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Google trials short-form video carousels on their mobile app banner

Google trials short-form video carousels on their mobile app

The popularity of video content on social media has never been more widespread, with business use of film content in their marketing strategies becoming the norm.

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There is now no doubt that film captivates an organisation’s target audience like no other medium, and it plays a crucial role in brand awareness. But combine the versatility of video with the reach of social media, and the possibilities for business are enormous.

Such is video’s potential that Google has begun tests on its mobile app platform to gauge the huge audiences watching short form videos on social media. Evidence suggests that selected search terms are being used by users of the search giant to reveal a carousel at the top of the results’ page.

This may sound familiar, but the key difference here is that this carousel is showing thumbnails of videos across multiple social media platforms.

Google getting closer to social media

So, what exactly is Google trying to achieve? After all, it already owns YouTube, the largest video platform. And what benefits can be found for businesses who either have existing video content or are looking at implementing new filmed material to support their content marketing strategy?

Businesses use social media platforms to direct users to their websites, hoping to gain more conversions, and ultimately generate sales. What we have noticed is that Google seems to be testing out this rising trend with in-app short video content.

Delving deeper, we have found that these short videos can be found on Google Discover, which has focused its efforts on aggregating social media videos from platforms such as YouTube, Tik Tok and Instagram.

Google is still in the testing phase, so not all search queries will show up with these short-form videos. However, with Google’s pack leader mentality, we anticipate the beta program expanding to more users, and also moving on to more devices before going mainstream.

History in short-form

According to the Economic Times, this is not the first time that Google has attempted to index videos on its platform. Previous efforts have been limited to video sharing platforms like YouTube. It appears the focus now is very much on the broader social media network. 

The key benefit of this strategy for Google, of course, is that it keeps people looking through social video entertainment on its platform – achieving a kind of lock-in to its services.

As well as its focus on social media, Google also has its own short-form video project called Tangi. Launched by Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120, just over a year ago, Tangi focuses on learning.

Why the secrecy?

Although clear evidence exists of Google trialling short-form video content carousels on mobile devices, Google is still keeping its plans under wraps.

When asked by online tech news outlet TechCrunch, Google was reticent, confirming only that the short-form video carousel was a pilot and an early stage feature for mobile devices.

Perhaps one of the reasons for Google’s cagey approach is the cooperation that would more than likely be required. To work properly, the social platforms would need to collaborate.

When asked, Google declined to formally comment or further detail its plans, but a company spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature was currently being piloted on mobile devices. They clarified by explaining that it is a limited, early-stage feature. In other words, you won’t find the video carousel on every search query just yet. But over time, as Google scales the product, it could become an interesting tool for indexing and surfacing top video content from social media — unless, of course, the platforms choose to block Google from doing so.  

Mobile first

Google announced back in 2019 that they would be indexing 100% of all websites with a mobile-first approach. They do this already where a website has a mobile-friendly version of their website which has near-identical content to the desktop version. These changes came into effect as of September 2020.

Google continuously crawls the web to index and rank websites so that search results presented to users stay relevant. Google began indexing websites through the mobile-first Googlebot on July 1st, 2019, meaning that any website that was new to the web or previously unknown to Google was indexed via the mobile version of the website first, and the desktop version second. Since the majority of users now access Google Search via a mobile device, it makes sense to crawl mobile first, so the search results will be more accurate for a mobile user.

What type of video content should you be creating?

Knowing what type of video content to create can be tricky as there are so many routes you can take. The customer journey is an important area to focus on when trying to guide prospective customers through your sales funnel. Video can be used as an effective tool in order to share content on social media channels. Educational videos are at the top of the funnel in regard to the content you should be sharing as this benefits the audience watching the content, but also indirectly creates awareness for your brand. From there, you can then move on to explainer videos and testimonial videos, both of which help your audience understand what you do while building trust in your brand.

Advantages to business

Although still very much in the beta stages, companies should monitor the situation over the course of the coming year to see how they can use Google’s plans to their advantage and increase audience engagement.

If you are a business that uses social media to push out video content to gain more engagement from your audience, then what Google is trying to achieve may have positive results for your business.

Google is the world’s largest search engine, and billions of searches are made every day. Many of these searches are looking for video content, which is great for businesses who have video content already or are considering adding it to their strategy. This is one of the reasons businesses should look at how Google can boost their online presence. Video results appear both in Search Results and Video Search Results on the Google platform.

When users click on these videos, they are taken to the social media platform. From there, they can gain access to your page or channel, where they will be able to find out more about your business and what you offer.

Whenever you can, ensure your audiences can see a website URL or contact number at the end of your videos. This acts as a back link and allows your audience to get in touch and see your website.


Although it is still in the early stages of rollout, businesses should be made aware of this for the year ahead. It is beneficial to be forward thinking and looking out for new trends and new updates that can potentially grow your online presence. 

It is important that your business takes stock of these potential changes, and how this can benefit your brand awareness through creating short form video content. Remember to consider the customer journey if you are thinking about creating content for your website and social media platforms. It is also important that you keep up to date with the latest video trends. Here is a selection of some of the latest video trends for 2021:

  • Live streaming
  • Online Training and Education
  • Short-Form Videos
  • Virtual Events

With Google’s Mobile First indexing reshuffle coming into effect in March 2021, there is even more reasons to be adding video into your marketing strategy. Social Media users are becoming a lot more video-orientated, and because of this, marketers are making the move to video being included as standard in their strategies.

Need help with your video marketing?

If you would like to discuss how video could support your business as it emerges from the lockdown, get in touch with our friendly team. We’d be happy to chat through ideas and options.

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