One of the most common questions we're asked when talking about the YouTube platform is “how do you rank videos...
No marketing campaign is complete without video content being included. The stat’s for the power of video content speak for themselves. There are a dizzying array of available facts and figures, all of which demonstrate, loudly and clearly, that video performs better and drives more conversions than any other method of delivering your marketing messages.
The statistics show that audiences retain 95% of a marketing message delivered via video, versus 10% via text alone, that marketing emails incorporating a video nearly doubles the click through rate and that users spend 88% more time on websites with video content.
In decades past, advertising on television or in the cinema was the only way to deliver video marketing messages, but in more modern times, with pocket-sized devices being capable of serving high-quality video to users, on demand, via numerous platforms, there’s never been a better time or as many ways, for businesses large and small to deliver their messages to their target audience.
Instagram has seen an 80% increase in people watching video. Over 500 million hours of video are watched daily on YouTube Similarly, Half a billion people watch video on Facebook daily. Between Facebook and Youtube, 45% of users watch over an hour of video a week.
The challenge now is to make sure that your audience, now spoilt with almost infinite choice, takes notice of your video content in an overcrowded marketplace.
What are Short Form Videos?
Short form videos, as the name suggests, are videos which are brief – usually between twenty seconds to a minute in duration. Short form content is increasingly important, primarily due to the rapid declines in audience attention spans.
In fact, the average person’s attention span is so short these days, that there is only a brief window of opportunity (around 4 seconds) in which to catch their eye and communicate with them before they scroll away.
With this being the case, short form videos are often the best way to deliver a quick, succinct message to the casually browsing consumer and various social media platforms are the best delivery method. You need to create content which is immediately impossible to ignore and if successful, you might get to make a few more points afterwards, or drive users towards other parts of your larger marketing strategy, which might include other visual media like product images or longer form videos, blog posts, press releases, email marketing etc.
Short form videos can be used in a number of ways, but their primary purpose is to both grab and to hold onto the attention of the audience long enough to get a particular message across. You need to get to the point quickly, ideally, make that point in a way which appeals to the emotions of the watcher and then hook that interest and emotion onto your product or service in order to make your brand memorable.
Some key points relating to short form videos are as follows;
- Short form videos are between 20 seconds and 1 minute long
- They are used primarily for social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook
- Short form videos convey their message quickly and with impact
- Short form videos are usually part of a larger Video marketing strategy or series
- Short form videos are easier to remember
- Short videos are quicker to produce than long form content
- Shorter videos have smaller file sizes, so they’re easier to distribute across several platforms.
How to create a short form video that works
As mentioned above, short form videos need to command attention immediately, have a clear, concise message and to deliver that in a way that’s both quick, interesting and memorable. It’s important, therefore, to bear the following points in mind in order to produce a successful short form video;
- Stick to one subject/product
- Get to the message quickly
- Have a strong brand identity throughout or early on
- Make sure the video works without sound… and with
- Keep it short – between 20 seconds to 1 minute
Firstly, you won’t have time to say much, so don’t split that time amongst several products, subjects or services. Stick to a single clear message.
Once you’ve decided on what you’re going to say, get to the main point quickly. Remember, you have four seconds to catch the users attention. Feature films get to the point right at the end, short form videos should do the opposite.
Short form videos should catch the attention and stick in the memory. It’s likely that brand awareness is high on your list of priorities, so your brand should be obvious from the outset. After all, if the user remembers what was said but clicks out early, or forgets it was your brand which said it, they might attribute that message to your competitor instead!
On mobile devices and especially on Facebook and Instagram, video is often watched without sound, (On Facebook for instance, 85% of video is watched with no audio), so it’s essential that your message is obvious whether or not the audio is enabled. Do make sure you include some good quality audio for those who prefer to listen though.
Don’t forget that brevity and simplicity are key. A single, clear message, delivered in a quick burst without ambiguity, is far more likely to succeed than a video which tries to cram in as much as possible. Leave the upselling, cross-selling, open and closed loops etc to other parts of your marketing strategy.
Creating quality short form video
Putting together an impactful short form video requires a little thought, but done right, the results should speak for themselves.
- Create for the end placement – such as square for Instagram/Facebook
- For voice messages add captions – this helps work without sound
- Create content that fits the audience and platform – a video on instagram needs to be higher production value than facebook
- Create scroll stopping video content– techniques such as using contrasting colours, impactful first screens, relatable content will help attract the audience and get them to stop scrolling
When planning your short form video, it’s important to consider where they’ll be appearing and to tailor each video specifically for the platform on which they’ll appear. For example, videos in the square format work well on Facebook and Instagram, but widescreen 16:9 videos are better for YouTube. Vertical video, while sometimes disparaged, has long been found on Snapchat and looks to be making a comeback as IGTV appears to have reluctantly adopted the format and even YouTube are planning their own version of ‘stories’ in the vertical orientation.
With not all watchers of short form videos listening to the audio part of the content, it’s hugely important to make sure that the message isn’t lost to the silence. Perhaps the most straightforward way to achieve this is via the use of captions for any speech or to describe anything which might be lost without the sound playing.
As well as dictating the best format for the video, the social platform you’re planning to publish video content to should also be considered when it comes to making sure you appeal to the typical user base of that platform and their expectations. Instagram is a place for beautiful visuals, so your production values should be far higher than on a video made for Facebook alone.
Consumers scrolling through their social media feeds are rapidly skimming the content presented to them. Your short form videos have very little time to catch their attention, make them stop scrolling and take notice. In order to make that immediate impact necessary, the first thing the users see must make an instant impression.
Using Contrasting colours, showing something they can immediately relate to, something that connects with them emotionally, something which makes them think, or makes them want to know more are all things which stand a good chance of interrupting that scroll.
Depending on the platform, the format and, of course, the message you want to deliver, livestreams might be appropriate, a quickfire sizzle, a teaser, a tailored excerpt from a longer video, an animation, or something else entirely. If it fits well with your brand, the platform and what the audience wants to see, your video stands a chance of success.
Confused by Short Form Videos? Speak to the Experts
At Falkon, we’re experts at all kinds of video production, from short form videos to animated content, to live action video and many more besides. We’re the agency other agencies turn to.
If you’d like to know more about the power of video, short form videos in particular, as part of a larger marketing campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch we’d be delighted to hear from you.