With video being hailed as the savviest marketing medium by industry thought leaders, marketers have consequently fallen in line to stack views in the favor of their campaigns. However, with so much noise on the internet pertaining to the best sub-set of video marketing, marketers find it difficult to cut through it and make a decision.
On one hand, they have short form video – the key to stopping users on social media in their tracks, while on the other hand, they have long form video – paramount to a website’s SEO.
Taking into account the dreadfully contracting attention span of viewers which are even shorter than that of goldfish, most marketers declare short form content as the channel to get through to users. However, it’s not that simple.
The type of length your video should have depends on various factors. The real questions you should be asking are, “What do I plan to achieve with this video?”, “Which stage of the sales funnel my prospects lie on?”, and “How can I turn these browsers into buyers?”.
Audience demographics, video sharing platforms, and the type of visual content are some important factors that go into the selection of a video’s length.
Imagine making a quality long form video, only to publish it as an Instagram post. It is more than likely that people won’t keep on swiping to watch the chopped-up video till the end.
According to MotionCue’s CEO, Osama Khabab, “Video can be used in various ways to achieve marketing objectives. Even though the most common answer is ‘as short as possible’, the right answer is: it depends on your goals.
“Granted that the quality is high, both kinds of videos can help achieve a marketer’s goals if he predetermines the answers to the right questions.”
In his Forbes article, Osama says, “People often underestimate the power a strong message wields. You could be selling something that isn’t intrinsically groundbreaking, but if you manage to get creative with your messaging, you’re more likely to make it into the big leagues.”
Having said that, let’s see when you should choose one video sub-set over the other to drive the best results and the benefits one has over its counterpart:
Short Form Video
The versatility of short video helps businesses reach out to a large segment of people. Being as effective as it is, marketers have begun resorting to short form video to drive conversions, which is why we see it making rounds on the internet. Let’s take a look at the pros of short form video individually:
1. Apt for declining attention spans
With the internet getting more mainstream and the path to our desirable content being at our fingertips, we have gotten impatient. Consumers no longer want to pay attention to intrusive ads and brand messages that they don’t find useful.
Clicking out of a video is so easy that if your message isn’t captivating, viewers will do just that.
In this case, short form video makes the message more snackable and helps in circumventing TL;DR. Additionally, short form videos don’t put viewers in the state of deliberation on whether or not the content would be worth investing time in.
2. Receptive for the audience on social media
Since we are talking about short form video, I believe it’s important to mention social media. Nothing has contributed more to our diminishing attention spans than the quirky and succinct Snapchat video and Instagram Story.
People on such platforms are on the hunt for content which is captivating. With spontaneity and quirkiness, marketers can combat the barrage of thumb scrolling and achieve thumb-stopping moments under 30 seconds.
Additionally, as millennials have started to reach their mid-20s and 30s and have become more financially sound, they have turned into an important market segment for businesses. And social media is your best bet to reach out to them.
3. Easier to repurpose
Short form video is memorable which is why turning the existing macro content, such as blog posts, on your site into a digestible video is paramount to the engagement of your prospects. By crafting a teaser video, you’ll be giving out just enough information to entice users to click and take action.
Additionally, you can use short videos as an opportunity to highlight the textual content on your website
The budget and time to repurpose macro content will be minimal and the benefits would be unparalleled.
So, when does short form video work best?
Now that we have covered the benefits of short form video, let’s see what MotionCue’s CEO has to say about its application: “In my opinion, short form video works best when a business is attempting to surge awareness. Creating catchy content that strikes the resonant chord of ‘this is interesting’ with your viewers will not only make your brand memorable but will help you earn a few shares here and there.”
He further adds: “If your audience doesn’t know you, it is rare for them to invest 10 minutes or more in your video. So, the best way to encourage brand awareness is through short form video.”
Types of Short Form Video
Snapchat was the pioneer of this trend back in 2011. Fast forward to today, Stories are everywhere. These are basically 10-second videos that encourage candidness and are consumed at a staggering rate today.
