Choosing the Right Mobile Audio for Your Mobile Videos

When designing videos for mobile, audio can often seem like an afterthought. On social media, sounds enhance visuals, not the other way around.

After all, there’s a strong chance your audience won’t hear your carefully chosen music or script. Huge portions of mobile audiences prefer to watch videos with the sound off. Since you want to please your audience, your videos should be viewable in total silence.

So we’ve come up a rule to guide you as you dive into the audiovisual waters: Design for sound off, but delight with sound on.

WATCH: The Shakr Guide to Mobile Video – Design and Sound

Here are our tips and tricks for making your mobile video stand out with or without sound.

Design for sound off

In the news feed and in Stories, your visuals will be the thing that makes people stop and watch your video. So your main priority should be designing your video’s unique and eye-catching look.

Our first tip for mobile video design is to just get started.

Use what you have to take high-quality photos and video

You don’t need a fancy DSLR, professional videographer, or full lighting setup to take your first product photos and video clips. You have a smartphone in your pocket that shoots HD video and takes great photos. Just get out there and get started.

You also don’t need to storyboard out every scene before you shoot your first video. Once you’ve added your videos or images to a Shakr video design, they will look great.

If you need to, you can mix in stock assets with your original content. There are lots of publicly available stock assets online from sites like Pixabay, Unsplash, Pexels Video, and VideoBlocks. Shakr has more than one million stock assets included right in the Shakr video editor, so try just searching for keywords related to your brand.

Add movement

Static product photos will only get you so far. Presented alone, a product photo tells your audience that you’re pushing a sale, and you’re only interested in yourself. You’re not thinking about how the viewer might use it in their home, at the office, or elsewhere.

Have a model or yourself use your product and shoot footage of it with your smartphone. In this Shopbop video ad, a girl models a dress for an e-commerce brand and another model assists her, creating a dynamic and colorful scene.


You can also try shooting from different angles to create unusual movements. You can shoot from overhead or from below, zooming in and out on your product’s focal points.

Build anticipation with unboxing

If you have a good-looking physical product that you can hold in your hands, unboxing is a great way to show it off. Unboxing is one of the most popular video formats online. For a fun example, this huge unboxing was one of the most-watched ads on YouTube in 2017:

You can do this on a smaller scale by wrapping up your product and getting an enthusiastic colleague or friend to open up your goods as if it were the first time. Be sure to zoom in on the packaging details as well as the reaction on the unboxer’s face.

Through an unboxing video, the audience can feel the joy of getting a package, opening it up, and finding the thing they’ve been waiting for. That anticipation is a major part of the motivation behind buying your actual product.

Add text and graphics

Text is an often overlooked but essential part of any mobile video ad. Video text, including ad copy, captions, and title cards, makes your video instantly more accessible to silent audiences. With a few lines of text, you can help viewers understand what they’re looking at and move the (very short) plot of your video along. With cliffhangers like “coming soon,” text can also pique viewer curiosity while giving them enough information to know where and when to buy.

This local car dealership makes use of text to convince users to buy from them and uses a title slide at the end to boost brand recognition.


In the Shakr video template shown above, the text and images are supported by paint splash graphics. Graphics are another way to make the action on screen more interesting. It smooths the transitions between images and video clips and makes the text come alive.

Delight with sound on

While it’s necessary to nail your visuals first when making a video, you cannot simply leave out  audio for mobile audiences. Music plays an important role in the way your video is perceived by viewers.

We’ve previously written about what great background music can do for your videos. Music contributes three key characteristics to your video:

  • Tempo: speed and pace
  • Energy: the intensity of the action
  • Mood: the emotional feeling the video evokes

It used to be difficult and expensive to license music for video ads. Not anymore. Just as with stock photos, there are lots of audio libraries where you can pick and choose your own tracks based on the characteristics above. To make it super easy for you, all music tracks on Shakr are licensed for commercial use. But we understand that sometimes you might want something a little bit different, and we encourage you to try using different audio tracks for your ads. Keep these guidelines in mind as you choose music for mobile video.

Tailor audio to the audience

First, you need to choose music that will emotionally resonate with your chosen audience. In the following example, the same Shakr template is used with different music to target different audiences with different messages.

The first video is action-packed, high energy, and high-intensity. It’s also pretty macho and features a male model.

The second video is still related to exercise but is less aggressively masculine and is more positive and upbeat. Unsurprisingly, it features a female model.

Both videos are advertising the same product, but each sells it successfully to a target demographic.

If you’ve taken the time to segment your audience into categories and personas, use music to connect with them on a deeper level. The right music will make a lasting impact on viewers and lead them to associate your brand with particular emotions and experiences.

Tailor audio to the channel

When choosing audio tracks for mobile video, you also want to consider where the viewer will be watching.

In 2016, it was revealed that 85% of users watched a Facebook video without sound. The settings have since changed, but people’s preferences haven’t. For the most part, mobile users prefer to watch videos with the sound off, and they may react strongly when faced with a loud, autoplaying video.

The exception to this rule is Instagram Stories. According to Instagram, 70% of Stories users watch videos with the sound on. This may have something to do with the way influencers vlog their days through Stories. No matter the reason, you should take advantage of the sound-on preference.

Your audio should enhance your Stories ad to make your audience feel excited about what you’re showing them.

This ad for the Spanish beer Estrella uses the sound of the sea to transport viewers back to summer:

The Estrella ad is able to make the association between its product and the carefree days of summer. They convincingly create a relaxed mood, making the viewer want to kick back and enjoy life, beer in hand.

Use the power of sight and sound together

High-quality visual design and good background music work best together because they engage two of the five senses. And of course, two is better than one. When you capture a certain mood through design and sound, the viewer will be more likely to act on that mood than on the memory of a product. The great news is you can start making these kinds of video ads right away. The Shakr library has plenty of options for designing and scoring your next video ad to set you up for maximum emotional impact.

Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Shakr

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