Your Primer to Short-Form Videos

Short-form videos have been around for a while. In the years past, this format has been mostly used in ephemeral content such as Instagram Stories and Snapchat. However, with the rising popularity of TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Facebook and Instagram Reels, it goes without saying that short-form videos are making it big this year and in the years to come.

Here, we talk about what short-form videos are, how they can help your brand, and some tips to help you effectively use short-form videos in your video marketing strategy.

Short-Form Videos vs. Ephemeral Content

Short-form videos, as the term suggests, are videos that are less than 5 minutes long. In the context of TikTok, Reels, and Shorts, however, short-form videos are less than 30 seconds in length. It’s similar to ephemeral content, which is usually 15 seconds long.

The major difference is that, true to its name, ephemeral content exists only for 24 hours unless you feature that Story on your profile; whereas with short-form videos, they stay on your profile indefinitely unless you delete them.

Which platforms can you post short-form videos?

  • TikTok

Best for brands targeting younger audiences. As of 2021, the highest number of users are between the ages 10 and 29 (47%).

  • Instagram and Facebook

Both platforms released a TikTok-like feature called Reels. Compared to TikTok, Instagram and Facebook cater to an “older” demographic, with the most number of users between 18 and 34 years old (62%).

  • YouTube

With the recent release of their YouTube Shorts feature, the platform is a promising contender, as they allow for up to 60 seconds of short-form videos and they cater to a wider demographic. In fact, their user base appeals to all ages, from 18- to 29-year-olds, 30- to 49-year-olds, and even those over 65.

  • Snapchat

Although SnapChat was at the forefront of short-form videos, it has been hugely surpassed by TikTok and Instagram respectively in the past few years. SnapChat has a strong following among audiences between 18 and 29 years old (65%).

Why are short-form videos highly beneficial for brands?

  • Snackable content

Over time, people’s attention spans have greatly shrunk: our average attention span is 8 seconds compared to the 9 seconds of a goldfish. This has been a huge challenge for marketers, and this is where short-form videos come in: by offering snackable content that most internet users can easily give their attention to, you increase the chances of people absorbing your marketing message.

  • Easier and cheaper to create

The beauty of short-form videos is that production doesn’t have to be so polished and sophisticated. In fact, 51% of marketers reported that videos are easier to create in-house and 44% said it’s more affordable. The same study also found that 87% of marketers claimed that videos give businesses a good return on investment (ROI).

  • Drives more engagement

TikTok has been found to drive the highest engagement rates over other platforms: micro-influencers have around an 18% engagement rate on TikTok, followed by 4% on Facebook and 2% on YouTube.

  • Increases lead generation and conversions

Around 84% of video marketers reported that brand videos have helped them generate leads. Another study found that 93% of brands have landed a new customer because of their social media videos.

3 Tips to Effectively Use Short-Form Videos for Your Brand

1. Initiate challenges and branded hashtags

Among the many trends that attract audiences to platforms like TikTok and Instagram are Internet challenges. Essentially, these are short-form videos where users do a “challenge” (whether dancing, singing, etc.), then they use a specific hashtag that prompts other users to join the challenge too. Some challenges include nominating others to participate (e.g., Ice Bucket Challenge).

For brands, you can leverage this trend by using branded hashtags and working with social media influencers to widen your reach. Some examples of successful TikTok challenges are Chipotle’s #GuacDance and the #PepsiCanBalance.

Internet challenges not only boost engagement and enhance brand awareness; it’s also a cost-effective way to create new content through user-generated content (UGC).

2. Show your human side

With hundreds of thousands of brands clamoring for people’s attention in today’s digital-centric world, it’s not a surprise that consumers’ trust in brands is at its lowest. However, the fact remains that consumers, especially the younger generations, prefer authentic brands.

What does it mean to be authentic? It’s not just about showing real people in your advertisements; it’s also about being true to your brand promise and establishing an emotional connection with your audiences by showing your human side. Some things you can incorporate this approach in your videos are:

  • Showing behind-the-scenes content about your brand or your employees
  • Sharing your brand story — your struggles, the values that guide you, etc.
  • Being candid while also staying professional and upholding your brand identity
  • Supporting causes that genuinely mean something to your brand
  • Personalizing your marketing campaigns

3. Make learning fun

Educational videos are among the top content types that audiences prefer to watch. These include how-to videos, explainer videos, informational videos, listicles, and the like.

Your videos don’t need to be very polished, and the topics you choose don’t need to be purely educational and serious to make this work. Your videos don’t have to be promotional too. As long as it’s fun, valuable, authentic, and engaging, users are more than happy to watch and even share them.

A key aspect in today’s short-form video trends is the use of engaging and fun music. Platforms like TikTok have an expansive audio library where you can pick royalty-free music. You can also add your own original audio on Instagram Reels.

Make use of each platform’s built-in features as well, such as AR effects, captions, etc., to add more zest to your videos.

Short-form videos are taking a huge role in video marketing this year and the years beyond, and younger audiences are looking to see more authentic, laidback yet creative content in their social media feeds. The most important takeaway here is that, however creative you get with your videos, it’s important to stay consistent with your branding.

If you want to read more about video marketing, video creation, and branding, visit our blog at



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Ilfusion Creative

Ilfusion Creative

Ilfusion Inc. is a full-service creative agency located in Fort Worth, TX with talents in web, design, video, social media and marketing consultation.