As attention spans decrease, the popularity of short-form video content is increasing. Younger generations are quite literally growing up with brain capacities suited to short-form video consumption and major social media platforms are undergoing significant revamps to suit this shift.
Today, creators are being steered in the direction of short-form video content, with most videos less than a minute long, being those that prevail. Aside from fuelling newly-decreased attention spans, why exactly is the short-form video trend so appealing and what does it mean for the future of social media content creation?
If, like us, you are a self-confessed short-form video fan, continue reading for some interesting facts and justifiable reasons for the trend’s takeover.
A long time ago…back in 2013
As dramatic as we are making the short-form video shift sound, there is actually nothing new about content being less than one minute long. Now defunct short-form video content platforms, such as Vine, started the ball rolling with the trend’s now decade-long history.
Let’s quickly delve into the impact Vine had on today’s reigning social media trend.
Prior to the app’s launch in January 2013, there were no opportunities to create, view and post short, looping videos all from a smartphone. Of course bigger platforms such as YouTube were readily available for longer, carefully-crafted videos to be shared, but Vine was the first to allow short-form video creation. The only caveat was that Vine restricted its videos to just 6 seconds in length.
With this limit, a precedent was set; videos did not require high-end budgets or large-scale production because the purpose of these videos was to just share a quick, funny or entertaining video sequence. Unlike its YouTube counterpart, Vine became a space for casual viewing and off-the-cuff content creation. What this meant for up and coming creators was that they did not need previous experience to make unique, and sometimes viral, content. They just needed wit and dedication to pumping out multiple videos a day.
One decade later
(Yes, we did intend for that to be read as the French narrator from Spongebob…)
The demise of Vine in 2016 was capitalised on by other major social media contenders as there was now a space in the socialsphere for a new short-form video superior.
Facebook was already up and running with its autoplay feature, which made it near impossible to scroll through your feed without running into a video of some sort, and Instagram’s ability to record and upload videos 15 seconds or less, was already 3 years old. In 2016, Instagram also launched Stories; a feature that would play a huge role in shaping the current state of short-form video popularity, today.
We’re aware that the only word occupying your mind while reading this blog is most likely ‘TikTok’; and it’s understandable seeing as it’s the current reigning short-form video content platform. TikTok, formerly known as Musical.ly, has over 1 billion monthly active users and contributes content to the social media ecosystem that is vital for the trend’s longevity. TikTok has given way to a new generation of content creators. Its most notable feature is its For You page; an infinite feed of bite-size videos suggested to you by an algorithm that seems to know just what you are looking for. This is what makes the app so difficult to come out of once you’re in.
The secret to short-form video success
Short-form videos have become a significant part of people’s online experience, but what is causing this trend and what is it about its consumption that keeps people wanting more?
It encourages creator and viewer participation
Short-form video content fuels consumer desire for belonging and involvement. Participation and the formation of communities is encouraged through a short-form content creator being able to adapt to trends, memes and culturally important news, quickly.
As well as this, platforms make short-form content creation simple; encouraging more people to get involved. 2018 data from the Global Web Index shows that 68% of users had watched someone else’s videos and 55% had uploaded videos of their own in the month of December.
Short-form content is free to access
Today, short-form video content platforms rely on advertising rather than subscriptions for funding. For creators, the accessibility of this content can allow them to reach a wider audience and for consumers, short-form video is a great alternative to those who might not want to/be able to afford a subscription.
Content is tailored for you
It comes as no surprise that audiences tend to prefer engaging with content that is relatable and that which they don’t have to actively search for.
As a result, short-form video content platforms have perfected their algorithms over the years to suit new consumer desires and behaviour. On most social media platforms nowadays, each viewer gets their own, curated feed of personalised content. The luxury of having a feed of videos that shows you exactly what you want to see without having to lift a finger is what keeps users coming back.
Short-form content is universal
There is a sense of universality when it comes to short-form video content creation and consumption.
Many viral short-form videos do not require the consumer to speak their language in order to understand its visual contents. This wide accessibility has likely contributed to making the short-form video trend popular across all demographics and geographies and will continue to aid its longevity.
Short-form video trends
Above all, short-form videos are created and shared for entertainment; however, this does not stop brands from capitalising on their popularity for the sake of boosting their social media marketing strategies.
Though there are unlimited short-form video ideas out there, here are the top trends that are expected to dominate short-form content by the end of 2022:
Initially, short-form videos gained popularity through viral content based on songs, dances and sounds. Today, brands are able to make their own sounds and dances to try and replicate this virality; with 42% of brands who’d used this tactic saying they performed better than expected.
Short-form video example:
Colgate launched their #MakeMomSmile campaign, which encouraged users from all over the world to create a video showing us things they did to make their Mothers smile. The hashtag and the background music is unique to this campaign and makes it instantly recognisable.
@zahra look how beautiful my momma is :’) #MakeMomSmile @colgate_us #ColgatePartner ♬ Children Folk Acoustic – BDKSonic
Brands have been leveraging influencer marketing for years, that is nothing new. However, they have started to run these influencer marketing ads in the style of short-form videos, in recent years.
HubSpot Blog Research found that 66% of marketers prefer to work with TikTok influencers, due to the popularity of short-form videos.
Short-form video example:
More user-generated content
Consumers tend to love user-generated content and pairing it with something else they love – short-form videos – is a recipe for success!
UGC influences a consumer’s purchasing decision more than influencer or brand-generated content and is most popular among Gen Z, who just so happen to be the largest demographic on the reigning short-form video content platform.
Short-form video example:
@chipotle Out of this world delivery ha @cheekyboyos #chipotle #burrito #space #fyp ♬ original sound Chipotle
More behind-the-brand videos
Consumers actively seek out authenticity and transparency when it comes to selecting a brand to engage with and purchase from; it’s no wonder they feel more connected to a brand who shows them the people behind-the-scenes.
In a Sprout Social study, 70% of consumers said they felt more connected to a brand whose CEO is active on social media.
Short-form video example:
@liahyooWhat does a day in beauty company CEO’s life look like? Today we’re heading to Philly to find some inspiration!😏♬ The Weekend – 88rising & BIBI
The future of short-form video
When it concerns short-form videos, consistency is key to winning over your consumers and leaving them wanting more. As platforms make it easier and easier to pump out multiple high-quality videos in quick succession; the longevity of the short-form video trend is guaranteed.
The proof is in the pudding. 53% of videos that are 90 seconds or less are watched to completion, whereas those that are 30 minutes+ are only getting a 10% completion rate. For brands and creators, this means that whatever they wish to convey in the video needs to be done in roughly 2 minutes or less.
Short-form videos have become a vital part of the social media ecosystem and is a trend that is here to stay, regardless of your preference. It is wise to move with the times, as opposed to fighting an inevitable shift.
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