Last updated on 10th January 2024
In this article we’re going to take a look at short form video, including the best platforms for sharing short form video content and some examples and ideas to help you with your video marketing strategy.
Short form video content is extremely popular right now. This is proven by the rapid growth of apps like TikTok, which was the first ever non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion downloads (it reached 4 billion in Q4 of 2022), and the changing nature of sites like YouTube, which used to prefer long-form content but now frequently pushes a short form video format out to users through YouTube Shorts.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at short form video content in more detail and consider ways that short form video can help you market your brand in 2024.
What is short form video content?
Short form video content refers to any type of video that is under 60 seconds. Short form videos are usually a lot shorter than this and also tend to be recorded in a portrait rather than landscape aspect ratio, to better match the platforms on which they are popular (social media apps).
There are many ways you can leverage short form video for your business. You could show one feature of your software, introduce a member of staff, show users how to sign up to your platform, give a mini tutorial of your product, share behind-the-scenes at your company…the list goes on.
The most popular short form videos tend to be funny, relatable, and relevant. This is what’s going to gain attention, shares, and likes on fast-moving social media apps, like TikTok and Instagram.
5 Benefits of short form video
1. Short form video is more cost effective
One of the biggest benefits of making a short form video is that they cost less than longer videos! This is because there’s less resources required to make them, and you can get just as much mileage out of short form video content than you can from long form video content.
In fact, in most cases, you can probably make short form videos yourself just using your phone and some simple editing software (apps like TikTok and Instagram even give you the ability to edit videos directly within the platform).
2. Easy to repurpose
Short form videos are really easy to repurpose, allowing you to use them across multiple apps.
Because they’re so short, it’s also easy to repurpose your videos as paid ads. A lot of platforms have length restrictions when it comes to ads, but when making short form videos you don’t have to worry about this!
3. People love them
This one is kind of a no brainer. People enjoy short form videos. In fact, they don’t just enjoy them, they prefer them. Short form video content is even beating out TV with some audiences. According to a report by Ofcom, 16-24 year olds spend an average of 53 minutes a day watching TV, but 57 minutes a day on TikTok.
And this is just TikTok, not to mention other short form videos on apps like Instagram and YouTube.
In addition, a global survey by YouGov America found that 69% of people are using a second digital device (i.e. a phone) while watching TV.
Long story short, TV is out and TikTok is in.
4. Great for social media
So far we’ve kind of mentioned short form videos and social media as one and the same, and that’s what they’re becoming. All of the content on TikTok is video, and video now takes up 30% of the time people spend on Instagram.
People are looking for short form videos on social media, so by giving them what they want you can increase your visibility and popularity on these platforms.
5. Better for declining attention spans
The average human attention span is ever-shrinking. Instead of pouring all of your time and effort into a longer video that may not get watched all the way through, it makes more sense to work on multiple shorter videos that are focused on one specific point or feature.
This is a great way to combat shrinking attention spans and it can make your videos more memorable for viewers.
Best platforms for short form video content
TikTok is the current king of short form video platforms. It’s a social media app where users can upload, create, and share videos from 3 seconds to 10 minutes in length.
The app shared the news that they reached 1 billion active global users at the end of 2021, and as of January 2023, TikTok was the 6th most popular social media platform in the world.
Here’s the most viewed video on TikTok (with an incredible 2.2 billion views!):
It’s quick, wholesome, and funny.
The app is easy to use and growing in popularity all the time. It’s particularly popular with younger audiences, like Gen Z, that you may not find on other social media sites. Plus, because it’s still relatively fresh (in the social media world) it’s not as saturated with brands as other platforms are, this could definitely give you an edge with your video marketing efforts!
Instagram has evolved over the years. It started as an image sharing platform and is now leaning more heavily into short form video content (because that’s what’s popular!)
This is proven by the fact that Reels have become Instagram’s fastest growing feature worldwide, according to Hootsuite. Plus, according to Meta (Instagram’s parent company), Reels account for almost 25% of users’ time spent on Instagram.
Reels have a maximum running length of 90 seconds, however this shortens to 60 seconds for paid ads. So your videos definitely have to be short!
Here’s the most viewed Instagram Reel of all time (with over 300 million views!):
It’s quick. It’s funny. And it’s relatable. Three pillars of short form video trends.
Reels have a lot of built in editing software (like TikTok) that makes it easy to create and share a slick, professional and engaging video.
Launched in 2005, YouTube can safely be considered as the grandfather of all the video sharing apps we have available to us today. But YouTube is also aware of that popular adage, ‘evolve or die’, and so YouTube Shorts was created in late 2020.
Here’s the most popular YouTube Short (with 1.2 billion views!):
Incredibly, this is by the same creator who has the most viewed video on TikTok, so he’s definitely doing something right!
The benefit that Youtube Shorts can offer you in comparison to other short form video platforms is their reach. YouTube is the most visited site in the world(!), after Google. So if you’re making short form videos for social media anyway, you might as well post them to Youtube shorts as well!
5 Examples of amazing short form videos
1. Product teasers
Product teasers are a great use case for short form video content. You can highlight all of the best features of your product in a fun, fast-paced video that leaves viewers desperate to find out more.
