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If all you had to base it on were movies and TV shows, you might think Americans’ attention spans are getting longer. The length of the average big-budget movie is now well above the former two-hour standard; the average Hollywood film now clocks in at 2:23. Streaming services have opened the door to one-hour dramas that last a full hour. Our long-form narrative video options are longer than ever.

But as soon as we pick up our phones and start browsing websites and flipping through social media, the truth of the matter becomes clear: our attention spans are rapidly growing shorter. On average, most consumers’ attention spans decreased by about 30% over the last 15 years. Things on which we would focus for 12 seconds back in the early 2000s can now only keep us engaged for about 8 seconds.

Knowing that, the following sentence ought to come as no surprise. Short-form videos are absolutely the future (and the present) of video marketing.

What Is Short-Form Video?

“Short-form” doesn’t have a hard-and-fast definition in the marketing world. Some sources will say anything less than 90 seconds is short-form. Others cap the length at 60 seconds. Some even limit “short-form” to 15 seconds or less.

However you define it, a short-form video is a quick, “snackable” piece of video content that focuses on getting across one specific point or accomplishing one specific marketing goal. It’s usually produced quickly, using minimal videography and editing equipment – most is shot, edited, and published using a smartphone – and is almost always less formal than more highly-produced pieces.

Why Short-Form Video Is So Popular

I think we said something earlier in this article about…. Squirrel!

Sorry, got distracted… We said something about decreasing attention spans. A big part of the popularity of short-form video is that it doesn’t ask too much. You don’t need to set aside time, reschedule any meetings, or give up your ukelele practice to watch it. Or, you can devote hours to just watching short-form content and watch hundreds of videos in the course of a day. Either way, it’s there when you want it, for as long (or, in this case, for as short) as you want it to be.

But even more important than its low demand on viewers’ time and attention, most short-form videos lean hard into an informal, raw vibe that isn’t exceptionally corporate or over-produced but instead highly authentic. And even Merriam-Webster understood the current desire for more of that in the world when it chose “authenticity” as its word of the year for 2023.

Even if they don’t have interactivity baked into them, the fact that short-form videos almost exclusively live on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube makes them shareable, open to comments, and easily repurposed – which all give a feeling of interactivity that long-form video typically can’t offer.

Popular Types of Short-Form Video

Why Short-Form Video Isn’t Going Anywhere

It’s Cheap and Easy

When you can shoot, edit, and publish a video in just a few minutes from the smartphone that you’re already carrying around in your pocket, why wouldn’t you? Particularly when you know that video is the single most effective way to engage any audience and is particularly effective at selling products and services to a valuable young audience.

A heavily produced video can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to make, and it may not move the needle for your marketing a millimeter further than the funny product demo your sales team put together one afternoon with an iPhone and some spare office supplies.

The days of big-budget productions reigning supreme are long gone, and short-form video is allowing smaller companies with much smaller budgets to compete successfully for a share of the audience’s attention.

It’s Versatile

There are very few business goals that you can’t leverage short-form video to help accomplish. While it’s doubtful that a single short-form video is going to increase sales a millionfold and move your local coffee shop into the Fortune 500, there’s almost no marketing campaign that you’ll need that isn’t improved by the inclusion of short-form video.

Whether you’re explaining product value props, answering customer questions, explaining your business’s mission or vision, trying to connect a new audience with your offerings, announcing a new location, carrying out market research, or just trying to get people to stop calling to ask you if you have the new Jordans in stock yet, there’s a way to make a short-form video fit the bill – or at least part of it.

It’s How Young People Consume Media

Your audience gets older every single day. The future of your business will eventually rely on attracting a new audience, one that’s younger than your previous audiences. So why not start now by meeting your younger potential customers where they are? Here’s a hint: they’re spending a lot of time each day watching short-form videos.

As you work to future-proof your marketing against the inevitable aging of your customer base, short-form video is and will remain the best way to connect with the young folks who will be your customers tomorrow and in the future.

But short-form video isn’t only effective at marketing to younger audiences. Thanks to the addition of “Reels” features to both Instagram and particularly Facebook, older audiences are now being exposed to and engaging with more short-form video on their social media feeds.

It Works

But for all the talk of affordability, versatility, and youth, when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, short-form video is the future of marketing for one straightforward reason: it works.

Even adding just one short-form video to your social media page can send engagement numbers skyrocketing. Adding it to your website will increase total time-on-page and decrease bounce rate. And including direct-link sales-focused calls to action in a short-form video can bump conversions up by 30% or more.

Few marketing practices can generate the kind of ROI that a quick, easy, inexpensive short-form video can generate. For the cost of a little bit of staff time, you can engage your audience on a deeper level, improve website performance, and increase sales.

Need Some Help Creating Short-Form Videos That Engage Your Audience? M&R Marketing Has Your Back. Give Us a Call: 478-220-4788

The team at M&R has what they need to develop your short-form video strategy, craft engaging videos, manage them for your social media platforms, and track how well they’re helping you move the needle! Call and speak to one of our friendly business development managers and find out how M&R can put video to work for you.