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Why Short-Form Video Is Popular: A Complete Guide [2024]


Mar 8, 2024
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Short videos, typically under 60 seconds long, are taking over online platforms. Just look at TikTok’s exponential growth to over 1 billion monthly active users.

Giants like Facebook and Instagram are also focused on these quick videos. Even long-form platforms like YouTube now prioritize short clips to match how people watch online content today.

What's behind the rise of these short-form videos? Does this popularity of short videos represent a major opportunity for your business?

Can you use this trend to connect with audiences who are already active on sites like TikTok? This guide explains why short-form video is popular and offers practical tips to help you find success with this bite-sized content.

What Does Science Tell Us About the Popularity Of Short Videos?

One of the most cited reasons for the popularity of short videos is the decreasing human attention span.

Studies indicate that the average attention span has reduced to just 8.25 seconds, a drop from the 12-second average in 2000.

This suggests that content that is quick to consume aligns better with the contemporary audience's ability to focus. Short videos fit perfectly into this window, allowing viewers to absorb content without wasting time or concentration.

Short videos provide instant gratification, much like snacks for hunger. The constant influx of fresh, bite-sized content triggers dopamine releases, giving an addictive shot of satisfaction. This quick reward cycle keeps users hooked, encouraging them to watch more short videos.

Dr. Anna Lembke, the author of Dopamine Nation, notes, “Every spare second is an opportunity to be stimulated, whether by entering the TikTok vortex, scrolling Instagram, swiping through Tinder, online gambling and e-shopping.”

The variety in short video content also drives engagement. Platforms feature endless streams of trending memes, viral challenges, crazy stunts, and more. This makes the viewing experience more unpredictable and stimulating compared to longer formats.

In addition, a Frontiers in Psychology study was done to see if there is a correlation between users' personality traits and their motivation to share short videos.

The research found that personality traits influence how users engage with and share short video content.

For example, extroverted individuals are more likely to share content, seeking connection and community. In contrast, conscientious users prioritize the authenticity of the videos they engage with.

The popularity of short videos is a multifaceted phenomenon rooted in psychological and social dynamics. By understanding these underlying factors, you can more effectively engage with your audiences and harness the power of short-form content.

What The Numbers Show Us About Short-Form Videos

The data clearly shows short videos are where viewer attention is.

Statistics show that videos less than 90 seconds long keep 50% of viewers watching, much higher than longer videos. This matches the preference for “snackable” content.

Also, the preference for video over text, especially when learning about products or services, is overwhelming. At least 75% of people said they prefer video content marketing, with 96% favoring short-form videos for quick and effective product or service education.

Further, the growth of platforms like TikTok specializing in short-form content highlights the format's rising dominance.

Instagram Reels, launched in 2020, now has 2.35 billion active users, while TikTok's exponential growth has been particularly noteworthy. Having reached 1 billion users in 2021, TikTok grew to 1.5 billion by 2023 and is projected to hit 2.25 billion users by 2027. 

These figures indicate a significant increase in the creation and consumption of short-form content.

The numbers paint a clear picture: short-form video content, with its ability to engage viewers, combined with its financial success and the marked preference users show for it, makes it an essential tool for content creators and marketers.

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How To Make Short Videos

Man sitting on a couch having a video call on his laptop.

The popularity of short videos represents an exciting opportunity for you to grow an audience and get your message out.

However, condensing your story into less than 60 seconds can be challenging. Effective short videos require more focused planning and strategic editing than long-form content.

But anyone can make compelling short videos. You don't need fancy equipment or advanced editing skills. You just need a smartphone camera or an existing video that you can repurpose to short-form content.

In this section, we’ll cover basic tips and techniques for creating engaging short videos for social media.

1. Plan Your Content

Coming up with ideas and planning the narrative are critical first steps when making short videos. 

While quick videos may seem easy to produce, taking some time upfront to craft your story and script strategically can pay off hugely.

Start by researching current trends and topics popular in your niche. Use relevant hashtags to explore what concepts are resonating most right now. The algorithmic visibility boost from using trending themes early can help you get a lot of views.

You’ll also want to keep up with the latest viral challenges on sites like TikTok. Try popular dances, react to weird food mixes, or join in on a hot meme to capture audience interest. 

This works much faster than starting something totally new. Challenges let you put your spin on ideas people already love.

For example, do you remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Man doing the Ice Bucket Challenge.

This challenge involved dumping a bucket of ice water over one's head to promote awareness of the ALS disease and encourage donations to research. It quickly became a global phenomenon, with celebrities, influencers, and everyday people joining.

You can join and personalize such a challenge by creating your unique spin on the challenge that aligns with your brand and target audience. 

This could be as simple as adding a humorous twist, incorporating a unique skill or talent, or adapting the challenge to reflect your brand or message.

But don’t just chase every single trend out there randomly. Stay focused on topics and subjects that fit your brand identity and who you are. This helps followers understand and trust you more. 

Those real connections drive more loyal viewers over time.

