The rise of short-form video consumption and what it means for marketers

According to recent studies, humans now have an attention span of just eight seconds. That’s one second shorter than the much-mocked concentration capabilities of a goldfish. For marketers today, the biggest hurdle is no longer capturing consumers’ attention, but keeping it.

As social media continues to evolve, the race to make content quicker and easier to access is on. We no longer want to work to be inspired, engaged and informed. We want it delivered, in the palm of our hands. In this, one format has come up that trumps the rest – the short-form video.

 What is a short-form video?

 There’s no official time limit for a short-form video, but these bitesize clips generally run for no longer than 60 seconds. Many of the most popular videos last for just 15-30 seconds, proving that less really is more.

TikTok made the format famous, but consumers can now tune into a whole roster of platforms, including Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat Spotlight for a quick fix. Even Reddit is now quietly rolling out short-form videos on its IOS app.

Short-form videos offer big wins for the platforms themselves as well in the form of ad dollars. Billions interact with Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts monthly – and regardless of which of the top platforms you focus on, the ad audience size is truly enormous.

Who watches short-form videos?

 While you might be quick to dismiss audiences as teenagers, there’s plenty of data to suggest that older demographics enjoy this highly addictive content too. According to Wyzowl, 73% of consumers prefer to watch a short video to learn about a service or product, and just 11% prefer to read a text-based article.

TikTok remains particularly popular with Gen Z, with a whopping 69% of all users aged between 13 and 24, while Instagram’s demographic is slightly older, with 31.5%  of users aged between 25 and 34 and 16.1% aged between 35 and 44.

For marketers who already recognise its potential, the short-form video is a powerful gateway to a huge audience.

Why should marketers use short-form videos?

These snappy videos are more than a means to entertain your audience. They can increase brand awareness, boost engagement and increase sales. They’re an effective way to connect with new audiences that you may not have been able to reach before too.

Short-form videos are highly sharable; people share videos at twice the rate of any other form of content. That’s a whole new pool of possible customers to tap into without doing any extra legwork. And, there’s always the potential for a short-form video to go viral. Nearly half (47%) of marketers believe that short-form videos are most likely to go viral.

And short-form videos are known to be highly persuasive. Users are more likely to view videos as authentic, relatable and genuine. According to HubSpot, as many as 84% of people have taken the leap to buy products or services after seeing a brand’s video.

And, many marketers who are already using the format have no intention of turning back. According to the same report, more than half of marketers (51%) who have already used short-form videos now plan to increase their investment. In fact, short-form video use for marketing is set to grow in 2022 more than any other format.

How can marketers incorporate short-form videos into a content strategy?

 In the right hands, short-form videos can be a powerful marketing tool. But to make maximum impact and capture users’ imaginations, creativity and authenticity are a must. Let’s dig a little deeper into how marketers are producing the short-form videos that viewers love to consume:

  • Tailor your content to each platform: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creative short-form video production, nor is TikTok your only option. Take some time to consider who your audience is and where they are most active. Customize your content to each platform. That also means creating mobile-first content, with optimized ratio, visuals and sound for mobile apps.
  • Engage with trends: Social media audiences prefer brands that can show they understand how to use and create for the platform. That means leveraging the latest trends, from brand challenges to viral dances. But to do this, you’ll need to act quickly. Sharing a short-form video on an out-of-style trend, even if perfectly produced, is likely create a disconnect between your brand and viewers’ habits and preferences.
  • Leverage user-generated content (UGC): According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust UGC more than traditional advertising. As well as showing a consumer perspective, it acts as social proof of the value of your product or service. According to HubSpot, 40% of marketers rank it as a high ROI format.
  • Tease and promote products: Unlike traditional advertisements, a short-form video teaser doesn’t require a gargantuan budget. If it’s good enough, it has the potential to go viral too.
  • Get behind the scenes: Sharing an aspect of the business your community is unlikely to have seen before can generate an authentic connection with your audience. Both B2C and B2B brands are increasingly using sneak peeks, bloopers, interviews and photo shoots to showcase their selling points and build connections.

A powerful new format for brand engagement

Short-form videos offer marketers an innovative way to showcase their content on a minimal budget. They offer an opportunity to both engage existing audiences and grow new ones – to build a strong community.  Adopting the mantra “less is more” can go much further than just saving on marketing spend – it can convert viewers into paying customers.