Teaser trailer of long form content
As discussed above, longer videos and textual content can be turned into bite-sized chunks that highlight key points and appeal to the masses.
Sharing trending news is a great way to jump into the conversation and seem relevant. These also increase the chances of garnering shares.
Sharing highlights from an event can make your brand more humanized.
Creating short product feature videos can help ensure your audience will watch the whole series.
Proof of Short Form Video
According to the above research, it’s obvious that the retention rate of short form video is better than its long form counterpart.
Moreover, according to HubSpot, 26 seconds was the best video limit on Instagram, 45 seconds for Twitter, and 60 seconds for Facebook.
Long Form Video
“We live in a world where consumers are bombarded with hundreds of messages each day and, as a result, have become extremely selective about what they’ll pay attention to. Therefore, businesses need to treat attention as a scarce commodity. To stay on top in such circumstances, your message must be unique, clear and impactful.” – Osama Khabab
With the above statement, it is evident that regardless of the length of the video if you are able to make it impactful, you will reap the results you set out to achieve.
Yes, short form videos are digestible, but I think we can all agree that long form content is still the most meaningful and valuable.
So, let’s look at benefits of long form video in more detail:
1. Provides value
Meaningful videos that check all the right boxes are disseminated all across the internet. Plenty of businesses use long form videos to educate, entertain, and engage viewers – in turn providing unmatchable value.
Take Wistia for example. To seem worth its prospects’ time, Wistia creates knowledgeable series of videos that educates them.
Not only does this increase loyalty, but the prospects of Wistia also stick around long enough for the page’s SEO to get boosted.
2. Deep engagement is driven
Call short form video the king of engagement. But when it comes to building a long-term connection with your audience, long form video takes the cake.
In a research conducted in 2017, it was found out that 80% of the videos which were under 5 minutes, only contributed to less than half of the overall engagement. However, the 8% of videos that exceeded the 15-minute mark resulted in 50% of audience engagement.
3. Builds your brand
Long form videos work exceptionally well when it comes to building a brand image and standing out amongst the crowd. Long videos equip you with the opportunity to steer your brand in whichever direction you want.
You can turn your business into a platform where consumers come to learn, or you can provide value in the form of entertainment. There are too many options available.
So, when does long form video work best?
In Osama’s view, long form video reaps the best results when “it’s created by a brand that follows the personality of the founder . Compared to short form video which works best in the awareness stage, long form video works perfectly between the consideration and purchase stage of the sales funnel.”
Take Gary Vaynerchuk for example. His videos on average are longer than 30 minutes but he has still managed to build a community of more than 2.5 million subscribers and on average, 80k people watch his videos.
This is one of the reasons why people know Gary and want to learn from his success. Imagine if someone who had no brand presence whatsoever were to put up a 50-minute-long video, would you even click on it?
Types of Long Form Videos
Live video has been around for quite sometime now, but in 2016 when Facebook dabbled with it, it became more mainstream because the masses gained the opportunity to access it.
Prior to live video, Facebook gave priority to short videos, however, as of now, the algorithm is programmed to prefer live videos.
Podcasts are your best bet when it comes to educating your customers. HubSpot, Marketing Over Coffee, Success Made Simple, etc. all conduct podcasts to encourage brand loyalty and engagement.
There are very few people today that purchase a product without considering someone’s review. By putting up reviews yourself, you would make it quite easy for your prospects to reach a decision.
Proof of Long Form Video
In another research conducted in 2016, 29% of smartphone users spent time looking at videos over 20 minutes. In 2017, that number moved up by more than half or 54%.
On Facebook, videos exceeding 10 minutes garnered 79% of shares and 74% more views than their shorter counterparts in 2017. Experts believe these number will only surge as long-form video applications in business, entertainment, and education continue to gain traction.
Most studies indicate that the ideal video length is under 3 minutes. But does that mean short video is the only marketing medium you can leverage to achieve conversions?
The research is clearly indicative of the fact that marketers can get the best results for their campaigns by taking crucial factors into consideration that are decisive for a video’s length.