Use Short-Form Video in Digital Marketing

Use Short-Form Video in Digital Marketing

May 29, 2024

Short-form video has become extremely popular recently given people’s enthusiasm for engaging video content and the instant gratification that comes from short snappy content. 

For example, TIkTok has more than 1.5 billion monthly users (and counting), making it a great channel for marketers to engage and influence using video content. 

Short-form is not suitable for all brands, but it is ideal for brands looking to show personality and being bold to engage with a growing audience of younger people. In 2024, TikTok coined ‘creative bravery’: a transformative mindset of creating content that blends curiosity, imagination, vulnerability, and courage – leading to deeper community connections.

If you’re looking to develop impactful and brave short-form videos that deliver results, you must think carefully about your strategy and closely monitor your data.

What is short-form video?

Put simply, short-form video is video content that’s 5–90 seconds in duration. 

This is the duration favored on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, as it’s ideal for users’ shorter attention spans. Remember the importance of instant gratification. People want to get to the core of your content, quickly! 

With long-form videos, people are more interested in getting explanatory content, detailed how-to instructions, or in-depth analysis. With short-form, the aim is a quick fix. In fact, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, 96% of consumers prefer short-form content.

Even though the videos are short, they still need to tell a compelling story and have a clear narrative flow. They often link to current social trends so that they’ll resonate with viewers, like how AirBnB rode on the Barbie Dream House trend.

What does that mean in practice? You might use something simple like a short and sweet caption and a vertical shot video for TikTok. However, on Facebook, you might take advantage of its longer form video content and post horizontal. Or, on Instagram, you might post a static picture.

Let’s look at the main platforms in greater detail. 

What platforms use short-form video content?

There are several video channels online, but here we’re going to consider the three main platforms for short-form video: TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.


TikTok was a game-changing video platform launched in 2018, and has since become a source of many of the viral videos we see on the Internet. The videos you see on TikTok are usually determined by your interests, rather than who you’re following.

IG Reels was Instagram’s (panic-stricken) response to TikTok. The platform moved from being primarily an image-based platform to becoming a multimedia one. Unlike on TikTok, the videos you see on Instagram are usually determined by who you’re following.

YouTube Shorts was created in 2019 to compete with TikTok, but it was only released to the public in 2021. Shorts is “the place to shoot, share, and binge short videos (of 60 seconds or less)”, according to the platform. The types of videos that work well are ones to start trends, try out a dance challenge, or are simply funny or even outrageous.

So, which platform should you focus on? Instagram offers a great variety of content, has a strong base of influencers, and has 2 billion users. However, don’t underestimate the viral power of TikTok with its unpredictable algorithm and undeniable appeal to the younger generation. 

And remember, YouTube Shorts has the benefit of being part of the YouTube universe, which is the second most popular social platform user-wise after Facebook. Plus YouTube Shorts has proved so popular that the Financial Times reported that senior staff warned it may “cannibalize core YouTube business”. 

Ideally, you should be on at least two platforms – but always keep in mind the resources and time involved. In terms of each platforms benefits, some would see them differentiated in this way: 

  • If your primary objective is to increase reach, you should focus on TikTok.

  • If your primary objective is to drive sales, you should focus on Reels

  • If your primary objective is to drive brand awareness and engagement, you should focus on YouTube Shorts.

Short-form video formats

Short-form video is shot (or cut) vertically, in portrait mode rather than landscape mode.

TikTok, the aspect ratios for videos and Reels are 9:16 (vertical video), 1:1 (square), or 16:9​​ (landscape video). The minimum resolution recommended is 540 x 960 pixels, 640 x 640 pixels, or 960 x 540 pixels.

For Instagram video and Reels, the upload size is 1080x1920 pixels and the aspect ratio is 9:16. (Note the aspect ratio on the IG feed is 4:5.)

YouTube videos and YouTube Shorts, videos are 1080 x 1920 pixels in size with an aspect ratio of 9:16. 

Why use short-form video?

