17 August 2022

Short form video: Why they are effective and how to get started

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Short form video: Why they are effective and how to get started
Annabel GibsonWritten ByAnnabel Gibson

Annabel is the Marketing Coordinator at Propeller, taking on the production of social media communications, creating copy for articles and contacting external agencies for collaborations.

Short form video platforms like TikTok have taken over the social media and advertising world, with 85% of marketers saying short form videos are the most effective format on social media. It’s one of the best ways to reach and, more importantly, engage with your target audience.

And it’s cost effective, too. It’s not as hard for brands to create content for short form video platforms, making it a lot less expensive than running a TV ad in the long run.

Here, we discuss why short form video works, and how you can promote your brand with it.

But first, what is a short form video?

A short form video is a snappy and engaging piece of video content with a running time of minutes or even seconds. 

This format offers brands an effective and exciting way to reach audiences by engaging them with short, impactful video messaging.

Short form videos are the basis for social media platforms like TikTok, which topped the Most Downloaded Apps chart in 2021 (according to Statista). And they are setting the trend, with other platforms quickly following suit by adding short form video features (for example, Instagram’s Reels (maximum 90 seconds) and YouTube’s Shorts (maximum 60 seconds).

Why does short form video work so well?

So why have we seen this huge rise in short form video content? We can put a lot of it down to the change in audience consumption habits.


Our attention span is decreasing to less than that of a goldfish. Gen Z typically have an attention span of just 8 seconds; a few seconds shorter than millennials who have a 12 second attention span. 

If we can be watching a show on Netflix while messaging our friends on Whatsapp, and flicking back to playing a game on our smartphone, it’s no wonder we switch off if something doesn’t catch our attention immediately.

Short form video allows people (and brands) to get their message across in an engaging and memorable way without people losing interest too quickly.

Because of its bitesize nature, it can be quickly consumed anywhere and anytime: on the bus to work, in bed at night, during the working day. People can just jump straight in and start engaging with content.


Younger audiences lean more towards highly visual content than written content, even when looking for products or places to visit.

An internal study conducted by Google found that nearly 40% of US users between ages 18 and 24 preferred to use TikTok or Instagram over Google Maps or Google Search when looking for a restaurant.

So even search giants like Google are having to pivot to keep up with the rise of short form video. Earlier this year, they announced an immersive view for Google Maps which will allow the more engaging, visual view that searching on social media achieves.


Traditional advertising is seen nowadays as intrusive and consumers can see through it. Short form video feels less like advertising and more like genuine entertainment, allowing brands to blend in with user content made by real people.

Short form video platforms are rife with trends which brands can jump on, or lead, in order to generate brand awareness through user generated content. For example, Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile campaign generated 5.5 billion views on TikTok in 2020. 


Companies can build brand affinity and loyalty by engaging with users on short form video platforms. This can make a brand seem a lot more personal than traditional advertising which involves passive content consumption with no interaction.

So how can you get started with short form video?


First, decide what platforms you want to use, based on where your audience hangs out.

TikTok is a great place to start. Why?

  • It has the highest social media engagement rate per post compared to other apps like YouTube and Facebook.
  • In 2021, it overtook Google to become the world’s most visited website
  • It has more than 1 billion active users

In 2021, it was the Most Downloaded App, beating Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Snapchat.


Research your core customers and understand what kind of content they would most likely engage with. Bear in mind that consumers don’t want to be sold at, so imaginative, fun, authentic content is key. Short form video platforms thrive on relatable and genuine content.

Some ideas include:

  • Snappy explainer videos
  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Product teasers

Here are some top tips for getting your short form video content seen:

  • Research trends that are linked to your brand and create videos using those hashtags
  • Work with influencers who suit your brand and co-create content with them
  • Look into paying for ads on the platform – take a look at TikTok’s top tips to drive performance
  • Promote your account on your other social media platforms

Embed your platform on your website – we can help with the technical side of this!

Short form video content: In summary

Short form video content isn’t going anywhere any time soon. In Q1 of 2022, TikTok had over 1.39 billion monthly active users, with 1.8 billion predicted by the end of 2022 (DemandSage).

Brands are continuing to invest in short form video content, with 30% of social media marketers planning to invest more in short form video than any other social media marketing strategy in 2022 (HubSpot).

So don’t get left behind – get involved as soon as possible.


Propeller is a digital marketing agency. Our digital marketing team specialise in creating unique, engaging and creative strategies for brands. If you’d like to discuss your digital marketing strategy with us, get in touch.

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