Short Form vs Long Form Video Content: The ULTIMATE Guide to Pick the Right One for Your Marketing Goals [+ Insider Tips]

Ioana Cozma
May 21, 2024
January 25, 2024

Short videos go viral quickly and can put your brand on the map.

Conversely, long videos educate your audience and may lead to more purchases.

The choice is tough, but this ultimate guide helps you decide on the best strategy for your needs.

We’ll analyze the benefits and the factors to consider before choosing, offering best practices along the way.

Side note: We’ll use our experience as a customer acquisition agency and share plenty of insider tips and stories.

Let’s dive in.

TL;DR:

  • Short-Form Video Content:some text
    • Typically under 10 minutes, ideal for social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Stories.
    • Benefits: Mobile-friendly, viral potential, easy to consume, great for ads, lower production cost.
    • Best for: Quick engagement, reaching a wide audience, brand awareness.
    • Insider Tips: Highly effective in paid ads, can be repurposed across marketing channels.
  • Long-Form Video Content:some text
    • Exceeds 10 minutes, suited for detailed storytelling and deep narratives.
    • Benefits: SEO optimization, higher conversion rates (34% increase), ideal for backlinks and shares, more comprehensive information.
    • Best for: Building deeper connections, educational content, detailed product demonstrations.
    • Insider Tips: High production values enhance effectiveness, ideal for in-depth tutorials and brand storytelling.
  • Choosing Video Type:some text
    • Consider audience preferences and behavior on different platforms.
    • Align video goals with marketing objectives: brand awareness, education, conversions.
    • Balance between quick, engaging short-form content and detailed, informative long-form videos.
  • Types of Video Content:some text
    • Tutorials, documentaries, teaser videos, product roundups, educational videos, customer testimonials, behind-the-scenes, event coverage, interviews/Q&A, brand stories.
    • Selection based on content strategy and audience needs.
  • Budget Considerations:some text
    • Short-form content is more cost-effective, suitable for frequent updates.
    • Long-form content requires a higher budget but offers deeper engagement and monetization potential.
    • Consider DIY vs. professional production based on the content type.
  • Marketing Channels Influence:some text
    • Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok favor short-form; YouTube suits long-form.
    • Website and email campaigns can utilize both formats effectively.
  • Strategy and Implementation:some text
    • Maximize short-form with compelling visuals and clear CTAs.
    • Leverage long-form for storytelling and educational elements.
    • Track and analyze performance metrics for both content types.
  • Multiformat Approach:some text
    • Combine short- and long-form videos for maximum impact.
    • Short-form for quick engagement, long-form for depth and interaction.
    • Understand algorithm differences and audience retention strategies.
  • Conclusion:some text
    • A successful content strategy in 2024 requires blending both short- and long-form video content.
    • Tailor your approach to align with marketing goals and audience preferences

1. Defining the Terms

What Is Short-Form Video?

Short-form videos, typically under 10 minutes, are a staple in the rapidly evolving landscape of online video content.

Designed for the diminishing attention span of modern audiences, these videos thrive across various social media platforms.

Short-form content, exemplified by TikTok videos, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Stories, caters to active users preferring quick, engaging pieces on their mobile screens.

This video format resonates with social media scrollers, blending the need for engaging yet concise content.

Remember: Use a vertical format.

Insider side note: We use short-form videos like these for most of our clients, whether they need paid ads, a solid customer acquisition strategy, or panel recruitment.

What Is Long-Form Video?

In contrast, long-form videos exceed the 10-minute mark, offering deeper narrative and complex storytelling. Ideal for content marketing strategies, these videos foster deeper connections with the audience, enhancing engagement and potentially boosting conversion rates.

And yes, you can use the landscape format here, too.

Long-form content suits detailed demonstrations and extensive narratives, playing a crucial role in video marketing, especially for topics requiring thorough exploration and authoritative presentation.

Insider side note: Our agency also uses long-form video content when necessary.