Let’s consider why you should use short-form video to help boost your brand:

  • Increase engagement and reach: Every video you post is a chance to learn what works best at engaging your audience, and it’s a chance to reach new people.

  • Easy to create: Short-form content can be quick and easy to make, even on your smartphone.

  • Foster a sense of community with your audience: You can make a bulk of content around your audience's questions, as done by larger brands like Home Depot. For example, by monitoring what questions people ask on social media or on chatbots, you can craft content that answers these questions, and help pre-empt future ones. 

  • Boost brand awareness and authority: A great video can do a lot for your brand, especially if it gets engagement and is shared. Video content can also help you become an authority in a particular area so your brand is the go-to for when people want to find out about it.


A short hook to long content

Short-form video is a great way to hook people and draw them to your long-form content (and ultimately to a conversion).

When it’s done right, you can put out limitless hooks (more short-form content) to draw people to where you want them to go, such as:

  • Videos on your website 

  • Blogs 

  • Custom landing pages

  • Your YouTube channel

  • Your podcast or webinars  

Short-form video content is like a fishing hook. It's a way of pulling people in because platforms like TikTok are brand awareness heavy, but it's long-form content that converts. So the more you put out as short-form, the better chance you have of pulling them into your brand. From there they can experience everything else you have to offer.

How do you get started with short-form video?

So, how can you get started with your video strategy? Consider the 5 C’s:

Commitment

How much can you commit to? Be realistic about how much effort you can devote to creating and promoting your short-form videos.

Creativity

Where will you produce the ideas? You may be able to create perfectly suitable videos yourself or you might have to outsource production to a creative agency. Check out this creativity checklist for some guidance. 

Content

Can you create the right content for the right platform? Study what types of video work best on each platform (by using your data) and hone your video strategy accordingly. 

Consistency

How often can you show up? Set a consistent posting schedule and stick to it. A content calendar will help you with this.

Community

Is your community on the platform and do you know how to speak to them? There’s no point posting videos on a platform where your target audience isn’t even active. If you do post, make sure to monitor and engage.

How should you schedule your video content?

Having a consistent posting schedule is essential for any video strategy. Your audience will fall into the rhythm of your posts and come to expect to see new posts regularly. 

Create a content calendar to map out the exact amount of content you’ve decided to post each month divided by the number of content pillars (or content topic areas) you’ve decided on. Fill each post with an idea that is both relevant to your pillar and has value.

People tend to always over-commit to social, and it turns it into quite a stressful experience. You've got to choose a posting volume that you can stay consistent to, even if that is only twice a week.

You should also track and monitor activity and performance on social networks. 

This will help you to:

  • Know how your videos are performing.

  • Get insights into what content resonates.

  • Tweak your schedule and social channel frequency based on what’s successful.  

For example, if a video you post on TikTok outperforms Instagram and YouTube, dedicate more time, budget, and energy into that channel. Don’t rely on one platform, though, because social media is fickle. Keep an eye on the other platforms to see if trends emerge or you get a boost in activity you can tap into.   

A video with a higher engagement rate than previous ones will help you learn how to improve your short-form videos. The numbers don't lie and that's the beauty of analyzing data. A month-to-month metric is really useful so you can see when you're improving and declining.

How can you use AI in your short-form videos?

As with most forms of digital marketing, if you aren’t harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), you’re not reaching the full potential of your short-form video strategy. Marketing teams are often under pressure to create content quickly for many purposes and channels. 

However, creating good content takes time and effort, and a lot of marketers are time- and resource-poor. AI tools can help you generate content ideas, design and produce videos, and write compelling ad copy. 

Here are just of a few AI tools that you can use:

  • ChatGPT: Come up with ideas and content for your videos 

  • Canva MagicAI: Help you design your videos

  • Opus: Streamline the production of your short-form videos

  • Hour One: Make AI-generated talking head videos

  • Fliki: Create videos for social media platforms

  • Opus Clip: Repurpose long-form to short-form video 

  • Runway: Enhance videos and use generative AI

  • Synthesia: Create digital avatars if your budget doesn’t stretch to a real person

  • AdCreative.ai: Craft compelling ads to promote your short-form videos and your brand

Using these tools saves time and money. However, make sure to proofread any content before publishing it to ensure it has personality and fits in with your brand voice. 

