Aside from revolutionizing the way people communicate, access information, and consume content, phones have also become indispensable tools for video content creation. Each iteration of camera technology brings a more crisp resolution that is on par with professional cameras. And coupled with powerful apps and programs, smartphones have become portable production studios that give creators a device to conveniently create, edit, and distribute content.
Looking at the evolution of social media content produced by these creators over the course of the last year, it’s becoming increasingly clear that bite-size video is ruling the algorithms. This trend is only going to speed up in 2023—and if you’re not on board, you’re going to be left behind.
Social media marketers and content creators everywhere have felt the effects of TikTok’s continued rise in popularity. Because creating and distributing video content is easier now than ever before—and people can consume this content anytime, anywhere thanks to smartphones—it’s no wonder social media channels are getting a little crowded.
People are bombarded with so much information that attention spans have shrunk even lower. In 2022, we saw an all-time low consumer attention span length of just eight seconds. Not only are users pickier than ever with the types of videos they watch, but if the content doesn’t quickly provide what they’re looking for, they swiftly move on. With shorter attention spans heavily impacting engagement rates, social media marketers and content creators need to provide as much information as they can—while still being entertaining—in as short a video as possible.
So we know that increasingly short consumer attention spans has made short-form content extremely popular on social media, but the definition of “short” is different from platform to platform.
No longer considered the new kid on the block, TikTok is the leading platform for brands who want to reach Gen Z and Millennial audiences. This audience demographic has a significant appreciation for brands who can deliver genuine, bite-sized content with 47% of TikTok users between the ages of 10-29 and 42% between the ages of 30-49. And while the platform has the ability to create videos up to 10 minutes long, 1 in 4 top-performing TikToks are only 21 seconds to 34 seconds!
We all remember when Instagram announced in 2021 that they were “no longer just a square photo-sharing app”. With more emphasis placed elsewhere, the platform introduced Instagram Video, which replaced IGTV and integrated videos as in-feed posts. The platform also increased its focus on its other video content formats including Reels, Live, and Stories. This shift makes sense as 91% of active Instagram survey respondents say they watch Instagram videos on a weekly basis. But each type of video format comes with its own length recommendations:
In early 2022, Facebook announced it was introducing its own version of Reels and Stories globally. Also owned by Meta, the same parent company as Instagram, this wasn’t a surprise as the platform attempted to compete with TikTok, Instagram, and even Snapchat. Meta stated that video content makes up 50% of time spent on the platform by Facebook users. And while users can post videos up to 240 minutes long, Facebook recommends that short-form videos are less than one minute and maximum 15 seconds for Stories.
From Stories to the Disocver feed, Snapchat is another platform who isn’t a stranger to the short-form video format. And with the introduction of Spotlight—which serves to recreate TikTok’s functionality and user experience—a lot of social media platforms are beginning to look the same. But don’t count Snapchat out so soon. It’s still a major player in the social media sphere, with Wallaroo Media reporting over 530 million monthly active users and 18 billion daily video views. Snapchat recommends keeping video ads between three to five seconds long in order to maximize engagement and conversions.
YouTube still reigns supreme has the internet’s go-to place for video content with 2.1 billion monthly active users worldwide. The platform hopped on the short-form video train in 2020 with the introduction of its Shorts feature. As of 2022, YouTube stated that more than 1.5 billion people watch Shorts content every month with 30 billion views a day. The ideal length of video content is as follows:
It’s not only the big name social media platforms leaning into short-form content. Google is too. More than 82% of all internet user traffic was made up by online videos. So it makes complete sense that Google started working on ways to better display short-form video content in its search results. Overall, video actually positively impacts your SEO ranking. So, if your brand isn’t producing bite-sized videos for your social channels, you could also be missing out on a lot of organic traffic from Google.
“We will all have to make more bite-sized, entertaining content, which doesn’t replace, but complements the selling-related content we are all making already.” —Dennis Yu, Author of The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads
It’s clear from the updates to nearly every single social media platform over the last few years that creating short-form video content is more important than ever. If your 2023 marketing strategy doesn’t already include this type of content, it’s time to start brainstorming and creating. Bite-sized videos break through the short attention span barrier, offer more comprehensibility, and prevent information overload. They can be easily produced and the files can be repurposed across a number of different channels. And the shorter the video, the higher the engagement and retention rate.
Longer videos demand more heavy lifting from a production standpoint, therefore requiring a more formalized approach. On the other hand, shorter videos are much more flexible in nature. When you have a clear understanding of the type of content you want to share using bite-sized videos, you can effectively create content in a much more efficient way.
Due to the adaptable of of this type of marketing, brands are mostly pitching their tents in the TikTok camp, on the lookout for the latest viral short video trends. Knowing what’s trending on TikTok allows them to join in on the conversation and insert their brand into a highly-engaged community without coming across as being too salesy or polished.
One example of this was the #ThousandDollarCrocs challenge developed in partnership with popular celebrities like Post Malone, where TikTok users were encouraged to “class up” their Crocs. The brand’s acknowledging that their product may be comfortable, but not very fashionable made them in on the joke, leaning into raw, self-deprecating humour that TikTok users love. And it’s no wonder the challenge was a huge hit. TikTok users appreciated the brand’s authenticity, earning the brand gain over three billion views and selling out a pair of limited edition Crocs designed by Post Malone in just 10 minutes.
Aside from creating more organic engagement on social media, bite-sized video plays a critical role in social media paid advertising. Anyone can can create video content for their brand, but the most important thing is what comes next:
The last thing you want is to create amazing short-form video content, only for it to get lost in organic channels. In 2022, organic posts only had an average reach rate of 13.5% on Instagram. Implementing a paid media strategy behind the content you create ensures it reaches its intended audience. But blindly putting ad dollars towards boosting your video content isn’t enough. You have to ensure that it’s conversion-friendly, accessible to all kinds of users, and provides some sort of value.
Learn more about how to create branded, conversion-friendly ad assets in our webinar.
New trends emerge every single day on fast paced platforms like TikTok, which influence what all other social media channels are talking about. It can be difficult to stay one step ahead when things move so quickly. Tapping into social media measurement matrics like social listening can provide you with incredible insights into market opinions regarding your brand. With these key insights, you can reshape your video strategy to improve engagement and give your audience a more personalized experience.
And when following trends using your Discover Page or by following big TikTok influencers just isn’t enough, marketing agencies are here to lend a supporting hand.