talking about yourself. You’re and again, that goes back to like, kind of what we were talking about, in terms of this is a different use cases for you know, and utilizing the superpowers of each of those platforms. Like sometimes what’s fun, what I have found, it’s similar to me and the engagement I get will vary widely. I can say something very poignant that would get a lot of, you know, like, Oh, that was really good. It’s a good insight, you know, maybe in like a closed door. Meeting, but it gets nothing on Twitter because it just sounds a little too corporate or a little too generic. And so I do think that there’s something to be said for on Twitter, specifically, not taking, not trying to be taking yourself too seriously in the context of, of what else is out there. You never know what your tweet is going to be what’s gonna be right above it, or right below it. In fact, there’s even memes about people being like, the tweet below is such and such and then you never know if you’re gonna land below that tweet.

Cory Miller 31:31
Okay, so I want to bounce off different platforms, something I’ve discovered and just get your feedback on this. Okay, so LinkedIn, you know, for years I’m like most people, I have a link I feels like almost like I just have to, but I don’t know why I had it. And then I would, maybe once a month ago, oh, somebody’s looking at my profile. What is it? And then I’d accept my five or six things. Well, about a year and a half ago, I thought it now’s the time to lean into LinkedIn because I thought okay, professional network for a lot of my products. So here’s something interesting when I was testing out different content types, I really I did maybe one or a couple of videos, but my videos got some traction. But not a ton. But what did get the traction? I’m just curious what you think about this, especially in the six to 15. Second thing was slide decks. So I would take a slide deck, and I was just trying to test out different content types. I like, Okay, well, if they’re going to prioritize video, this is Lincoln’s kind of last game on this, maybe I’ll ride that trend of them promoting that stuff. And slide decks went through, like, I get more attention on my slide decks, you know, five or six things. I’ll just go here’s the five tips. My thesis is the audience. You know, I’ve always said the love language of corporate America is slide decks and spreadsheets. You know, we’re all used to doing a deck. Yeah, but what my thesis is that people, those, those counts way high because I think your, your turn to you don’t want to you don’t have time for a 2000 word article on this. But you could skim to see my insights, you know, just kind of almost flick the, you don’t even really know on LinkedIn. And so I’m just curious what your thoughts of that because I, I don’t know, I’ve been wanting to talk about this anyway because I’m like in the concept of a slide deck is just, it’s a curated thing to give me the high points. Don’t delude me with information. I don’t know. I want to just I don’t want to say too much more.

Ted Harrison 33:32
No, it’s actually a really good insight. And it’s also a good thing to be always be thinking about. I think we would all as anyone marketing, anything would be remiss to not think through the lens whenever you land on any page, like, if you’re not, it can be like a it’s a curse and a good thing to be like thinking about that, or like that kind of or at that level all the time. What what’s interesting about what you said, and I think that you kind of called it out is that people are in that mindset. When they’re on LinkedIn, so well, we actually it actually really does directly apply to what we do at Twitter, we consider people coming to our platform to be in a discovery mindset, right? People are coming because they want to, like that’s where they’re coming to learn something new get you know what’s going on in the world right now. What’s the latest news? Maybe I just saw something on TV, right? Like, like an a sports game or something. And then I know the highlight is going to be on Twitter and like a matter of seconds. So like, that’s why I’m gonna, like use that as a second screen to what’s going on. People are in that mindset. So people are like, oh, but this is something new or new information to me in the soundbite. But that goes back to what I meant about like a generic thing. If you say something that’s like insightful and you don’t have any context, or it just seems kind of corporate people aren’t gonna engage with it because it doesn’t seem to be adding any new value, right? But whenever you provide something new like and like something that people are in the mindset of like wanting to engage in, like people like you to your point, that’s something familiar. They didn’t Know what they’re getting there. And they know, like, Oh, this slides like I can start to imagine in my own head, like what the voiceover on this slide probably is, you know, and I think a really good slide actually does that, you know, I think that all of us probably Aspire that whenever we’re giving a presentation, to not be too literal of what’s on that screen, but to be able to communicate clearly without having to say too much as well. So, and I would say that, you know, Facebook, you’re going to find a lot of stuff that’s like, probably a lot of nostalgia driven stuff because that’s where a lot of people are going to connect with either past friends or, or just friends see what just their network is doing. And, and then on Instagram, it may be more aspirational. There’s an app there’s a look for, like, what’s the you know, what, where is this influencer? Like today? Where What country are they jumping off to? Or what are the trends are they buying into so it’s a more aspirational like look into, into their lives, and I think it’s indicative, I think one brand that does a good job of that. This is actually Twitter one of my it’s my favorite Instagram account. Because if you go look at it, it’s worth your time. It literally just says that Twitter’s account on Instagram and it just is says screenshots of tweets. And that’s all it is. Because it’s playing on the joke of what Twitter is, in comparison to Instagram, it’s a little bit more raw and unfiltered. And if you look at Instagram stories, there’s so many that gets shared, that are just screenshots of tweets that then eventually get you to live on the Instagram platform. So it’s a funny way that the platform the brands and the platforms, as they exist are also playing with each other on those as well.

