Why is short-form video so popular?
Why is short-form video so popular?

By on in Design & Experience, Tech & Trends

Why is short-form video so popular?

Mash together “storytelling” and “authenticity”—two popular goals for marketing briefs today—and what have you got? TikTok (if you’re under 30) and Instagram Reels (if you’re not). TikTok in particular has turned the world of video on its ear. Literally—the format has shifted the universe to vertical video and the rules of engagement have been completely rewritten.

If you want to reach people where they are, get noticed and start to build friendly feelings toward your brand, you need to be thinking about short-form video.

Find the humor or humanity in your message, and let people know from the first second that your video is worth their time. You can educate, but in a way that makes people want to stick around.


What’s so different about short-form?

Well, really, it’s just shorter. And likely vertical. But there are other things we can learn from the way TikTok has captured people’s attention. 

Be who you are. Don’t ask the CEO to trade his bow tie for a hoodie. Don’t try to convey a culture that doesn’t exist. Don’t ask hesitant participants to sing and dance. Lean into what makes your brand and the people behind it unique.

Show me one thing. Video is often expected to work too hard. Whether it’s the budget or the visibility within the company, in my experience, video has always had to be reviewed by more people and go through more rounds of revision than any other medium. Everyone wants to add something and nobody wants to take anything out. Resist the urge—save point #2 for the next video.

Avoid overthinking it. Lo-fi, unpolished video is real. Mistakes are real. We’re not suggesting that you be messy on social, but don’t put too much shine on it. You’ll learn what works as you go, so start posting and learning. Keep effort and costs in line and the ROI will be there.

Capture opportunities stat. Ocean Spray never could have planned for their viral moment, when a cran-raspberry-guzzling Nathan Apodaca skated to work accompanied by ’70s folk rock classic, Dreams. Ocean Spray and members of Fleetwood Mac were quick to hook into the buzz, releasing responses within a week. Of course, that was 2020. Today, you’d need to respond in 24 hours. Or less. So if the news or a trending topic aligns with your brand, get on it. Stick a phone in front of your CEO and pump out the content.

Have some fun. Find the humor or humanity in your message, and let people know from the first second that your video is worth their time. You can educate, but in a way that makes people stick around. I’m not sure quite which client I want to pitch this to just yet, but I’m in love with the way entrepreneur and motivational speaker Sierra Nicole simply dances while credit advice and a strong call to action flash across the screen. Does it make sense? Not really. Could you get a storyboard past the board? Probably no. But you’re gonna watch and learn something.

Keep it tight. There are still many times when beautifully produced video is the right answer. But even then, I would argue that in the current climate, anything north of 120 seconds is too long. And if you can go shorter, do. On TikTok and Insta, 15 seconds may be enough. After 60, we’re yawning.

Capture eyes across new channels—we’re here to help. Pop us an email and try something new with FATFREE.