After picking some promising trending themes or challenges, write down 2-4 short video ideas or stories around them. Don’t try to outline everything perfectly yet. Just capture the main concept of each idea in a sentence or two.

2. Tools And Equipment

With just your smartphone and a few basic add-ons, you can create eye-catching and effective short video content.

Here is a comprehensive list of tools and equipment you'll need:

  • Smartphone or Camera: You don't need an expensive camera to start; a smartphone with a good-quality camera can suffice. If you want to invest more, DSLR or mirrorless cameras offer superior video quality and flexibility.
  • Tripod or Gimbal Stabilizer: A tripod is essential for stable, static shots, while a gimbal stabilizer is ideal for smooth movement and handheld shots, adding professionalism to your videos.
  • External Microphone: Audio quality is crucial. External microphones greatly enhance sound quality, whether lapel mics for clear voice recording or shotgun mics for general use.
  • Lighting Equipment: Good lighting makes a significant difference. Starting with natural light is great, but ring lights or softboxes help achieve a more polished look, especially in low-light conditions.
  • Editing Software: Post-production is where your video comes to life. Free or paid editing software like iMovie, Adobe Premiere Rush, or DaVinci Resolve caters to various skill levels, offering tools for cutting, editing, color grading, and more.
  • Creative Elements: Props, backdrops, and costumes can add interest and convey your video's mood or theme more effectively. Keep them relevant and not too distracting.
  • Scripting and Storyboarding Tools: Planning your content with a script or storyboard ensures your message is clear and concise. Tools like Google Docs for scripts and Canva for storyboarding can be very helpful.

If you don’t want to create new content, you can repurpose your old content into short-form videos using Kajabi's Creator Studio.

It takes short video creation a huge step further. This all-in-one tool automatically repurposes longer videos into short, shareable social clips, blog posts, emails, Instagram Reels, etc.

Using our Creator Studio, you can quickly generate over 40 different types of video content.

We also integrate artificial intelligence (AI) technology in Kajabi Creator Studio to enhance the content creation and repurposing process.

In addition to using AI technology to make creating and changing content easier, Kajabi Creator Studio works with Adobe Express. You get a super easy-to-use tool that comes with lots of ready-to-go designs and elements to make your content look great.

One of the key AI-driven functionalities in Kajabi Creator Studio is the automatic transcription of videos. Having a raw transcript helps creators looking to repurpose their video content into other formats, such as blog posts, emails, or social media posts.

Another innovative application of AI in Creator Studio is the AI Auto-Highlight feature. This tool analyzes your video content to suggest highlights that you can use for creating shorter clips or teasers.

The AI considers the intended length of your final video clip and makes up to three unique auto-highlight selections based on those lengths.

Kajabi's Creator Studio AI Auto-Highlight feature.

Let’s say you want to make a 60-second video. The AI identifies and suggests the most impactful sentences or segments for that duration. 

3. Engage Your Audience

Drawing in viewers within seconds and keeping them hooked till the end screen takes strategic planning. Having an interesting concept sets the stage, but maximizing engagement requires actively grabbing attention quickly.

  • Stay Updated: Use tools and platforms like Google Trends, Twitter, and TikTok to track what’s currently capturing public interest.
  • Be Quick: Trends move fast. Capitalize on their popularity by creating and publishing content while they're still relevant.
  • Relevance is Key: Ensure the trends you choose to align with your brand or message. Authenticity resonates with audiences more than jumping on every trend.

Also, ensure to include calls-to-action (CTAs). Prominent calls to action provide clear direction. Tell viewers exactly what to do next — click the link below, comment with ideas, and tag friends.

Without clear guidance, audiences consume great content without taking further action.

Benefits Of Making Shorter Videos

Short videos connect way better with modern audiences. Focusing on concise content also offers many advantages, specifically for creators.

Beyond better viewer engagement, short videos can mean bigger growth, savings, and creative opportunities.

Let’s look at the specific benefits of making shorter videos.

1. Higher Engagement

One of the most compelling benefits of creating shorter videos is the increased level of engagement from audiences — short-form videos are 2.5 times more engaging than long-form videos.

Because short videos immediately captivate viewers, the likelihood of people watching the full video is way higher than longer videos.

This ensures audiences actually consume your entire message instead of tuning out halfway through a long-winded clip.

Today's audiences are constantly bombarded with information and have limited time to consume content. Short videos fit seamlessly into these busy lifestyles, allowing viewers to engage with content while on a break, commuting, or scrolling through their social media feeds.

Also, short videos are more likely to be watched multiple times, especially if the content is entertaining, informative, or emotionally resonant.

These repeat views increase engagement metrics and strengthen viewer connection to the content and you, building a loyal audience over time.

2. Higher Shareability 

Short videos are universally appealing because they require minimal time investment from viewers.

People are more likely to share content that won't impose a significant time commitment on their friends or followers.