Cory Miller 36:36
Yeah, okay. All right. Now I want to put I wanna, I want you to put your crystal I’m gonna want you to turn get your crystal ball. Okay. And I actually before we do the crystal ball, I should say that you seen right now, what are the trends and themes you’re seeing? Let’s say in 2021, we’re talking in September 2020. related to you video and then the subset mobile video, what are some of the trends and things you’re seeing now? And then I’m going to say get your crystal ball in folder and say, Tell me what the next I don’t know, 35 years what you’re seeing on the, on the landscape. So first, we go back to, okay, you’re appearing in your scene now, what are the trends and themes that you’re kind of popping out to you with video top? And then if you want the subset of mobile video?

Ted Harrison 37:27
Yeah, I think you know, everyone right now, kind of is a slightly aware of this, because of the way that movies have kind of hit a pause, as well. But because of the lack of production that we’ve had, you’re starting to see kind of a lack of like very high quality or high level production, in terms of just the content itself. So the current like micro trend will be towards the fact that because audiences have gotten used to it, a lower quality looking field will probably resonate more because it feels more like everyone’s day to day. I think that you’ll see and this is this kind of leads into the big macro trend that I think that you’re going to see. I think it’s just as a result of this. There’s actually a lot of iPad apps now. And like, there’s one called, like, there’s like procreate, and a few others that let you do some animation that feels a little bit more professional without having to be a huge artist, or a massive like an incredible artist or animator. Like you don’t even have to understand keyframes as much as like maybe your typical, you know, after effects like power user. So I think that you’ll see a dramatic shift over time, like, especially as like stuff has gotten more realistic animation space, you’ll see a lot of like, very much like computer driven creations essentially a lot of digital work, a lot of kinetic typography, a lot of new interesting ways to communicate character, that don’t rely on the human face as much because A doubt of necessity that that’s happened but be the technology is getting to a place where that’s like a little bit more accessible, to be able to do it without having to have all this like massive expertise. You’re, we’ve seen some stuff from like even my kids that are younger than 10 now that get a hold of some of these apps, and of course, everyone’s kind of seen some of that where the younger that they get on to it, the scarier it gets about how much better they are at you, then, you know, whatever, whatever it is. And so I think that’s kind of a general trend. Like, what’s funny about that, and one of the things that’s just so great about creative creativity in general is it’s both kind of new and it’ll be refreshing as we see, like people come up with these new styles, but it’ll always go back based on some old principles like, I don’t know, it’s worth checking out like the design principles that like Disney has, like used historically if they had like 12 animation design principles about how you garner attention. And, and I think that that’s like where you’ll see a lot of people move like to go back to those basics and think about how they apply those to maybe their product, I think you’ll probably see a lot more, you know, it’s been, we kind of had the phase A long time ago where there was like these characters who were associated with like all these brands, you know, you had like Chester Cheetah, and then they had the Mr. Peanut and he, I think that you might see a resurgence of that, to be honest for a lot of brands and first and for small businesses to think of think through assigning a character that’s memorable, because you don’t have this a person that can be your spokesperson quite as much unless they’re just sitting in front of a computer like we are now being a spokesperson. And the last bit I will say about, like in terms of just like mobile video, specifically, I hope I’m answering as well. But the I think that the big thing that you will see is that this is where we’re really entering where I’m really interested in focus on is truly understanding how the human brain like gives an derives attention. It’s something What do you think about especially mobile advertising Even just content in general, there’s just so much available to you and anyone can make it. So it’ll be like, it’ll be one of the things that you have to understand. You know, people got mad when Twitter went from a chronological timeline to then trying to show you some of the top tweets. And then of course, you still have the option to switch between the two. But part of the reason is because Twitter overall, start seeing a drop at a scale in usage when people are just being because there’s just so much of this content that it’s like, I don’t like Twitter, it’s like, well, Twitter is only as much fun as you put into it, you know, you have to fucking following our people. So if we can help show you some top content, it helps you understand, Oh, right, this has been curated a little bit for me. So what you’ll want to be aiming to do in the future is making sure you’re garnering enough attention that you’re showing up in those places that honestly, a lot of times humans aren’t even deciding if that’s going to be put in front of you. It’s a computer, it’s somehow built into the AI. So I think that little things like that are basics like showing a little bit of motion that directs your attention in a certain space will make a huge difference whenever people are crying. Content there’s been forward.

