Recent data indicates a strong consumer demand for video content, with 89% of consumers expressing a desire to see more brand videos – highlighting the growing importance of video as a medium for consumer engagement and brand communication. Companies looking to meet these expectations must consider integrating more video content into their marketing strategies to satisfy consumer demand and stay competitive.

Video consumption continues its steep rise, with individuals watching an average of 17 videos per day in 2023. This spotlights the role video content plays in daily consumer media consumption and points to the big impact video marketing can have on reaching and engaging audiences around the world more effectively.

Understanding short-form videos

Short-form videos, typically ranging from 30 seconds to less than 10 minutes, cater to the decreasing attention spans of digital audiences. Their brevity makes them ideal for conveying messages quickly and effectively, capitalizing on the brief window of attention viewers offer when scrolling through social media platforms.

Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube dominate the short-form video market. Each platform offers unique features that enhance the viewer’s experience and engagement levels, such as TikTok’s algorithmic discoveries and Instagram’s integrated shopping features.

Short-form content varies widely, including TikTok Challenges, Instagram Reels, Snapchat Stories, YouTube Shorts, and Twitter Video Ads. Each type serves specific strategic purposes, from viral challenges that boost brand visibility to reels that showcase products in action, offering marketers a range of tools to engage their target audience.

Benefits of short-form videos

A large portion of marketers, 39%, report that videos ranging from 30 to 60 seconds are more successful in achieving marketing objectives. To add to this, 44% of customers state a preference for short videos when learning about a brand’s offerings, making short-form videos a strategic choice for marketers aiming to optimize engagement and conversion rates.

Short-form videos excel in grabbing attention quickly. Their cost-effective nature allows businesses, especially those with limited budgets, to produce content at a higher frequency, increasing their engagement with audiences. Concise formats of these videos lead to higher levels of shares and interactions, amplifying content reach and potentially boosting virality.

Limitations of short-form videos

Despite their benefits, short-form videos face several challenges:

  • Limited message depth: Their brief nature can make it difficult to convey complex or detailed information, potentially necessitating additional content forms to fully communicate more intricate messages.
  • Competition for attention: The abundance of short-form content on social platforms means brands must create exceptionally captivating or unique content to stand out.
  • Shorter lifespan: These videos often experience rapid decreases in relevance and can get quickly buried in social media feeds, requiring brands to consistently produce new content to stay visible.
  • Limited SEO impact: The shorter content length provides fewer opportunities for keyword optimization, which can shroud content discoverability through search engines compared to longer-form content.

Understanding long-form videos

Long-form videos range from a few minutes to several hours, providing a format suited for in-depth exploration of topics. Longer durations allows content creators to get into detailed analyses, extended narratives, and comprehensive explanations that short-form videos cannot accommodate due to their time constraints.

Common types of long-form videos

The variety in long-form video content includes YouTube series, webinars, educational tutorials, behind-the-scenes content, and interviews. Each type serves distinct purposes:

  • YouTube series: Typically episodic, these series engage audiences over longer periods with recurring themes or narratives.
  • Webinars: Focus on educational or informative content, often interactive, catering to professionals seeking knowledge in specific fields.
  • Educational tutorials and courses: Provide step-by-step instruction or deep dives into subjects, beneficial for learners seeking thorough understanding.
  • Behind-the-scenes content: Offers viewers a glimpse into the processes behind events, productions, or business operations, enhancing transparency and viewer engagement.
  • Interviews: Feature conversations with experts or personalities, delivering insights through dialogue.

Opportunity: Strengthening brand authority

Long-form videos excel in establishing a brand’s expertise and credibility. Providing substantial and informative content helps brands better demonstrate their knowledge and authority in their field, which fosters trust and confidence among viewers. 

Longer videos also allow brands to build stronger connections with their audience by engaging them for longer periods, increasing the likelihood of developing loyalty and repeated engagement. 

The extended format of long-form videos offers ample opportunities for integrating SEO strategies such as keyword incorporation, detailed descriptions, and engaging narratives, all of which enhance the content’s discoverability and longevity. This all works together to keep the content relevant for longer periods but also contributes to a brand’s long-term content strategy.

Challenge: Production and distribution challenges

Despite their benefits, long-form videos come with their own set of challenges:

  • Attention span challenges: In an era where digital distractions are frequent, maintaining viewer engagement throughout a long video can be difficult. Viewers may disengage if the content does not consistently capture their interest.
  • Complex production process: Producing long-form content often requires more sophisticated equipment, higher production values, and potentially a larger team. This complexity translates into higher costs and longer production times, which can be particularly challenging for smaller businesses or those with limited resources.
  • Platform limitations: Some social media platforms and video hosting sites restrict video length, which can limit the distribution options for long-form content. Adapting long-form content to different platforms may require additional editing, segmentation, or even partial re-creation to meet platform-specific requirements.. 

Short-form vs long-form: Making the best choice for your brand

1. Aligning video type with objectives

Marketers must choose between short-form and long-form videos based on their specific marketing objectives. Short-form videos are highly effective for achieving quick brand exposure and creating buzz. They work well in campaigns aimed at generating immediate interest and engagement due to their brief and captivating nature. 

On the other hand, long-form videos are very valuable for brands that aim to provide an in-depth understanding of their offerings or values. These videos are suitable for storytelling, detailed product demonstrations, or extensive tutorials, which help in building a comprehensive brand narrative.

2. Audience and platform considerations

The decision between short-form and long-form also depends heavily on the target audience’s preferences and the dynamics of the platforms used. Short-form videos typically cater to younger demographics who prefer quick, engaging content that fits their fast-paced lifestyle. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are ideal for these types of videos. 

Conversely, long-form content may appeal more to older demographics who appreciate a detailed exploration of topics and can engage with content for longer periods. Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo support this content type by allowing for longer video uploads and facilitating deeper audience engagement.

3. Industry specific needs

The industry context can have a major influence on the choice between short-form and long-form videos. Industries that thrive on trends, quick updates, and entertainment are well-suited to short-form videos. These industries benefit from the agility and viral potential of shorter content. 

In contrast, industries that require detailed explanations, educational content, or comprehensive product reviews benefit from long-form videos. These videos provide the space to explore subjects thoroughly, which is essential for industries like education, technology, and healthcare.

Implementing a balanced video strategy

Combining video formats

A strategic approach that involves using both short-form and long-form videos to their fullest potential based on organizational goals, audience needs, and the specific characteristics of each platform. 

For example, a brand might use short-form videos for quick updates and teasers on social media to draw attention, while using long-form videos on their website or YouTube to provide comprehensive information and tutorials. This ensures that all aspects of a marketing campaign are covered, from initial engagement to deep customer education.

Monitoring and adapting

Brands must regularly review engagement rates, watch times, conversion rates, and other relevant metrics to understand what works and what does not. This allows marketers to adapt their strategies in real time, optimizing for audience engagement and maximizing conversion rates. Whether adjusting the length of the videos, the content focus, or the platforms used, data is the key to making sure that video marketing efforts remain aligned with business outcomes and audience preferences.

Tim Boesen

May 21, 2024

7 Min