This brevity ensures that the video can be easily watched in various contexts, whether someone is taking a quick break at work, scrolling through social media during a commute, or looking for a brief distraction.

Also, the concise nature of short videos contributes to their potential for virality. The HubSpot 2023 Video Marketing Report found that 47% of marketers believe short-form videos are more likely to go viral.

When content is easily consumable and resonates with a broad audience, it will likely be shared repeatedly across various platforms and communities.

This virality increases the video's reach and amplifies your visibility and brand recognition.

In addition, short videos are versatile. They can be adapted or repurposed across multiple platforms without losing their effectiveness. You can use a single piece of content to reach audiences on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, etc., maximizing its shareability and impact.

3. Cost-Effective Production

Creating professional-level short videos is far more affordable than higher-production long-form projects.

Condensing your story to under 60 seconds requires less filming time, tighter casts and sets, simplified editing, and more contained conceptualization.

With quick videos, you can often self-produce great content using just your smartphone camera and basic editing apps. This removes the need for expensive equipment rentals or large production crews required for more complex videos.

4. Potential For User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) can significantly amplify your brand's authenticity, reach, and engagement. Statistics show that 90% of customers find user-generated content useful. They prefer UGC content rather than ads and promotional emails.

Platforms like TikTok and Instagram have popularized viral challenges and hashtag campaigns, many of which rely on short video content.

These challenges encourage users to create and share their videos responding to a prompt, using a specific product, or participating in a trend. This generates a wealth of UGC and fosters community and engagement around a brand or creator’s content.

When users create and share content related to a brand or creator, they introduce that brand to their networks, effectively acting as brand ambassadors.

User-generated content also provides valuable feedback and insights into how consumers perceive and interact with your brand or product. You can analyze UGC to understand better your audience’s preferences, pain points, and desires, informing future content, product development, and marketing strategies.

5. Frequent Posting

With the lower production costs and time investment associated with short videos, you can create and share content more frequently without compromising quality or overextending your resources.

This has direct benefits. 

One, social media algorithms favor accounts that post content regularly. Frequently posting short videos increases your chances of appearing in followers' feeds and on discovery pages. This consistent visibility is key to staying in mind with your audience and attracting new followers.

Two, the more content you post, the more entry points you create for potential new followers to discover your brand or channel. Frequent posting accelerates your audience growth, as each piece of content has the potential to attract and convert viewers into followers.

With each short video, you’re casting a wider net, increasing your chances of engagement and sharing across social platforms.

Finally, the more content you post, the higher your chances of producing a viral hit. Viral content can significantly amplify your reach and engagement.

While virality is often unpredictable, frequent posting increases your odds of creating content that resonates widely and captures the public’s imagination.

Final Thoughts

Short-form videos meet the evolving demands of today’s social media audiences. Their psychological appeal lies in catering to the reduced attention spans of viewers, offering quick, digestible content that fits perfectly into the fast-paced lifestyle of modern consumers. 

But beyond better engagement, short videos also give you opportunities to grow faster for less money. They are cheaper to make and reach more people through shares, and algorithms favor them more.

Don’t be left behind. Jump into popular trends that audiences already love watching and put your spin on them.

To easily create these videos for different platforms, you can use Kajabi's Creator Studio. Our tool makes things easier by turning longer videos into short, shareable social clips.

To enhance your content creation process, Kajabi's Creator Studio offers innovative features like the integrated AI Auto-Highlight feature, which intelligently suggests highlights within your videos, tailored to the desired length of your final clip. 

You can also trim your video to focus on the most pertinent sections, upload a logo for brand consistency, add text to convey key messages or calls to action, and change the background color to suit your brand palette.

Plus, Creator Studio features Adobe Express editing tools to help amplify your brand and make your content pop.

You can explore Creator Studio and Kajabi's full suite of tools with a 14-day free trial. Get started today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Short-Form Videos So Addictive?

Their concise, engaging nature caters to reduced attention spans, providing quick, satisfying content consumption. The dopamine release of discovering new, entertaining content encourages continuous scrolling and viewing. Additionally, the endless variety of topics and the interactive elements of platforms hosting short videos keep viewers engaged and coming back for more.

What Makes Short-Form Videos More Engaging Than Long-Form Content?

They require less time commitment from viewers, fitting seamlessly into brief moments of downtime. Their quick, punchy nature leads to a more direct and impactful delivery of the message or entertainment. This captures and holds viewers' attention effectively. Additionally, short videos are designed to adapt to the scrolling habits on social media platforms, encouraging more.

Are Short-Form Videos Effective For All Audience Demographics?

Short-form videos are generally effective across a wide range of audience demographics due to their versatility and adaptability to different content preferences and viewing habits.

However, their effectiveness varies depending on each demographic group's specific interests, platform preferences, and media consumption patterns. Younger audiences, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, tend to prefer short-form content more.

For older demographics, the effectiveness depends on the content’s relevance and the chosen platform. Overall, with tailored content strategies, short-form videos can engage a broad audience spectrum.

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