In today’s digital age, the modern consumer is connected to everything, anywhere, all the time. Arguably, due to the proliferation of social media apps like TikTok, with the app reaching one billion installs just a year after its conception, there has been a significant shift in how we consume information. 

Because of the ability to deliver bite-sized information in short-form video clips, social media users are increasingly gravitating towards TikTok to learn, discover, and shop. Now, two in five (40%) Gen Z’s use TikTok for search over Google. Following TikTok’s rise to fame, attention spans have inevitably shrunk – with nearly 50% of those using social media finding videos over a minute stressful. 

However, recent analysis suggests the pendulum is swinging back to long-form content as the way that we consume video content continues to evolve. In fact, Emplifi’s recent research suggests that longer Instagram Reels are driving more engagement for brands and outperforming all other video content across Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. 

TikTok also recently announced that they are testing 30-minute videos. So, what is driving this trend? And as we witness this shift towards longer-form video content, how can marketers adapt their social media strategies to capitalise on this trend?

Introducing long-form content into your marketing mix

Over the past fifteen years, the way that we consume video content has continually shifted. From twenty-minute YouTube reviews to ninety-second Instagram Reels, brands have been quick to adapt their video tactics to align with changing consumer needs. 

While longer-form video content is gaining in popularity, video is a medium that requires you to capture your audience’s attention quickly. Therefore, brands should diversify their video content to include both long and short formats to increase engagement overall. Many brands are seeing improved engagement with longer videos running from 26 to 90 seconds, and longer Instagram Reels (over 90 seconds) now generate more than double the number of median video views compared to TikTok videos. 

To account for all attention spans within your social media strategy, trial and error is key. You have to regularly try different approaches, learn from them, and apply key learning back into your plan. Making one video is the start of a conversation, but to keep your audience’s attention long-term, you must keep that conversation going with a diverse mix of video content.

While resourcing for video content can be tricky, not every video has to be a sizeable production. The process can scale quickly as you write scripts or record, edit and review, as well as optimise your video for channel-specific considerations like aspect ratio and length. Keep this in mind as you create your plan, ensuring that you have options for both simplified execution and scalable production for longer-form content.

Levelling up your social media video strategy

Incorporating long-form video content into your social strategy is a great way to engage with consumers, but what specific content should you consider for optimal results? Customer case studies and testimonials are a reliable way to add authenticity to long-form video content. Whether you interview or let a customer share their story in their own words, video is a powerful method of sharing what a static, text-based quote might not fully convey. Long-form video allows for emotion and impact to translate more effectively, so customer stories should be the emotive foundational element of any social media plan. 

Informative explainer videos, alongside emotive customer stories, are a great way for customers to deepen their understanding of a product, service, or concept. Development of this content, particularly with a video production tool, can be quick, efficient, and cost-effective, and the impact is often significant. 

Webinar and video-based podcast content is another great way to weave longer-form video into your social strategy, providing in-depth information, training and educational material. These can be pre-recorded or live-streamed, or alternatively repackaged into recaps, trend pieces, or interesting shorter clips.

Creating video content that is fit for the future 

Once your plan is in place, creating content that resonates with your audience is vital. As a marketer, you should keep asking yourself if the content you are creating is something truly worth the attention of key audiences. Videos should not only reflect your brand’s personality but also speak to your audience’s interests and needs.

Be authentic, sharing real stories, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and genuine customer experiences. Focus on quality over quantity, prioritising high-quality visuals and sound to make your content more engaging and professional, even if this means having to scale back the volume of videos produced. 

To maximise ROI on long-form content and ensure each production is impactful, use edits and cuts of quality work versus creating poorly sourced assets. Always include a clear call to action, telling viewers what to do next, and be clear on the motivation behind any video you produce. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to try new things with your content. 

With engagement increasing for videos that run longer than the average 15-second or 30-second video ad format, forward-thinking brands must reconsider their marketing strategies to capitalise on this evolving trend. To stay one step ahead in 2024, brands should diversify their content with longer-form customer stories, explainer videos, and webinars or risk falling behind competitors. For optimal results and longevity, brands must place focus on impactful storytelling that connects with their key audiences – only then will their social media content be fit for the future, no matter the format.  

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