Cory Miller 42:02
That’s great. Yeah, that totally makes sense. Like, I was just reading before this interview, like an Harvard Business Review thing about some of the changes that COVID particularly has, has made where we’re, I’m not in my office, I’m in my home and actually in my daughter’s room, you know, that’s my now my makeshift office, in the ripple effects and changes that that happens. And to your point about the spokespersons that may not be humans that may be going back to the tissa t type thing. So that’s such a such a good point. You know, the question that like, back to your beginnings and all this is, you know, working on your computer and mashing stuff up and posted to video, a lot of this stuff I think feels out of reach. This is why I even went started with slides on LinkedIn because I think I told you confessed way back in the day I actually used avid and I didn’t know you know, avid the video production editing tool back in a day. And I just watched some things together and made it all work. But video takes a long time, like it is just such a long process. How does somebody like a small business or a content creator or marketer, much like we have in the audience today, you know, leverage some of the things you’re saying, but get it out, like to your point like you didn’t mean this for this, but you know, the lower quality you just can’t do production level quality that a Google or some big company can do. How can we leverage some of these small businesses content marketers and things like that to still leverage video and then the subset mobile video but you know, from a time standpoint, like you mentioned procreate, that’s a thing I bought, you know, but do you have any thoughts about how you could kind of leverage some of these things from someone that doesn’t have a lot of time or expertise?

Ted Harrison 43:55
Yeah. I don’t know if this is an over simplistic answer. But I think that the biggest key is to write well. And what I mean by that is, I feel like too, I shouldn’t say I feel I know from experience that too often, advertisers are so consumed with creating one piece of content that they forget to think about that they have to, you know, there is a content roadmap or a content calendar that they need to fill. And if you write well, you can limit your production time. And so what I mean by that is, we actually did a thought experiment internally to kind of help show some we did some agency roadshow stuff. So these places that are making tons of ads for tons of different brands. And we were able to show that you could write a 92nd ad in such a way that you came out of it with over 300 pieces of content. So you wouldn’t like every six seconds it’s written it’s kind of its own standalone thing, but it’s telling a holistic story. So you’re able to take those slices out right and be able to to use them independently, but they all if they Put back to back to back would tell one story. So when you think about how you’re going to use that, you just so if you write well, basically, you use it. Well, you start with some of your simple messaging that you use in those shorter videos. And as you retarget, you start thinking about using the longer form or the 30, the 32nd would still stand alone. And also, you make sure that you use have somebody new, that’s like a gift for a still image that has all the information that someone might need up on the screen at once. If you do that not Yes, it’s a little bit of trouble up front and writing it because you have to think through all the different elements that happen there. But that was the idea of being able to on the same budget essentially create 300 pieces of content rather than one. That’s much better Proposition A word and much more worth your time or a better use of your time than to try to get to do all these things one off every single time.

Cory Miller 45:50
I love that because it really is such a great ruler. If you go back to this six seconds. You got six seconds in an ad to make it work if you do that the ad goes off in six seconds, but the work and everything behind that. I love that because if you’ve done it even to six seconds, you’ve got something that is distilled down to the powerful one message. You’re thinking through your framework. No, like no way no way think Phil know and do differently. And that is such a good word. Because that hard work to try to condense down to a six even. There’s tons of stuff to go out and expand into a different piece. I really like that. I mean, it’s not to look at it, but look at it more from a macro level and then parse out what you have. That’s really good feedback. Okay, everybody, I’ve been talking with my friend Ted Harrison of Twitter’s Art House X, one of the foremost experts in mobile video. If you have any questions for him, please hit the q&a button right below our videos here on zoom. And we’ll get those questions otherwise I’m gonna keep asking my own questions because I love all this I mean, you know, Ted while people are asking, putting their questions in, you know, I’m really trying to think I want to leverage Ted’s expertise in this time that you so graciously by the way given us thank you to go okay, how can I leverage this like to you know, the personal wellness I think back in the day when you’re with us it I think so we’re doing those live shows and, and the layman was back to your point about you know, how does a big company compete with a small cap or small company compete with a big company was to be the most personable you know, we could and that was just sitting on the sweat it you know, cast was sweating geeks and talking for an hour. And so, you know, in the phenomenon of Tick Tock and I’m the I’m one of those guys that can say Tick Tock and go I’ve never used Tick Tock. I think I know what it looks like. I don’t really I don’t even have it on my app. I don’t there by phone. But I want to lean in users because I know the power of video so so that’s where my whole questions, you know, come From his like, Man, what you’ve learned working with the big brands on the platform called Twitter, I can use from back to YouTube, you know, there’s a question for you. What are you seeing with YouTube? Like you’re you’re, you’re an old school YouTuber. Now working for this thing called Twitter that didn’t exist back when you’re working on all that. What are your thoughts of what are you saying on on YouTube? We haven’t mentioned that today. And I’m curious.