Here’s a neat example for Mogo budgeting app:

2. A Brief History of Video Marketing [Yes, You Need This Section]

Video marketing has undergone a significant transformation since the early 2000s.

Initially, platforms like YouTube, now a major video search engine and social media platform, started as niche sites with different purposes.

YouTube itself was a dating site.

So why are we telling you this?

The evolution of YouTube epitomizes the shift in video content strategy, transitioning from predominantly long-form content, vital for audience engagement and algorithm favorability, to embracing shorter videos.

This shift was a response to the rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram, which revolutionized the landscape with short-form video content.

Basically, your audience is changing, so your messaging format may need to change too.

The introduction of YouTube Shorts, limiting videos to 60 seconds, marked a strategic adaptation to the growing preference for shorter, more digestible content.

This change reflects a broader trend in digital marketing strategy, where versatility in video format—ranging from short-form pieces to long-form video—becomes crucial.

Remember: Successful content strategy in 2024 demands a blend of both short- and long-form video content, each serving a unique role in engaging with a diverse online audience across multiple social media platforms.

That brings us to the next point:

3. Analyzing the Benefits

Benefits of Short-Form Video Content

Tl;dr: Mobile-friendly, easier to produce, easier to consume, more viral potential, more addictive, great for ads

For marketers like you, short-form video content is a key tool in digital marketing strategy.

That’s especially true for mobile screen users, who are increasingly becoming YouTube’s fastest-growing audience.

The mobile-friendly nature of short-form videos like TikToks, Instagram Stories, or YouTube Shorts aligns seamlessly with the lifestyle of social media scrollers, making these videos more likely to go viral due to their addictive quality and ease of consumption.

This video format, being easier and often less expensive to produce, allows for frequent and diverse video campaigns, enhancing your social media strategy.

Basically, you can gain more views, increase your audience engagement and promote active users’ interaction.

Insider tip: Short-form video content is easy to repurpose in ads, marketing emails, and product pages.

Insider story: At inBeat Agency, we frequently power our paid ads with short influencer videos to reduce CPAs.

For juicer brand Hurom, this strategy helped us decrease CPAs by 65%.

Also, notice how each content creator offers their unique value proposition, helping the brand connect to audience segments with different interests across the board.

Source

Benefits of Long-Form Video Content

Tl;dr: Optimization, backlinks, shares, more info, 34% more conversion rates

Long-form video content, on the other hand, offers substantial benefits in a content marketing strategy.

Its extended format is ideal for deep, complex stories, leading to a deeper connection with the audience.

This type of content is highly beneficial for SEO, as longer videos tend to keep viewers on the page longer, reducing bounce rates.

They also offer more opportunities for backlinks and social shares, boosting your brand’s status as an authoritative source.

For example, a quick Google search for “fitness tracker app reviews” reveals this YouTube result:

Insider tip: Long-form videos have been shown to increase conversion rates by 34%, a significant advantage if your marketing campaigns aims to drive sales.

That’s because this format allows more detailed demonstrations and educational videos, so you can provide comprehensive information and build trust with your target audience.

Get the most out of your paid media with inBeat TikTok Ads Agency

4. Factors to Consider in Choosing Video Type

Now that you know the benefits, how can you ensure you’re making the right choice? That’s what this section explains.

4.1. Understanding Your Audience

A successful video marketing strategy relies on understanding your target audience’s preferences.

First, analyze your audience’s demographics and behaviors.

Include their typical engagement on various social media platforms.

Common mistake: The typical advice is that younger demographics lean towards quick, engaging content, so short-form videos on platforms like TikTok or Instagram Stories might be more effective.

These platforms, favored by social media scrollers, align well with shorter content that captures fleeting attention spans.

For a more mature or information-seeking audience, long-form content on platforms like YouTube is thought to be more appropriate.

These users are said to seek deeper, more detailed content, from educational videos to complex storytelling, making long-form videos the ideal format.

