Your Guide to the Next Big Marketing Trend: Short-Form Video

By February 24, 2021General

With more than two-thirds of marketers utilizing video in 2020, it’s safe to say video is here to stay. However, the question isn’t whether or not video will stick around, but how video marketing trends will refine in the years to come and how we, as marketers, can leverage the content to grow our business. What should we put in our videos and how long should they be? New research reveals that when it comes to video marketing, less is more and short-form video content is the future.

What is short-form video content?

Short-form video typically falls between the 15 second to 2-minute time frame. These videos are long enough to get the point across in an engaging way, but short enough to hold the viewer’s attention span. Short-form video was also the best performing content in terms of engagement across every industry in 2020. Why does this content perform so well? Human attention spans have rapidly decreased over the years. A study by Microsoft reported that Millennials have an attention span of roughly 12 seconds while Gen Z has an attention span of about 8 seconds. Another thing that differentiates short-form videos is the trend culture. For example, TikTok reflects trends through short videos of dancing, using specific sounds/music, and taking part in social movements. In order to land on the ‘For You Page’ or the Instagram ‘Explore’ page, brands will make their own version of a trend through short-form video.

Why are we shifting to short-form?

We live in a fast-paced mobile world and short-form content fits with the busy lifestyles of our society, so gone are the days where the entire family gathered around a single screen to watch their favorite show. With the introduction of mobile devices and apps like TikTok, more people are choosing ‘bite-size’ or ‘snackable’ content to fill their time. One of the reasons short-form content has gained in popularity is because it’s primarily user-generated. User generated content (UGC) is the shining star of social media marketing because the average Joe is no longer impressed by pushy sales tactics. Instead, we’re finding consumers crave stories, connection, and interaction with real people.

How to make effective short-form video content for your brand

Don’t overthink it: remember to keep it short and to the point while also making it meaningful to your audience. Videos that create an emotional response are more likely to be shared on social media. Most short-form social videos incorporate creative humor, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with it.

Short-form video does especially well when it’s utilized for social and optimized for mobile. TikTok videos and Instagram Reels are currently the main platforms for creating user-generated short-form videos. Ask yourself: what channels are your audience using the most and for what? The maximum length of your video will depend on the platform. Twitter can be up to 2:20 minutes, TikTok is 60 seconds, Instagram Reels is 30 seconds, and YouTube tends to be longer. Determine which social channels make the most sense for your business and use its entertainment value to align with your brand.

Short-form video trends to look out for in 2021

  1. User Generated Content

As mentioned, UGC is rapidly growing as a successful marketing tactic. A data report by Stackla uncovered that 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions and are 2.4 times more likely to say it’s authentic compared to brand-created content. Not only do user-generated videos cost less, but they bring authenticity and evoke emotion in a way brand-sponsored video can’t.

A great example of a successful UGC campaign is GoPro’s #MillionDollarChallenge which was used to celebrate the launch of their product, the HERO7 Black. They challenged their customer base to create a video highlight reel made from clips shot on GoPro. They then encouraged their audience to share their videos using the hashtag. The campaign saw huge success with over 25,000 video submissions from loyal fans.

  1. Behind-the-Scenes

Show your audience what your business is really like through behind-the-brand short-form videos. Through social media, brands have a unique opportunity to engage with their audience in genuine ways. Instead of showing your business through a filtered lens, show your consumer base there are real people behind the brand. This helps your audience humanize your company, builds trust, and gives a deeper understanding of what makes your business unique.

Chipotle is a great example of a brand who’s been taking advantage of short-form video content on TikTok. The popular fast-food chain shares videos on everything from making burritos to fans enjoying their food, all while aligning their content to fit well with the platform by using popular sounds and incorporating trends.

Chipotle's TikTok

Brands are constantly trying to guess what’s next in the marketing world. By incorporating short-form video into your marketing strategy, you’re meeting consumers where they are—on their phones watching videos. Consumers crave stories, connection, and interaction with real people. Short-form video allows you to connect to your consumers on a different level that evokes trust and emotion. Get ahead of the curve and consider short-form video as a way to keep your content fresh and your audiences tuned in.