Short-form videos: the future of digital marketing

  • Ivaylo Kirov - Junior Creative
  • 27 october, 2023

POV: It’s 2013 and you are scrolling through funny Vine-s on your iPhone 5s. Just a blink of the eye and the trend is gone. Seven years later, TikTok takes the revenge of the short-form videos and it looks like this time it’s here to stay. Following the success of the platform, Instagram releases the Reels, YouTube launches YouTube shorts, Snapchat tries to keep up with their Spotlights. All social media platforms jump on the short-form videos train, and this changes the market for decades to come.

But what made the success of short-form videos so great? Does it really have the potential to change how we see social media in the future? And how would this long-lasting trend impact the world of digital marketing as a whole?

  • What is short form video?

But let’s start from the ABC: exactly what type of content falls under the term short-form video? Short videos are typically under 60 seconds, although some marketeers argue that content under 3 minutes also fall under that term. Furthermore, they need to be easy to digest, be seen several times and scrolled through quickly. Trending platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube have currently settled on the vertical mobile format (9x16) to be most optimal for short videos within their apps.

  • Why is it so popular nowadays?

The platform that brought the short-form videos to life – TikTok – has generated 1.53 billion users for the past 7 years. On top of that, short-form videos are claimed as preferred by 96% of consumers and generate the highest ROI (return of investment). As a result, users spend an average of the whopping 46 minutes per day watching TikTok videos.

Or in other words – for the time that people used to watch a single episode of a popular TV series they would now see about 100 different videos, each with their own message and storyline (the average TikTok video length being about 30 seconds). All of this data shows an enormous attention to the short-form videos type of content and even greater success in applying it into the majority of all businesses’ marketing strategies. Okay, but WHY?

Collaborative content creation

With the expanding number of influencers with millions of followers, more and more users desire to achieve their success as well. Thus, one of the factors when examining the rapid rise of short-form video platforms is the freedom to create content yourself and reach people from all over the world. No matter the followers or past engagement, one piece can make anyone have their 15 minutes of fame. And this collaborative process of content creation sets the bar high for other social media platforms to catch up.

- ASOS made use of collaborative content to attract participants in the hashtag #aysaucechallenge that has now 2.5 billion views. 


Many people say they feel quite disconnected from the content that short-form video platforms offer them in the beginning. However, it’s a matter of a couple of hours scrolling through your feed in order for the algorithm to pick up your taste and key topics of interest, until noticing you’ve been wasting 5 hours of your Saturday afternoon.

Shortening attention span

During the last decade, with the technology coming into our everyday lives, and the busy lifestyle society undergoes, the daily routine has come to be extremely fast-paced. This has significantly decreased the length of the user’s attention span coming down to the shortest possible video content that can translate a message.

- Ryanair uses TikTok and IG Reels to make fun of their own disadvantages. Highlighting their own cons in a fun way makes people think less about them and more about the brand being entertaining. 

  • What is the future of short-form video marketing?

While it is hard to clearly see into the future, several uprising trends are likely to shape the world of video marketing in the upcoming years.

Short-form videos look like an efficient way to promote a service or product, but that also means that brands are starting to increase the amount of this type of content. In order to stay consistent with quantity, marketeers need to recalculate the budgets for campaigns, increase the capacity or eventually decrease the quality of the video production. The last one might seem like a significant issue at first. But the opportunity to quickly create and edit video content through your phone nowadays makes it less about the quality of production and more about the quality of content behind it.

Furthermore, for many marketeers, finding the right people to be in front of camera can be quite hectic. Actors, models and influencers are getting less relevant when talking about day-to-day content. So, involving team members in video creation is getting increasingly popular. This can often conflict with the work schedule, so assigning the job to dedicated creators is something that will eventually occur in most bigger companies.

At the current moment, many brands reuse their content on several platforms all at once in order to save up time and resources. However, this approach not always gives the desired results, as the platforms’ algorithms tend to work in different ways. Eventually, marketeers will need to develop various forms of tailor-made content for each channel in order for it to be efficient and reach the widest audience possible.

- Chipotle's #guacdance campaign. Chipotle's guacamole orders increased by 65% that day.

And are the videos getting even shorter? The optimal length on platforms like TikTok already drops down at around 15 seconds, meaning that it is getting more challenging to convey your message(s) to the audience. This also means that the length of video content does not really have a big margin do shorten even more. Marketeers are already making choices on the length of videos depending on the number of messages they want to convey, the target audience they want to approach or the type of platform they wish to use. Which means that optimal length will always depend on several factors to be taken into account before making critical choices.

All in all, the future of video content in digital marketing will always depend on two main factors in the process – the marketeers and the audiences. Target groups will always crave for something new and unexpected. Marketeers will always try to satisfy that desire by also trying to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. And at the end it will always come down to the fragile balance between both sides to shape the world of video marketing in the way it is going to look tomorrow.

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