What are the best practices for short-form video?

How can you optimize your short-form videos for success on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube? 

Change it up

  • Keep the viewer engaged by changing the angle or setting for the video. 

  • Short-form videos are designed for short attention spans, and nothing loses more attention than a video shot on one single frame.

Tell a story

  • Although it’s short, your video still needs to have a narrative arc and a clear focus. 

  • Structure the video with a beginning (hook), middle (development), and end (climax), with a call to action (CTA) to prompt engagement.

Provide value

  • Short-form video content always has a clear take-home point of value. 

  • This value could be inspiring, educational, motivational, and so on.

Pro tip: Use your own staff and colleagues to showcase your brand. You could do behind-the-scenes (BTS) content or emotionally resonant stories to show your brand in action. This helps to build brand trust and authenticity.

What are the challenges for short-form video?

Like any digital marketing campaign, short-form video requires time, effort, and creativity. And sometimes these can be in short supply. The most common challenges are creative fatigue, lack of consistency, and under-performing videos

Creative fatigue

Coming up with ideas can be challenging, and creative fatigue will put a halt to your progress. You can use different strategies to overcome this fatigue:

  • Use creative support sites: You can use sites such as Answerthepublic.com and TikTok Creative Center to find inspiration when ideas are hard to come by.

  • Look at the feeds: Check out what content other people are posting. What is trending? What can you add to the conversation?

  • Find out what’s working: Your reports and data analysis will give you insights into what types of content are performing. Use past successes as inspiration for future content. 

  • Ask your followers: Monitor what questions your followers are raising. Or simply ask them questions to help drive future content. 

Lack of consistency

  • Never underestimate the importance of a consistent posting strategy! This doesn’t mean that you have to post new content every day. Consistency is not the same as frequency. 

  • Find a schedule that works for you, and stick with it. Even if you post only twice per week, do that every week to set a consistent pattern.

​​​​​​​Under-performing videos

  • Growth on social takes time and energy. Although it’s short-form content, you need to be in for the long-term. 

  • When your performance doesn’t match your expectations, you might be tempted to overhaul your strategy. However, just focus on the 1% improvements. If your videos are only reaching three people at a time, then focus on reaching four people next time. 

  • When you achieve that improvement, find the different elements that made the difference.

Social media really glamorizes incredible results. You’ve got to stay in your own lane and just focus on those 1% improvements. Growth on social media takes time and it takes energy.


Short-Form Video: Final tips

So how can you position yourself for success with your short-form videos? 

  • Plan before posting: Choose the right platform for your business goals, and be guided by the 5 C’s. 

  • Create content that adds value: Leverage AI to support your content creation.

  • Develop a content schedule:  Use a content schedule to help you keep on top of your posts. Set a pace that you can manage. And batch your content in advance, when possible.

  • Find out what’s working: Learn what works for your social media marketing – and, more importantly, what doesn’t work. When you understand the data, you’ll understand how to reach your social goals faster. 

Ultimately it’s about looking at what made your short-form video perform. Did you use a trending song? Was it the video quality? Was the shoot set-up better? Was the lighting better? Did you use a professional camera over an iPhone?

 “When you figure out what made one video perform over another, the key is to replicate it to drive engagement and keep growing by 1%”


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Copyright by MAKREATE IT Services Co LLC 2024

Ready to 10X Your Investment?

Not sure how we can help? Let's talk and we'll understand your situation and identify an opportunity to help you grow!

Get in touch, and let's create the future together!

Schedule a free 30 min needs analysis and problem identification call worth 1000$

Or help us get in touch with you!

Copyright by MAKREATE IT Services Co LLC 2024