By Lauren Reed, Intern
Since the development and growth of TikTok, short-form videos have become the next big thing. These videos catch users’ attention and have no problem keeping it due to their snack-sized length. One of the first apps to feature short-form videos was Vine, released in 2013. The internet loved Vine’s simple format, but it did not receive much attention from advertisers. In 2016, around the same time Vine announced it was shutting down, TikTok was released.
TikTok grew in popularity to the point advertisers could not look away. Instagram, Facebook and YouTube all currently feature some form of short-form videos. Some still consider short-form video services such as TikTok solely a place for lip-syncing and dancing. But just as YouTube graduated from the place for cat videos to a service that provides global advertising, short-form video services are becoming increasingly relevant for everyone.
Today, short-form videos have different definitions depending on the website. Short videos on Instagram, or reels, can be up to 90 seconds, and the short videos on TikTok can now be as long as 10 minutes. Over the last few years, services have gradually expanded the maximum length of short-form videos. Often, longer short-form videos are utilized to go more in-depth into topics, stories, or educational material. Videos under 30 seconds are often centered around humor or entertainment.
The variety of length and content may seem confusing, but most of these services strive to be user-friendly so that anyone can make a quality video without too much frustration. After mastering the basics, short-form videos can have a great payoff level. Chipotle has done well with its witty campaigns on TikTok and Ocean Spray did well due to a man drinking cranberry juice on a skateboard. Other companies have attempted to introduce short-form videos on their social media feed, sometimes with not as much luck as hoped. However, keeping the following two principles in mind can help create great short-form videos that attract users’ attention.
Stay on top of trends
Short-form video trends can fly by. It is necessary to be aware of what is trending with short-form videos. Though many trends with short-form videos can follow trending music, this is not always the case. Songs recorded decades ago can trend, such as Mr. Sandman. Also, filters and add-ons can become popular.
Not every trend is for everyone, but you should not wait around for the perfect trend to come around. Be creative and experiment with a trend that best fits. This may seem difficult to perfect, but short-form videos do not require a perfect, polished look. These videos are a way to let loose. One way to master trends is to cater to a specific demographic. TikTok creators will sometimes sort themselves into different “sides” of TikTok. One instance is “CleanTok“, which features soothing videos of people cleaning everything from laundry machines to carpets. By using hashtags associated with these communities, you can better specify your audience.
Adapt your content for short-form video platforms
As YouTube videos are different from television shows, short-form videos are different from YouTube videos. Advertisements on television and YouTube often cannot be skipped, but many short-form video platforms allow a user can instantly swipe these messages away. Therefore, companies and ads must adapt to fit the standards of these websites.
Short-form videos are designed to be watched on phones, so filming in a vertical format is a must-do. Also, because people will often watch these videos in a noisy location or without sound, adding captions can be helpful. Additionally, the attitudes of the audience are different than they might be for other formats. Short-form video platforms preach authenticity so often a traditional advertisement may seem fake and annoying and is ignored. Users watching short-form videos might respond better to a quirky how-to video or a behind-the-scenes tour than an aggressive ad. These will better assimilate into the other interesting videos the user enjoys. Going along with the fun, authentic atmosphere of short-form videos will allow you to fit in well and make videos that are well-received.