Insider tip 1: TikTok statistics show that the audience using this short-form video platform is aging, so the demographics may soon change as Gen Alpha becomes a more marketable audience online.

Insider tip 2: Our experience in advertising and working with clients across niches and industries shows that the same people behave differently on different social media platforms.

Imagine you’re going after a B2B audience.

When you’re addressing them on TikTok, you need short-form videos.

When you’re addressing them on YouTube, consider longer videos.

Here’s one of Ahrefs’ videos on Instagram.

This is a behind-the-scenes clip with their massive servers in Singapore (in case you didn’t know, Ahrefs is a huge SEO software):

Source

Most of their videos are like this on Instagram. However, they post long-form content on YouTube, explaining in-depth SEO topics, like keyword research.

Source

Now, the Ahrefs customers are the same – but want different messages from the same brand depending on the platform.

Remember: Consider the type of content your audience consumes on these social channels. When are they more inclined towards quick, entertaining pieces, and when do they prefer in-depth, authoritative information? Understanding these nuances can guide your decision between short-form and long-form video, ensuring your content resonates with your audience and drives engagement.

4.2. Clarifying Your Video’s Goal

Defining the goal of your content is fundamental in video marketing. Here are key considerations:

  • Determine the desired outcome: Is the objective to increase brand awareness, educate the audience, generate leads, or drive sales? Short-form videos are excellent for creating buzz and keeping your brand top-of-mind, especially on social media platforms where shorter content is consumed more rapidly.
  • Message and engagement: Leverage short-form video content to convey a concise, powerful message or engage users quickly. This format is perfect for social media posts where immediacy and impact are crucial. On the other hand, if the goal is to establish thought leadership or provide in-depth tutorials, long-form content is more appropriate.
  • conversion focus: If the primary goal is to drive conversions, consider the nature of the product or service. Complex offerings might benefit from detailed demonstrations in long-form videos, leading to higher conversion rates. Quick, engaging short-form content can prompt immediate action for simpler products.
  • Audience retention strategy: Short-form content, with its addictive, quick-to-consume nature, is ideal for keeping your brand visible. For building a deeper connection and loyalty, long-form content that tells a story or offers substantial value can be more effective.

Remember: The video format should align with your digital marketing strategy, whether a short-form piece for quick engagement or a long-form video for comprehensive storytelling.

4.3. Considering the Type of Video

Selecting the right type of video content helps you align with your marketing objectives. Here are various formats with insights on their best uses:

  • Tutorials and How-To videos: Ideal for short-form or long-form content, these are perfect for educating your audience. Short-form versions can provide quick tips, while long-form ones offer detailed demonstrations, especially useful for complex topics.
  • Documentaries: Best suited for long-form content. They’re excellent for storytelling, building brand authority, and creating a deeper connection with your audience through in-depth exploration of subjects.
  • Teaser videos: Typically short-form, these are great for generating excitement about a new product or event. They’re designed to grab attention quickly and spark curiosity.
  • Product roundups: Can be short or long-form. Short-form effectively highlights features rapidly, while long-form can provide comprehensive comparisons and detailed reviews.
  • Educational videos: These informational videos work well for audiences seeking thorough understanding, allowing you to dive deep into certain subjects.
  • Customer testimonials: Effective in both short and long formats. Short testimonials are great for quick social proof, while longer ones can tell a more complete customer satisfaction story.
  • Behind-the-scenes (BTS): Can be either short or long-form. Short BTS clips are perfect for social media, giving quick glimpses into your brand, whereas longer BTS videos can delve into the intricacies of your operations or product creation.
  • Event coverage: Long-form is typically better, providing a comprehensive overview of events and capturing the full experience for viewers who couldn’t attend.
  • Interviews/Q&A sessions: Suited for long-form, offering an opportunity for in-depth discussions, insights, or expert opinions, thereby adding substantial value for the audience.
  • Brand stories: Best as long-form content. They narrate your brand’s journey, establishing an emotional connection with your audience.