Here’s a simple yet effective example from Cath Kidston:
This video showcases the beautiful detail on their limited edition Harry Potter mugs.
Here’s another example from Nintendo:
It’s snappy, colourful, fun, easy to grasp, and does a great job of piquing the viewers’ interest in the game.
2. Behind the scenes
Social media is all about, well…being social! Showing off what your company is like behind the scenes allows you to drop your corporate guard a little bit and share the people behind the business.
Here’s an example from Krispy Kreme:
Utilising footage from different team members all over the UK, this short form video oozes warmth and gets a simple message across in a fun, good-humoured way.
Here’s another example of behind the scenes content, this time from Grammarly:
This is also a perfect example of how to repurpose longer videos into short form videos. Grammarly shot this footage anyway for one of their ad campaigns, so why not repurpose some of it to create an interesting short that will increase engagement and awareness of the brand?!
You can also create behind the scenes videos that show just how much effort you put into your products for your customers. That’s exactly what Artlist did here:
This behind the scenes video does a great job of selling the high quality stock footage and sound effects available on the site by showing viewers the lengths they go to in order to get what they need.
3. How to
Social media is a great tool for learning new things. In fact, the hashtag #LearnOnTikTok has over 450 billion views!
With people actively seeking out this type of short form video content, how to videos should be a no brainer for your brand.
You can make a product tutorial, like this one by makeup brand Made By Mitchell:
Or a feature walkthrough, like this short video by Wix:
Educational videos can be used by practically any brand. The best videos include captions that make it easy for viewers to follow along, like this one:
But videos without captions can also work well, so long as you clearly show each step and include a written explanation for viewers in the video description, like this Reel by Vital Proteins:
The possibilities with how-to content are practically endless and it can be really fun to think of ways you can create different short form video content that teaches potential customers new things about your company.
4. User-generated content
If you want your brand to come across as authentic, then you should probably expand your video marketing so that not all of the content comes directly from you. People want to see user-generated content, testimonials, and reviews, because it shows them that you are trustworthy.
According to a report by Businesswire, only 38% of people are likely to trust recommendations from a brand on social media, while 61% are likely to trust recommendations from friends, family members, and influencers.
Here’s an example of user generated content from FabFitFun:
This compilation video is upbeat and heartwarming and really works to show the value of the brand.
Here’s another example, this time from an influencer working with Disney+ (you can tell by the #ad text in the video description)
This simple and short video works to create hype around the release of a new film on the Disney+ platform, and gives fans a way to get involved by showing them a fun recipe to make.
User-generated content can also act as a great ‘try before you buy’ for online shoppers. Here’s an example from Rare Beauty:
This collaboration with an influencer allows viewers to get a feel for the quality of the product and see whether it would work for them.
5. Highlight reel or montage
Highlight reels and montages are great short form videos for social media. They’re easy and enjoyable for viewers because there’s no hard selling, and the fast-paced editing is a perfect fit for grabbing people’s attention as they’re scrolling.
If you’ve recently been to and/or are hosting an event then a highlight reel is an amazing way to share your experience on social media and create hype. Here’s an example from Crufts:
And here’s a similar example from Guide Dogs:
You can also create a timelapse or montage video to show how much effort you put into making your products. Here’s an example from Amaury Guichon on TikTok:
5 Short form video tips & ideas for marketers
1. Keep your content focused
You don’t have a lot of time to get your message across with a short form video, so make sure your content is focused.
Choose one goal, like increasing brand awareness or showing people how to use a certain part of your product or service. Once you have your goal in mind, stick to it. You want your video to be clear and punchy.
2. Take advantage of trends
The short form videos that tend to perform the best (at least on social media) are those that take advantage of current trends.
Revolve your content around trending hashtags or trending audio. You can usually find these by scrolling through your explore page to discover what’s currently popular:
You can also take advantage of upcoming holidays that you know will be trending, like Christmas or St Patrick’s Day.
Short form video trends tend not to be long lived so don’t be too precious about your content, just get something relevant out there and then move onto the next video!
3. Optimise for sound off
Did you know that around 85% of people watch videos with the sound off? This means your video needs to work both with and without audio.
You may know from scrolling on social media that most short form videos now actually start muted as a default, and it’s up to the user to unmute them.
To optimise your video for the sound off make sure you add captions on screen, like this:
This will make your video just as entertaining without the sound on, ensuring you delight viewers and get all of your information across.
4. Repurpose other videos
If you already have some long form videos, it’s a great idea to take a look at these and see if you can repurpose them into multiple short form videos.
This is a cost-effective way to get the most mileage out of your video content. You can also repurpose your short form videos as paid ads to get them in front of as many people as possible.
5. The first 5 seconds and last 5 seconds count the most!
With any video, but especially short form videos that live on social media platforms, it’s important to hook people fast. If you don’t grip people within just a few seconds then they’re going to scroll onto the next thing.
The last 5 seconds of your video also count too! This is your chance to tell viewers what to do next and close on a compelling call to action that leaves them wanting to see more from your brand.
Short form video (and short form content, in general) appears to be the future of marketing. Consumers love it, brands love it, apps are even being designed and updated especially for it.
Now all you need to do is get involved! Start by checking out our social media video agency page.