Let’s set the scene: You’re sprawled out on your couch, wrapped up burrito-style in your favorite blanket, phone in hand, and two hours deep into your For You Page on TikTok with no end in sight.
Trust us, we’ve been there too. Even marketers fall victim to the TikTok binge-scroll sessions (we like to call it market research). Have you ever wondered why it’s so easy to sit and watch TikToks for hours and hours? The answer to that is video content. According to Sprout Social, “More than 54% of marketers say that video is the most valuable content type for achieving social media marketing goals.” But…why is that? Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you
First, let’s take it back to freshman year biology class. By nature, humans are visual creatures. Our brains constantly analyze all the information we see and hear, and we use that to form connections and make decisions. Keeping that in mind, a few other mediums, like a well-crafted video or movie, can capture our attention and tug on our heartstrings. . Think the ever-classic rolling-can Chef Boyardee commercial, YouTuber extraordinaire MrBeast, or TikTok superstar Charli D’Amelio.
Okay, so now you’re probably thinking, “But what do Chef Boyardee, MrBeast, and Charli D’Amelio have in common?” While it’s hard to compare canned ravioli to an influencer, the one thing all these videos have in common is that they have your attention and eyes on the screen. This is a quality that static pictures and text cannot compete with, and that is precisely why marketers implement video content into their marketing strategies. However, this content drastically differs in length. Seconds, minutes, and hours can wildly affect a video’s impact and its engagement with its audience.
Whether you’re a content creator, marketer, or business owner, understanding the nuances of video content is crucial for success. One of the critical decisions you’ll face is determining the appropriate length for your videos. In this blog, we’ll delve into short-form (reels, TikTok, etc.) and long-form (YouTube videos, interviews, movies, etc.) content, exploring when each is most effective and how to align your video strategy with your goals.
The Down-Low on Short-Form and Long-Form Video Content
The main difference between short-form and long-form content comes down to, you guessed it, length. Think Tiktok’s versus your favorite YouTuber’s vlog. Besides length, there are a few other nuanced differences between short-form and long-form videos.
Let’s dive in.
What Are Short-Form Videos?
Now you know that short-form videos refer to brief content typically lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Short-form videos capture attention, deliver a focused message, and engage viewers quickly. Before social media, you can liken the idea of short-form videos to commercials (hence the Chef Boyardee reference). They’re short and sweet, and most importantly, they’re memorable. But short-form video content started on platforms like Vine in the early 2010s. We can thank Vine for popularizing trends like “Do it for the Vine” and setting the precedent for platforms like TikTok and Instagram that have popularized this format, thus catering to the fast-paced nature of online consumption.
Here’s another way to think about it: It’s easier to eat 20 mini Kit-Kats in one sitting than 20 full-sized bars. The same concept applies to video content. In recent years, it has become increasingly more and more challenging to maintain the audience’s and buyers’ attention. This can be attributed to several factors, such as an oversaturated market and information overload due to easy access to the Internet. To combat this, many brands and businesses have adopted short-form content into their marketing efforts to maintain relevance and keep their audience engaged.
Short-form videos provide the following benefits, making them a compelling choice for businesses:
- Boost in engagement: Studies say that the average attention span is now only 8.25 seconds. Short-form videos encourage viewers to watch the content fully, leading to higher completion and engagement rates. and
- Quick-n-easy messaging: By breaking down information into bite-sized snippets, businesses can communicate critical points efficiently and in an entertaining format so it’s easier for viewers to grasp and retain the desired message.
- Opportunities for creativity: Short video formats allow businesses and creators to experiment with various creative approaches, visual styles, and storytelling techniques without draining substantial resources for full-blown video productions.
- The best type of content for social media: It’s no secret that platforms like TikTok, Meta’s Reels, and Snapchat prioritize short-form video content. This boosts businesses with a ready-made audience to engage with their content and tools to maximize impact.
So what’s the big takeaway? Short-form videos’ abbreviated length is best for delivering information quickly and compactly. It allows for greater audience engagement, and frankly, its what people want.
Remember that finding the balance between brevity and delivering a meaningful message for an effective video marketing strategy is essential.
What Is Long-Form Video Content?
Long-form videos pertain to more extensive and in-depth content, ranging from several minutes to hours. Long-from videos allow businesses to explore topics thoroughly and give valuable information to their audience. Lengthy video content is commonly found on platforms like YouTube, Netflix or streaming services, where viewers are more willing to invest time and attention for a more substantial viewing experience.
Long-form video content isn’t limited to educational/instructional content. Some of YouTube’s most viewed long-form videos are podcasts, interviews, and even video game streamers. There are endless opportunities for diverse content when it comes to long-form videos. We’re not saying you need Christopher Nolan-level productions however, even simple long-form videos offer a range of benefits that can significantly impact a business’s video marketing strategy:
• Show You’re a Pro: Businesses can establish themselves as industry leaders and subject matter experts while gaining credibility in the eyes of their audience by providing a deeper exploration of relevant topics.
• Gather ‘round, It’s Storytime: Businesses can craft compelling narratives and engage viewers on a deeper emotional level with longer video durations. These types of videos can include client/employee testimonials, the history of the company, or interviews.
• Become the Go-To Resource: Businesses can better address their audience’s pain points by investing more time in branded video production through long-form content. Long-form video content can serve as a recurring resource for your audience and establish your business as the “Go-To.”
The obvious pros of long-form videos is the opportunity to create in-depth, insightful, and high-quality content. However, the cons are being able to maintain attention and the potential costs of production and equipment needed to create the videos.
Businesses must ensure the content remains engaging, visually appealing, and properly structured to sustain interest.
How To Choose The Right Format For Your Video Marketing Strategy
In digital content creation, choosing between short-form and long-form videos is important based on several key factors:
Purpose of the Content: Decide whether your goal is to entertain or to inform. Short-form videos like TikToks and reels are great for quick entertainment, while long-form content like YouTube videos is better for in-depth information.
Platform Suitability: Match your video length to the platform’s culture. Instagram reels and TikTok favor short, engaging content, whereas YouTube audiences prefer longer, detailed videos.
Audience Engagement: Short-form content quickly grabs attention and is ideal for brand awareness. Long-form content, on the other hand, helps build a deeper connection with your audience.
Storytelling Style: Choose a format that fits your narrative. Short-form requires concise storytelling, whereas long-form allows for more complex and immersive narratives.
Adaptability and Experimentation: Be open to trying both short and long-form content. Monitor trends and audience feedback to see what works best.
Production Resources: Consider your resources. Short-form videos can be made with simple tools like smartphones, while long-form might need more time, effort, and higher production values.
In the dynamic world of digital content, finding the right balance between short-form and long-form video content is crucial for success. Tailor your approach based on your content’s purpose, platform expectations, and audience relationship goals. Whether you’re aiming to entertain, inform, or build connections, understanding the dynamics of video length will amplify the impact of your content. Stay adaptable, experiment, and monitor analytics to continually refine your strategy.