All along we’ve known that content has evolved from being heavily worded to videocentric. Marketers all around have been employing have been creating and integrating video content into their marketing initiatives but what is new is the increased popularity of short-form video content, and the continually growing number of videos consumers are getting served up daily.

As a result, marketers are placing a greater importance on the format due to the high volume of consumers engaging with video content. The rise of social media has created more opportunities to talk to consumers through engaging thumb stopping video content in an accessible and affordable environment.

When Instagram launched video, everyone got talking about the new breed of a short-form social video set to compete with Twitter’s Vine platform. However, the focus for brands shouldn’t be which platform to invest in; rather it should be on how to master the art of short-form social video in general.

Brands should be concerned about their ability to tell engaging stories about their brands in seconds — sometimes on a daily basis. Vine’s six-second video limitation shares much in common with Twitter in that it seemingly lowers the bar for video production; anyone can do it — but at the same time, not everyone can produce a great Vine. It’s not all that different from Twitter; anyone can tweet, but some people and brands are simply masterful with 140 characters or less.

Just like Youtube its digital video predecessor, Vine has spawned a new breed of celebrity. Their Stars are making their mark on the platform amassing impressive audiences. Nicholas Megalis, for example, has already acquired over 300,000 followers and regularly gets thousands of likes on his Vines. It’s eerily similar to paths taken by first-generation Internet celebrities such as iJustine and only a matter of time before the short-form storytelling superstars begin working directly with brands.

Some brands are taking action already. Lowes has been producing animated Vines that offer tips for “do it yourself” consumers. Target is showing its creative side with whimsical shorts that range from well-executed stop-motion animation to clever video vignettes. Brands such as GE, Burberry and Slim Jim (client) wasted no time in putting short-form video content on Instagram, seemingly knowing that the only way to get proficient in these emerging channels is to keep producing content for them.

As consumers are becoming increasingly time poor, marketers today are being challenged with being equally economical with their messages. After all, if Ernest Hemingway could write a story in six words and capture the attention of his readers, it is undoubtedly time for marketers to make use of the 2.7 seconds they have to engage their audiences.

In the end, it’s not going to be a choice between six or 15 seconds but rather placing a bet on the long-term viability of short-form storytelling. In an age when everyone has a smartphone and an ample supply of ADD, the bet is on the latter.


Why video?

It is not an option anymore! Video content is excellent for every marketing challenge presented due to its adaptability. Here are some ideas on how you can start weaving video content into your plans:

•   Allow consumers to learn and discover – content like ‘how to’ videos and ‘behind the scenes’ clips engage audiences and help develop more meaningful relationships with consumers.

•   Brand credibility – expert interviews are a great way to showcase thought leadership. A quick ‘question and answer’ video can help communicate your expertise effectively.

•   Tell a real-life consumer story – a video case study helps showcase real results and build trust.

As technology becomes increasingly accessible for businesses regardless of size and technical ability, brands have been given the freedom to create their own content which must be easily digestible and produced at a significantly lower price tag than ever before. Cost and quality are incredibly important to the success of any video campaign. Camera technology and editing suites have become more affordable; this makes it easy for the average marketer to develop filmmaking skills at the click of a button.

Marketers can invest time into genuinely understanding the desires of their customers and create video content that ticks all the boxes quickly and efficiently. This newfound access to high-quality video equipment means that marketers have the power to become visual storytellers. Smaller businesses shouldn’t remain in the dark. The video ‘game’ is no longer restricted to companies with massive budgets.


The new wave of storytelling

As always, big brands have jumped into short-form video content and reaped the rewards, especially through social media platforms. Brands across industries – from gaming to food to retail – have recognised the reach and scalability of video across platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Social media has moved from just being a platform to connect with friends and family, and it has unlocked an avenue for brands to interact with their customers in an engaging manner. This helps shift perception and drive sales. Video content is not only the perfect medium to help brands stand out on a cluttered timeline, but can also easily be shared by consumers.

Facebook is the first platform that comes to mind when you think about video marketing content. For example, Samsung’s Facebook page has a whopping 159 million fans, and the brand engages with them regularly through videos spanning 10 seconds to three minutes. However, there are other platforms like Vine and Instagram to leverage on for greater audience coverage.

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a compelling caption also adds value. The same goes for videos. Twitter videos with captions are 11 per cent more likely to be viewed and are viewed 28 per cent longer.

General Electric (GE) has really mastered the visual storytelling approach on its Instagram channel, often pairing behind-the-scenes stories with photos of very big, very cool technology. But the brand also uses Twitter in some exciting ways. For example, to celebrate its “125 Years of Innovation,” GE published a series of tweets with quick stories and videos about how the company has evolved over the past century and the people who helped GE shape history.

So, as brands move away from traditional means of advertising, the short-form video has become vital in attracting customers while competition for attention continues to increase. It is more crucial than ever now to develop content that leads to engagement and shares, which in turn helps brands reach a new audience.


2.7 seconds to get the job done

While consumers spend three to four hours a day on their devices, they are increasingly time poor and with very short attention spans. People scroll quickly, only stopping on truly eye-catching content. To stand out in such a competitive space, marketers need to be more proactive and identify the most strategic platforms for their audience. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, users do not actively seek out branded content.

This new era of digital marketing means that the content created must be highly visual and captivating – using bite-sized snippets to tell a brand’s story in three seconds or less. This is a challenge that marketers are increasingly surmounting.

With just 2.7 seconds to grab someone’s attention, it is imperative that brands make sure their message is clear and appealing, especially in video form. As inconceivable as 2.7 seconds might seem, marketers must make use of every part of that initial 2.7 seconds to make an impression on ad-skippers and show that their content is more than just another ad.

In summary, it is crucial for brands to create videos that complement their marketing initiatives. The key is to make it visually engaging with a compelling story arc and capture the consumer’s attention in three seconds (or less). Small businesses should get involved too as it is quite affordable to acquire the technology for this trend.