“I watched a lot of Brene Brown to prepare for today,” joked Rylee Ebsen, live action director, creative director, and social media expert at creative agency Big Block. Rylee’s session focused on the mobile-connected generation and how they consume content. And most importantly, how marketers can tailor content for these specific platforms and instances. Rylee was one of the first twelve employees at Snap, the parent company of Snapchat where she oversaw business-to-business and business-to-consumer for all of Snap’s brands.
“I had a front-row seat to the formation of the mobile native generation,” said Ebsen. “And I saw early behavior of the cord nevers, not even cord cutters. I directed hundreds of projects that got trillions of views within the app. I also helped ideate the very first ad formats when we were ready to start advertising on Snapchat. When Discover first launched, I ran the Snap channel, which was the only vertical channel of the twelve that we launched with. It was in those early days of Discover when I saw that consumers were nine times more likely to watch something that was made for mobile versus horizontal. It was then that I realized that mobile would require a completely different approach for storyboarding, developing, shooting and post-production.”
Since then, Ebsen has developed a list of best practices when it comes to shooting and distributing mobile content that feels right regardless of platform.
“Ask yourself: How are we changing the way we’re telling the story for mobile? Are we just taking something from somewhere else and making it work, or are we actually thinking about what that consumer is going through? They were just sending a message or adding a filter, now they’re seeing your content. Think about what the consumer is going through as you’re creating, it’ll help you create something more successful.”
And instead of the storytelling aspect, Ebsen suggests we think more about relevancy.
”Create something cool. Hook on to a cultural moment. Timeliness is always great when you’re creating social content. Ask yourself, is it shareable? Would someone want to share this with their friends? If not, make it shareable.”
As new products emerge, Ebsen is fascinated with how they can be used to engage consumers.
“I’m excited about augmented reality. It’s one of my favorites because we’re still at the early stages of creating and consuming AR. But what I’ve seen so far is super inspiring. I challenge everyone in this room, and I know I’m speaking to some of the best creatives in the world, to take advantage and push this medium forward. Don’t just make a frame that could be on any other ad product. Use the palette, transform someone’s world and make something they want to share with their friend. What other ad product allows you to play with your brand and put it as a layer on top of their world? I can’t think of any.”
Ebsen pushed the audience to think further about how content shows up in people’s lives.
“Mobile phones aren’t just their devices. I call it ‘and’ devices. I’m on my phone and I’m watching TV. I’m on my phone and I’m on my computer. I’m on my phone and talking to someone. And actually don’t do that because it’s not very nice.”
Furthermore, Ebsen inspired the audience to consider all the design opportunity there is within the mobile screen.
“Your design should take up about a third of whatever real estate you have. If you have the full vertical phone to play with, use it. Make your design a third of that frame. Another good rule of thumb is that 60% of consumers have their sound off so make sure that those key words and phrases are written. Include the main message and branding at the front. This is one I see a lot of creatives struggle with because it’s the opposite. Usually, you have the inciting incident and then things progress, and then the climax happens. That’s what we were all taught, especially in film school. But with social, you just don’t have the time so you really have to feed it up front. You have to get things going. Start with a question ‘Hey did you know?’ Instead of doing text or motion graphics, have a person talking to you.”
Ebsen offered some practical encouragement for getting the most out of every shoot.
“Add supplemental cameras to your shoot. I like smartphones or action cams like the new GoPro and wearables. I recently directed a campaign for Disney and I wanted to make sure that we got a lot of content. Everyone knows that moving the camera to different scenes can take a while so in between whenever I had a moment, I grabbed my social boards and phone to shoot with talent. I also made sure, in the storyboarding process, to set up GoPros. Instead of cutting down the sixty second spot to a 10-second commercial where the story is jammed in, we can use an awesome ten-second clip of one of the talent just screaming their heads off going down one of the rides. It feels cohesive and part of the campaign.”