Remember: Each video type should be chosen based on your specific content strategy and the needs of your target audience, considering the unique strengths of both short- and long-form video content.

4.4. Budget Considerations

To optimize your video marketing budget, produce the right type of video content for your target audience and marketing goals. Here are key points we typically consider at inBeat for our clients:

Cost-effectiveness of short-form content: Short-form videos, like social media posts or teaser videos, are generally more cost-effective. They require fewer resources for production, making them ideal for regular updates or engaging with social media scrollers.

Side note: We reduced Genomelink’s ads budget by 3 times in 3 months with short-form videos like the ones below.

Source
  • Investment in long-form content: Long-form videos like documentaries or detailed demonstrations demand a higher budget due to longer production times and potentially higher editing costs. However, they can lead to deeper audience engagement and higher conversion rates, making them a worthy investment for detailed content strategies. You can also monetize them more easily.
  • Platform-specific costs: Consider the costs associated with different platforms. For instance, YouTube’s fastest-growing screen is mobile, which requires vertical format videos. This can potentially affect your production costs.
  • DIY vs. professional production: Assess the feasibility of in-house production versus hiring professionals. Short-form content can be produced in-house with minimal equipment, while long-form content might benefit from professional quality to maintain viewer engagement throughout the entire video.

Insider tip 1: Consider nano- or micro-influencers-powered posts to avoid this issue. These content creators know their stuff, and they can spare you the hassle of content creation. Showcase is a great platform where you can find these highly engaged, professional influencers. We’ve also worked with many of them at inBeat.

Insider tip 2: Maximize your budget by repurposing content. Long-form videos can be segmented into shorter clips for social media platforms, offering a cost-effective way to create a stream of content across different channels.

4.5. Marketing Channels and Their Influence

The choice of marketing channels significantly influences the type of video used. Here are the essential considerations our team runs through before choosing:

  • Social media platforms: Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube cater to different formats. Instagram Stories and TikTok are ideal for short-form vertical videos, engaging with users seeking quick, entertaining content. YouTube, known for longer videos, suits educational and detailed demonstrations, aligning with its status as a major video search engine.
  • Website integration: For your website, both short- and long-form videos can enhance user experience. Short-form videos can quickly engage visitors, while long-form content can provide in-depth information, improving SEO and reducing bounce rates.
  • Email campaigns: Short-form videos are more effective in email marketing, offering concise, impactful content that encourages higher click-through rates.
  • Advertising platforms: The choice between short-form and long-form video in advertising should align with campaign goals. Shorter ads can capture attention quickly, while longer formats are better for storytelling and brand building.

Insider tip: Align video type with your overall content strategy. Build topic clusters to provide comprehensive information and ensure your content resonates with your intended audience. This strategy maximizes engagement and conversion opportunities.

5. Strategy and Implementation

Whether you decide on short or long-form video content, here are some actionable tips from our playbook at inBeat to effectively leverage both content types in your marketing strategy.

5.1. Tips for Maximizing Short-Form Video Content

  • Focus on first impressions: Capture attention within the first few seconds. Use compelling visuals or intriguing hooks to engage viewers immediately, catering to the limited attention span of social media scrollers.

Insider tip: At inBeat, we extensively A/B test hooks to reduce ad fatigue. That’s the first step to getting more views and engagement so the platform’s algorithm can rank our videos higher, and thus reach a broader audience.

