Short-Form Video: What Your Digital Marketing Strategy is Missing

Discovering the WHY behind the magnetic nature of short-form video content is a question of human nature and our need for connection.

Let’s do a little experiment together. Ready?

Close your eyes (after reading this paragraph) and think back to the last piece of social media content that gave you an emotional reaction. Maybe it made you laugh? Cry? Ponder life’s problems? Solve life’s problems? Got it? Good.

Now, what format was that content created in? 

Odds are, it was a video. Odds are even higher that if it was a video, that video was under 2 minutes long.

Based on the title of this blog, you probably already knew that’s where I was taking you, and I bet you didn’t even bother closing your eyes for the exercise! If so, shame on you. 

Kidding…  kidding… 

But really, the reason you didn’t take the time to do the exercise is the same reason short-form video is dominating the digital space right now. And your rebellious, non-participating self actually played perfectly into my point… MUAHAHA. 

All evil villain laughter aside, humans are smart, and in order to navigate efficiently through our environment, we’ll remove obstacles however we can. This can lead to a shrinking attention span as we make it our mission to skip ahead, save time, and put our audiobooks on 2x speed. 

The following stat is probably as well known as it is practiced: the average human’s attention span is 8.25 seconds, which is less than a goldfish. 

Nobody wants to be worse off than a goldfish… but even so, few people want to put in the time it would take to consume long-form content. If they do, it’s usually while multitasking: “I’ll listen to that while I also *fill in the blank* “ 

Short-form video capitalizes on human nature. To understand why it works and how you can use it, we first need to establish when it all started. 

The Takeover: When It Started

Since YouTube’s conception in 2005, video content has made waves in the digital stratosphere, given its accessibility, personability, and high levels of engagement. Although short-form content did exist prior to TikTok (may Vine rest in peace), it was not embraced on a global scale until its rise in 2016. 

Today, nearly every social platform has its own TikTok-equivalent, from Reels on Instagram to Shorts on YouTube. But why the copycat behavior? What’s working

Discovering the WHY behind the magnetic nature of short-form video content is a question of human nature and our need for connection. 

Let’s get into it. 

The Draw: Why It Works

Humans are creatures who crave connection. 

Although time and connection do go hand-in-hand (you’re not going to propose to a person you met yesterday, for instance), humans are also creatures who crave ease. Whenever possible, we will choose the path of least resistance. 

Short-form video delivers both. 

We get the connection we crave (or at least some semblance of it) with the ease-of-access we desire. Right now, you could open your favorite app and in less than five minutes, you could see: 

  • A woman experimenting with a trend to make the chicken wire in her chicken coop visually disappear
  • A man sharing a tip to keep algae out of his pool all summer using a pill bottle and some copper
  • A man singing Italian while making a delicious-looking sub for lunch
  • A dramatic story of a woman who received a write-up for a TikTok she posted while on the job
  • An OGX “get ready with me” commercial
  • A woman at an Ed Sheeran concert losing her mind when Eminem spontaneously appeared on stage

If those examples seem oddly specific, it’s because I just pulled them from my own TikTok feed. In less than five minutes, I was able to connect with five separate people and I was fed one hyper-targeted ad in that time (from a shampoo brand that I’ve used in the past). I only viewed the ad for 2-seconds before scrolling past it… but I could still identify the product, and now I’m thinking about that shampoo. 

Short-form video content is magnetic for three reasons (probably more, but for the sake of this blog, three): 

  1. It’s easy to create
  2. It’s easy to access 
  3. It’s highly tailored for the scroller

First, it’s easy to create. Each of those creators could create and post their content in just a few minutes. Some content is more curated than others… in which case it could take a few sessions of ideation, filming, and editing. But regardless, short-form video content puts the power of creation in the hands of everyone who owns a smartphone. An expensive camera, drone, editing software, or degree are not the hallmarks of a successful creator anymore. In today’s age, a creator is anyone who possesses the passion, mindset, and consistency necessary to keep up with the shifting tides of social media. 

Second, short-form video content is even easier to access than it is to create. It’s free, it’s entertaining, and it’s in your pocket. The vast majority of us consume more than we create (which is why “WeCreate” for you! Eh?). Simply put: it’s the easiest way to achieve an all immersive experience capable of connecting humans instantaneously to each other.

Third, short-form video content is highly tailored for each individual consumer. Thanks to that all-elusive, ever-changing “algorithm” we’re able to look through content that WE enjoy. When you find yourself fed a new stream of content (“wow! I really like this side of TikTok!”) it can be disorienting, exciting, and it can even lead to borderline-unhealthy obsessions.

The Application: How to Use It

It’s non-negotiable that short-form video content is an effective way to reach people. But I’d like to argue that it’s THE most effective way to reach people in 2023, and it’s what your digital marketing strategy is missing. 

When it comes to the HOW of short-form video marketing, here are three tips to consider when creating, marketing, and analyzing your next ad campaign. 

  1. When Creating Your Ad, ensure that it flows with the feed

When I was fed that TikTok ad for OGX Coconut Shampoo, it was from a woman in a bathrobe doing a GRWM (“get ready with me”) – I was instantly hooked because I love watching GRWM videos. Plus, it took a solid 1-2 seconds to realize that it was an ad in the first place. The number one question you want your consumer asking is: “Oh wait, is this an ad?” If you can delay the scroll away as long as possible, you’ve planted a seed that can lead to brand awareness, recognition, appreciation, conversion, and eventual fandom. 

  1. When Marketing Your Ad, find your niche and deliver it to a hyper-targeted audience

There’s no use in creating an ad with a perfectly crafted message if that message is delivered to the wrong audience. Through diligent research, creative tests, and strategic use of a savvy marketing team (*raises hand* adds a *wink wink*), your content will not only attract attention, it will give your brand the momentum it needs to truly explode. “Winning” in the digital marketplace can only be achieved through successfully identifying your audience and speaking directly to their fears, problems, habits, and hangups. 

  1. When Analyzing Your Ad, define what success looks like prior to launch and adjust the campaign accordingly 

Before launching your next wildly successful campaign, you need to first identify what success means to you. Is the primary goal to get people to start singing your brand’s name? Would you like to drive foot traffic through your doors for an upcoming grand opening? Would you like your customer to become better educated about the topic that you address? Whether your goals are centered on Awareness, Conversion, Education, or none of the above, data analysis should be informed by pre-selected goals and adjustments carefully made with those targets top of mind.

So there we have it. The long and short of it is: short-form video is what your digital marketing strategy is missing. 

But hey, you already knew that didn’t you? Or at least, you were very highly suspicious of needing it and were looking for some extra convincing? Or, you’ve felt that way for a little while now and just needed extra cannon fodder to make it happen? Or, you’re not really invested one way or another and just really like reading about marketing strategy?

However you got here and wherever you’re going after reading this, consider this your sign to make the change happen. 

We hope you go here to learn more!