Long form vs short form video

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We’re often asked about the ideal length of a video, so in this post, we’re looking at the differences between long and short form videos, and when should each be used.

The terms “long-form” and “short-form” refer to the duration or length of the video, with long form typically running for 10 minutes or more and short form ranging from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Due to these length guidelines, other differences between the two formats come into play, the main one being the video’s content.

A long form video will have more detailed content as the longer timeframe means topics can be explored more fully and offer a deeper understanding of the subject being discussed. Shorter videos are created to be more concise, capture attention and deliver a message quickly. For this reason, long form video is often used for things like educational content, tutorials, interviews, or documentaries. Short form video is more suited to promotions, snippets of information or entertainment.

Which platform the videos are shown on will also differ, in part due to length as some platforms limit the length of videos that can be shared, but also considering content. Long form is more often found on YouTube, Vimeo, educational websites, or sometimes streaming services. Short form is most likely to be shown on social media platforms that are set up to optimise the showing of videos to users and they typically work well on mobile devices for quick, on-the-move consumption.

So when should each format be used? As always, the answer will depend on what the video is intended to achieve and target audience, however as a guideline, longer videos will be used for things like detailed tutorials (whiteboard videos are a great example of this), or explanations of complex concepts. Other examples include livestreaming of events or webinars; interviews and discussions; content that is designed to educate an audience or demonstrate a product in detail; or for adding a visual component to a podcast.

Conversely, short form videos will be better placed for quick updates and announcements; to share a brand message quickly and easily; for promotions, sneak peeks, teasers of upcoming news; and for entertainment.

If you really want your audience to watch your long form video but only have their attention for a few seconds, then use a short form video as a teaser. Target the audience who will be interested in the longer video and provide an easy to click link to get them to watch the long form content.

When choosing which format to use, assess where they are likely to be shared to reach your target audience, and what your audience’s expectations are. Whatever the length, your videos should contain valuable content that aligns with your organisation’s brand.

Want to discuss which videos are right for your marketing strategy? Let’s talk!

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About Geoff Anderson

About Geoff Anderson

Geoff Anderson is the owner of Sonic Sight and has been producing videos for 30 years. He is an author, presenter as well as a video producer.

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