Ted Harrison 48:25
Yeah, I think that you can see. YouTube has been it’s actually a really good question, Cory, because I think that off right now YouTube is in is like a really weird spot where it’s not network television. But that’s definitely kind of where it’s site moved into in terms of like the consumer consumption habits. Yes, I mean, I know even for myself, like especially during quarantine and anecdotal evidence is never the best evidence but I’ve actually seen it kind of play out a lot of times like lunch breaks is like going to my favorite YouTube channel just to see that like, 12 minute clip that I had. The day or whatever from like the people that I’m watching. And so what’s interesting is to see YouTube just actually this week, I think it was, I think it was yesterday. Yeah, it was just yesterday, they reported they just launched a vertical video creator. And I think that’s their play to get back onto the mobile screen. It’s similar to Facebook just also launched their campus version, going back to their roots. And you can see where YouTube was kind of forefront and like making sure that that mobile app worked well. so that people could start consuming YouTube on their phones were frequently and then people moved it being not just on desktop, but on the big screen, because you can easily just screen share, throw it up on Apple TV, but you can see that they’re still trying to make sure that that that method method of putting content out is still accessible on the phone. The best thing I can say about YouTube is for the top tier producers of content on that they’ve done the best job by far of integrating a way to make money off of just YouTube alone. They’ve done a really good job there. about making sure things are monetizable. And there’s a structure in place. There’s a lot of complaints, and I totally understand them from a lot of YouTube creators and they’ve not hit the mark across the board. That’s absolutely true. And I think that’d be the case for anything that’s nascent. Because I think, I think that people often forget, and this is one thing I will say, when I start talking about the platforms at large inquiry, I’m actually curious to hear your thoughts on this. I think people forget that, like Twitter is 14 years old. And so when people are like, you know, Twitter’s like can be chaotic, or it’s a lot. I’m like, well, it’s sport. It’s a 14 year old. You know, like, imagine, imagine what a 14 year old is like in terms of like, just the emotional maturity and I’m on does not save it really on Twitter, because I actually think there’s a lot of good it’s happened on our platform, like quite more so than like the one or two bad things that people like want to harp on. And I think that when you look at like all the other platforms, it’s the same. We’re still kind of teenagers, all the society when it comes to like, manage our digital life and our social lives on these platforms. And so you know, way in some way YouTube might be the most, you know, ready for young adulthood. And that’s why you’ll see them kind of coming back to like, get in the new young kids and help progress them through the same journey because I’m not going to be I’m not Tiktok’s demographic at the moment. But every platform you’ll see it will go back and try to ask how do we continue to get new users at this Gen Z? How do you get them involved as well? So that’s kind of a very, very huge macro level thing to look at. But

Cory Miller 51:30
it all just, I think, to me, underscores the fact that video is such a phenomenon for good reason. I’ve got a seven year old five year old in there, my seven year old thrown in here, quite a bit going, guess what I learned on YouTube, like, and then he’ll talk about this particular channel. I know it’s a channel he he’ll go, I’m a subscriber, like, I’m going to subscriber these people. And this is family like in Utah that puts together these elaborate, you know, things But to your point, I grew up with With network channel programming, he doesn’t know that he knows, you know, YouTube channel programming, which is such an incredible phenomenon now. So, I’m with you, videos only, you know, and you said to the next generation, the younger generations, like there’s a reason why Tiktok and Instagram took off too, because like, you know, Instagram stories, whatever that you know, and then the Tiktok phenomenon is it seems to be very, you know, video focused type stuff that is made it easy for people to create the content posted up there. And that does naturally makes me want to go we’ve got to lean into this because we got to get ahead of where that demographics go. And just like, here’s what’s funny, Ted, you know, I do probably 15 hours of video content webinar content. I am not a video consumer. I like to read, I can read fast, you know, and I know how to kind of pick things apart. So like, it’s It’s in many ways a video is too slow for me, you know, but I can’t You can’t ignore some of the stats you said earlier like 75% is mobile video. The video phenomena like YouTube itself is enormous, let alone Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, all the other social networks use Tick Tock whenever you can say so. It that’s why this conversation I think is so compelling to me.

