Why Short-Form & Video Content Are On The Rise

By Patrick Foster - October 25, 2018
5 mins read time
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The world of content marketing is constantly on the move — adapting to new technologies, behaviors and ecosystems. As the world becomes simultaneously smaller and more complex, content has had to adopt new formats that engage people in today’s frenetic world.

Short-form content is the future of marketing. Here’s why.Click To Tweet

One example of this is the increasing popularity of short-form content. While long-form content still has its place, bitesize articles and quick videos are becoming a key avenue for brands to reach and connect with their customers. They’re dynamic, digestible and drive genuine engagement and traffic to businesses.

Short-form content is the future of marketing. Here’s why.

What constitutes short-form content?

Short-form content is, as the name suggests, content that is short, sweet and snackable. Long-form written content is generally seen as 1000 words or more, so short-form written content is best viewed as anything less than that.

But where do you draw the line? For written copy, many sites stipulate at least 500 words, although there is a minority who accept 300. A study by Brian Dean found that longer posts do perform better from an SEO perspective, but only because they are more comprehensive and provide greater value as a result.

But ultimately, it all depends on your industry, your audience and how you convey that value to them. A high-brow industry publication might find an 800 word article sufficient, whilst the typical customer of a kooky, tongue-in-cheek drinks brand would find a 300 word piece more digestible.

For video, it gets a little trickier to pin down. One study reported that around half of videos created by brands last for two minutes or less. But two minutes is too short for an in-depth product walkthrough, and it’s too long for a customer testimonial.

As before, it all comes down to who your audience is, what your video is about and how your audience is viewing it.

Why is short-form content so popular?

Consumers today are changing, and brands are constantly needing to find new and effective ways of connecting with consumers. The popularity of short-form content is evidence of this. Part of the reason why short-form content is so popular with customers today is because of the rise of mobile-first.

Today, 71 percent of media time comes from smartphones, with an average of 87 hours per month spent on mobile device web browsing. More and more consumers are using their mobile devices to surf the web, make purchases and research products and services. As a consequence, brands need to create content that is easily digestible on mobile formats.

'Brands need to create content that is easily digestible on mobile formats.' - @myecommercetipsClick To Tweet

In this digital age, there is a plethora of content available to us at any given time. Our attentions have developed so as to quickly sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff. With such a surfeit of content on the web, speed is a skill that helps us find the gems worth consuming.

Consequently, short-form content keeps your audience hooked by delivering snappy, digestible content quickly and succinctly.

How can I do short-form content right?

So how can you emulate the success of the aforementioned brands who have mastered short-form content? Here are some key tips to help you on your way.

Use the right platforms

If you’re using short-form video (and you should), don’t restrict it to your website or online store. Several social platforms have introduced or are rolling out dedicated short-form video options.

Snapchat was arguably the pioneer of short-form social video, with their ephemeral video format proving wildly popular with audiences. But while Snapchat invented it, Instagram perfected it. The latter’s rollout of IGTV earlier this year was met with much fanfare, taking short (and long) form content to the social masses.

Make use of the short-form video options proffered by social sites and regularly share short, snappy videos that look good and are enjoyable for the viewer. The drinks brand Slurpee delivered a beautiful short-form social video campaign for their new Slurpee bottle, below:

Short, humorous clips that invited shares and engagement were cascaded across social, and made for an effective campaign that ultimately netted them a Shorty Award (as well as 3 million views, a 67 percent increase in engagement and 131 percent increase in impressions). It’s a fine example of how successful short-form content can be in social marketing.

Use short-form content to offer value

To break through your audience’s discerning attention span quickly and effectively, your primary objective with your short-form should be to offer them value. If your viewers cannot find any reason to stay watching your video or reading your content, they will bounce away.

Consequently, you should always strive to provide a benefit to your content, a reason why your audiences linger. Delivering value in short, digestible formats is the cornerstone of a successful marketing strategy, and consequently of a successful business too.

One need only look at the many successful and Millennial-oriented businesses available on Exchange to find examples of online stores that have built up their success based on audience-led, short-form content offering genuine value. Activewear brand Get Sweatin’, for example, delivers 600 word blog posts spanning a variety of clickable topics that appeal to its customer base e.g. “is coffee good for us?”

Find what matters to your audience, then condense it down to its most basic elements. This forms the basis of short-form content that is readable and engaging.

If you can’t offer value, pique their interest

If you can’t provide value with your videos, then the next best thing you can do is pique your audience’s interest.

But to do this effectively, brands need to be both creative and concise. This is a fine line to tread, and one that requires hard work and delicate finesse. It’s comparable to writing the perfect tweet: conveying value in a limited character limit.

Once you’ve piqued your audience’s interest with a short article or video, you can lead them onto longer content that takes them further down your marketing funnel. For example, a short clip on cooking hacks could direct to a longer video selling your kitchen products.

Short-form content offers many benefits to brands, letting them deliver a message to their customers quickly and effectively. But it also poses challenges. Walking the line between concise and creative is a difficult one. But once you’ve nailed the perfect short-form formula, and you’ll soon feel the benefits of a rich content strategy that sees results.

Patrick Foster

Patrick Foster is a digital solopreneur and marketing guru from Ecommerce Tips. Here he shares his business insight and acumen on everything ecommerce, from design and dropshipping to SKUs and social strategy. Check out all the latest posts on Twitter @myecommercetips.

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