Instagram Stories feature allows users to edit pictures and videos, which will disappear after a certain amount of time. Source: Instagram

Short-form video: The next big thing in digital marketing

FACT: A millennial isn’t likely to commit to watching a video that stretches on for longer than a couple of minutes.

So used to having everything on-demand, the millennial doesn’t want to spend time on long adverts. Today’s younger audiences record their TV shows so they can skip through the breaks, wince when they have to watch a full advertisement on YouTube, and at last count – in April – consume 10 billion 10-second Snapchat videos a day. In February, it was eight billion videos.

Recent data from AOL suggests that 52 percent of young people aged between 18 and 24 prefer short-form video content in advertisements. It’s no surprise therefore that short-form videos, like catnip to today’s consumer, represent the future of content marketing.

Convince & Convert managing editor Jess Ostroff claims, “Nobody has time these days. In the attention economy, less is more”.

To remain on-trend, brands need to consider realigning marketing budgets to include this new style of snackable video content.

Snapchat helped jettison the snackable video form to stardom. Source: Shutterstock

It all began with Vine. In early 2013, Vine introduced the six-second video, challenging people to tell a story and make others laugh in a matter of seconds. Vine has since shuttered, but its short-form video legacy lives on.

Lean in 15 was set up by Joe Wicks (‘The Body Coach’) with aims to encourage people to eat more healthily from simply following a 15-second video. Wicks has now built an entire brand from these videos, including many very successful cookbooks. His website claims over a million books have been sold.

SEE ALSO: Leaks of Facebook’s content moderation policies reveal company’s shortfalls

Anish Patel, writing for Venture Beat, says, “easy access to video tools is generating ground-breaking new opportunities for brands and quickly becoming a must-have for any digital marketing strategy.”

The Shorty Awards even have a section for the “best use of short-form video”, which last year was won by Orange is the New Black’s Tap That Glass countdown videos to promote their fifth season. The videos are around five seconds long and allow viewers to feel as if they are interacting intimately with the characters from the previous four seasons.

Marketing company Sip Creatives now offers short-form videos as a part of their services, claiming that the videos, “tell a story and create brand loyalty. Major brands, such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Trident gum, Sonos, Mountain Dew, Adidas, Oreos and Lowe’s, are taking short-form video very seriously”.

Source: Instagram

A recent study by Canada-based software company Vidyard shows that 35 percent of businesses are using intermediate or advanced analytics to measure video performance and that 56 percent of all videos published in the last year were less than two minutes long.

SEE ALSO: Twitter disappoints by announcing users can no longer ‘Do it for the Vine’

The study also quoted advice from the experts. Hubspot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan said: “Fifty percent of your content in 2017 should be video. Stop looking for that blogger, start looking for that videographer.”

Social media guru Marc Zuckerberg weighed in too, saying: “Video is a mega trend, in a decade, video will look like as big a shift in the way we share and communicate as mobile has been.”

Dog’s Trust, an animal welfare society in the UK, are one of the brands who have embraced this new trend. Their most recent advert  was viewed over a million times on YouTube alone and lasted only 40 seconds. Similarly, last year they broadcast a successful advert which, again, runs at 40 seconds and gained over a million views.

They later released a “long version” of the video at exactly one minute. The fact that one minute was classed as a “long version” says a lot about the way companies are thinking about advertising via video. As Ostroff hit the nail on the head when she said, “less is more”.

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And it’s not just video.

Companies have cottoned on to the ever-increasing popularity of GIFs as well and are using these in place of traditional advertisement. In the same vein as short-form video, GIFs are used widely by millennials to communicate, averaging a mere two to six soundless seconds.

Recently Amit Fulay, who developed Google’s new software Allo, created a GIF as a means of promotion. He shared the GIF via Twitter to announce the release of Allo.

Along with the appetite of the online consumer, brands and companies are constantly evolving. With studies like IT and networking leader Cisco’s recent Visual Networking Index predicting that by 2020, 80 percent of the world’s Internet traffic will be video, it’s probably reasonable to assume most, if not all, marketing strategies will include impactful short-form adverts.

Of course, the success of these will continue to be determined by the stories they tell. Understanding what makes compelling content will remain the biggest challenge yet for brands.

SEE ALSO: RealNetworks banks on faster Internet speeds for video success

Speaking to Marketing Interactive, Miguel Bernas, vice-president of digital marketing at Singapore’s Mediacorp, calls this “the age of choice when it comes to content consumption”.

Ogilvy & Mather Singapore’s senior consultant Yeong Yee says to stand out, brand marketers should start thinking like publishers when creating media, meaning placing themselves in the shoes of the consumer and telling a story where, “the brand is no longer the ‘hero’, the audience is.”