Ted Harrison 53:27
Yeah, I think it’s it’s a space that ultimately it will just continue to grow in terms of people really focus on like, how you’re producing for it, and I really like about it too. And this goes for, I think this digital space, you know, it used to start on paper, right, like everything started on paper, and then it would become a full, you know, fledged reality. And now it’s all starts and they start online, you know, all the DTC brands and eventually become brick and mortar. And it’s interesting to see getting that level, everything kind of comes out and starts there. It’s like the digital spaces that we have in a platform. We have are often where like, the next thing comes from. And I and I think it’s, it’s important for us to keep staying on top of it, especially the video because it just is the way people can a quickly have content that’s digestible. And also, like, sometimes just be entertained by it, too. We just need that. Like, as well. It’s not just about, you know, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if you see, especially during this time, some more brands decided to just like, we’re gonna own this, like noobs show idea, you know, like, like, this is a show, it’s entertaining. We brand it, it’s our show, we produce it. You know, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more brands take up that mantle in the future. And that’s something you could do at a small as a small business if you have a good idea for what that show is, and it’s somehow related to what your brand is. I still think to this day, I don’t know if either watch the show hot ones on YouTube. But one of the best brand integrations I’ve ever seen was the fact that Tom’s decided to just for like a whole season of that show. You know about hot spicy chicken wings. Just like Yep, we’re just gonna own that, that show me all season. Because it makes sense. I just bought the rights to be able to advertise because dumbs are going to be a necessity after eating hot, spicy chicken wings.

Cory Miller 55:14
Well, it’s a that’s the trend that, you know, I’ve seen where it’s businesses becoming the publishers, platforms like Twitter enable us to be as businesses, publishers, that’s what we did it, I think it’s for years. It’s just, you know, that part that was part of our background, and like, why shouldn’t a business create their like Redbull really is the one I think about that pioneered that. But to your point is, all these technologies, you just talked about YouTube, releasing the vertical video creator, making it lowering the bar to be able to create really good content. So that’s a good reminder, as well, yeah. All right, we got a couple minutes left. Um, gosh, we could keep going but you have lots of stuff to do. Ted you? How can we? How can we find more about you? And I’m gonna put your Twitter ID in the chat here. But how can we find out more about what you do and in the world?

Ted Harrison 56:14
Yeah, so if you want to follow me on Twitter, definitely, it’s a great place to be tweeting mostly mobile video related content and a little bit of sports here and there. Definitely Baylor football fan. So I apologize if that’s not a good sign or not in your not your cup of tea. But I, you also, there’s actually a link on that profile. I have a mobile video newsletter that you can sign up for and you can definitely add me on LinkedIn. I’m not sure I’ll add anybody. So definitely feel free to add me there. And that’s probably a good place and obviously, if you have any questions about the platform

Ted Harrison 56:49
help.twitter.com as well.

Ted Harrison 56:52
So I’ll bet you that way. But it’s been awesome being here, Cory. Thanks for having me. It’s definitely really cool to be sitting across from you. I remember just like being excited when we had guests that I think that I got to listen in on these. It’s crazy to now be one alongside you.

Cory Miller 57:09
hey, yeah, man I’ve loved on your career. And I just thank you for your time. I know you’re so busy right now doing some excellent work in the world. And I appreciate your time. On Ted’s point, I’ll put it in the chat and we’ll have it on the replay too. at TED vid is Ted’s Twitter ID and then underneath that I put his substack newsletter thing. I saw that randomly the other day Ted and I was like, Are you kidding me? I didn’t know about this. I was like cory@gmail.com, enter. So you guys, be sure you sign up for that and follow Ted as he’s doing some amazing work in the world. And I can’t wait to see where your star goes next, my friend.

Ted Harrison 57:47
Oh, thank you so much.

Cory Miller 57:49
And Happy anniversary.

Ted Harrison 57:51
Oh, thank you.

Cory Miller 57:52
It is He and his wife, Susie’s seventh year. Wait, hold on seven year anniversary. I saw that on Twitter earlier today and got to say Congrats. But I hope you have a great anniversary day and thank you again, Ted for spending some time with us.

Ted Harrison 58:08
Thanks for having me.


September 15, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT
Event Category:


Zoom webinar