Just look at the diverse hooks our creators came up with for the Greenpark app:

Source

  • Optimize for mobile viewing: Ensure your content is mobile-friendly, considering that platforms like TikTok and Instagram primarily cater to mobile users. Vertical format is key for maximizing impact on these platforms.
  • Leverage trends and hashtags: Stay current with trends and use relevant hashtags to increase visibility on social media platforms. This strategy can help your short-form content go viral, reaching a broader audience.
  • Incorporate a clear call-to-action (CTA): Even in a brief video, include a clear and concise CTA. Whether it’s to visit your website, share your video, or follow your social media profile, a strong CTA can boost conversion rates by 232%.
  • Consistency is key: Regularly post short-form videos to maintain a steady stream of content. This consistency keeps your brand visible and engaging to your target audience.
  • Experiment with formats: Try different types of short-form content like teaser videos, product highlights, or quick how-to guides. This variety can appeal to different segments of your audience.
  • Track and analyze performance: Use analytics tools to track the performance of your videos. Understanding what resonates with your audience helps refine your content strategy and improve future video campaigns.

5.2. Long-Form Videos: Harnessing the Power of Storytelling

Long-form videos offer a unique opportunity to deeply engage with your audience through storytelling. Here’s how to maximize their impact:

  • Develop a compelling narrative: Focus on building a story that resonates with your audience. Use storytelling to create an emotional connection, making your brand more relatable and memorable.
  • Incorporate educational elements: Use long-form content for detailed tutorials, comprehensive product reviews, or in-depth explorations of topics. This approach establishes your brand as an authoritative source and is effective for SEO.
  • Invest in production quality: High production values are crucial in long-form videos to maintain viewer interest. Invest in good-quality filming and editing to enhance the viewer’s experience.
  • Optimize for search engines: Incorporate keywords and optimize video descriptions for search engine visibility. Long-form content can boost your SEO efforts, especially when it includes informative and richly detailed content.
  • Encourage viewer engagement: Include interactive elements like Q&A sessions or direct calls-to-action. Engagement keeps viewers interested and can lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Utilize different platforms: While YouTube is the primary platform for long-form videos, don’t overlook other channels. Platforms like LinkedIn or your website can effectively host such content, especially for B2B marketing. Business people don’t necessarily like blog posts.

Measure and analyze performance: Track metrics like watch time, engagement rates, and conversion rates. This data helps refine your content strategy and improve the effectiveness of future long-form video campaigns.

The Multiformat Approach: When to Use Short-Form, Long-Form, or a Combination

This Reddit conversation reflects a nuanced understanding of the dual-pronged approach of incorporating both short- and long-form video content into a digital marketing strategy.

Here’s the gist of it based on our agency’s experience:

  • Views vs. monetization: While short-form videos, like those on TikTok or YouTube Shorts, can garner high views rapidly due to the shorter attention span of viewers, they don’t necessarily translate into successful channel monetization. This contrasts with long-form content, where higher view counts are more substantive, contributing more significantly to watch hours and deeper audience engagement.
  • Short-form content for quick engagement: Short-form videos can quickly capture the attention of social media scrollers and active users. They’re effective tools for gaining immediate visibility and reaching a broader audience, especially on platforms that favor shorter content.
  • Long-form content for depth and interaction: Long-form video content, such as detailed tutorials or comprehensive explorations, allows for in-depth storytelling and establishes a deeper connection with the audience. This type of content is more likely to lead to meaningful interactions and prolonged engagement, which is vital for building a loyal audience base.
  • Algorithm differences: Short- and long-form content are governed by distinct algorithms. Both types of content have their metrics and success indicators, underlining the importance of a tailored approach for each.
  • Subscriptions and audience relevance: On YouTube, short-form videos may result in higher subscription rates, but the engagement and interactions from long-form video subscribers might be more meaningful. Long-form content contributes to sustained channel relevance and audience retention, especially between major content releases.

Strategic implication for your brand: Combine video formats for maximum impact.

For example, you can use YouTube shorts as a teaser or introductory piece that leads viewers to more detailed long-form videos.

This strategy leverages short-form content’s quick, engaging nature to pique interest, guiding viewers towards long-form content for a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.

But if you’re unsure of what approach fits your marketing goals best, schedule a free strategy call, and we’ll use our experience to help you build a lucrative video marketing campaign.

Want more examples of successful influencer marketing strategies? Check out our case studies.

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