Video has become a platform-specific marketing tool. Here’s what you need to know.
Short-form videos are everywhere nowadays, and the choices are multiplying rapidly: TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest – the list is long and growing. And as different social media platforms mature, they’ve become more differentiated; a good marketing video for YouTube might be all wrong for TikTok.
Don’t underestimate the social media video marketing trend. According to HubSpot Blog's 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Survey, 51% of marketers who use short-form video plan to increase their investment this year, and 85% say it’s the most effective format on social media. The enthusiasm isn’t surprising: Hubspot reports that short-form video enjoys the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy.
HubSpot’s report includes a survey that identified the four most popular platforms for video watching:
- YouTube – preferred by 35% of respondents
- Facebook – 25%
- TikTok – 19%
- Instagram – 8%
- Other – 13%
The evidence for video’s popularity is compelling, but figuring out what kind of video to produce in this complex, competitive world can be intimidating. Let’s look at the unique video demands and best practices for the platforms mentioned above.
YouTube Shorts are short-form, vertical video content that can be created with a smartphone and uploaded directly to YouTube from the YouTube app. It was introduced in the U.S. in March 2021. YouTube Shorts quickly surpassed 6.5 billion daily views globally after a worldwide release in July of that year.
Using YouTube’s built-in creation tools, you’re able to capture, edit, add animated text, control the speed of your footage, and string together multiple 15-second video clips. You can create a unique channel for your Shorts or place the Shorts widget in your main channel.
Viewers of your Shorts can share, comment, like, dislike, or subscribe to your channel while viewing the video. The content remains on YouTube.
YouTube Shorts has added an audio library, allowing you to include trending songs from major labels and other audio elements to your video to make it more engaging and entertaining.
Google has put together a convenient instructional video for making effective Shorts.
Videos account for 15.1% of all posted content on Facebook (DataReportal, 2021). And 71% of the videos on Facebook came from accounts with more than 100,000 fans (Socialinsider, 2020).
Meta recommends the following practices for making a successful Facebook video:
- Choose the right duration for videos. Seeing how your audience responds is the best way to find out the “ideal” length for your videos, but as a general rule we've found that higher-quality videos tend to capture viewers' attention for at least one minute.
- For generating revenue, ensure your content is set up for in-stream ads. Design your content's flow, pacing, and payoff to accommodate a natural editorial break at the one-minute mark and (if applicable) the five-minute mark. This will compel viewers to keep watching beyond the in-stream ads.
- Develop content that is original and/or over which you have full ownership.
- Share authentic content – do not artificially distribute or engage in behaviors that involve inauthentic or manufactured sharing.
- Give viewers a true video experience, not a slideshow. Minimize still images and focus on content that takes best advantage of video's capacity for capturing movement and motion.
Here are some additional suggestions about maximizing the impact of your Facebook videos.
TikTok appeals to a coveted demographic: 47% of its users are between 10 and 29 years old. According to WIRED, 25% of the most popular TikTok videos are 21 to 34 seconds long. TikTok has recently increased the maximum possible length of its videos to 10 minutes, but users and marketers still agree that short videos work best. And you should keep TikTok’s algorithm in mind. If users leave your videos early, the result will affect how often your video appears on your audience’s feed.
But if you have a long video, don’t ignore TikTok. It’s now common for videos to be edited into shorter bits and posted separately. You can also speed up or slow down your video on TikTok – a fascinating and underutilized feature.
TikTok’s algorithm favors these specifications:
- You can film your videos in portrait or landscape mode. But most videos are viewed in portrait mode, so it’s best to film that way.
- The recommended video resolution is 1080 x 1920 with an aspect ratio of 9:16. If you upload or shoot a video with a resolution higher than 1080p, TikTok scales it down to 1080p.
- File size varies with your equipment. With Android, the maximum is 72MB, but with Apple devices you can go as big as 287.6MB.
Here are some tips on making a good TikTok video.
Instagram Reels are short-form, vertical videos that can be up to 60 seconds long. Instagram users can record and combine videos and photo clips set to music and share them via their Feed, Stories or the dedicated Reels explore page. Users can view Reels from all Instagram accounts on the Reels tab.
To create a Reel from the Reels tab, just tap it and activate the camera icon on the top right. To make a Reel from the Instagram home screen, tap the “+” on the top right and scroll to the Reels tab at the bottom of the screen. Reels can be recorded in a series of clips, in a single stream, or shot externally and uploaded. To add external clips from your camera roll to your Instagram Reels, select the “+” icon in the bottom left corner.
One of the best ways to gain virality on Instagram Reels is by finding your niche and posting consistently. There are so many Instagram users with a wide range of interests and hobbies. No matter what your brand or business does, there’s a niche for you.
Here are some tips on making good Instagram Reels videos.
Short-form Video Best Practices
When making a short-form video, keep these basic rules and best practices in mind:
- Start with a bang. Open with a compelling visual or sonic hook to get viewers’ attention right away.
- Keep things snappy. Remember, viewers prefer easily digestible videos. While formats such as Shorts can run up to 60 seconds, shoot for a concise way to tell your story in much less time. Remember that ideal length varies from platform to platform.
- Keep them hooked. While it’s important to start strong, you need to keep viewers engaged throughout your video. Try to re-hook your audience every 3-5 seconds with new sounds, visuals or other elements.
- Titles matter. The title/caption of your video is the first thing potential viewers will see. It must appeal to a wide audience and promise something irresistible or essential.
- Use music that’s popular or alluring. If it’s appropriate for your video, choose trending or popular music that many people will recognize, or something infectiously catchy.
- Drive your audience to additional content. Use pinned comments to direct viewers to additional content. You can also encourage people to explore and subscribe to your channel.
Promote your content. After posting your video, your work has just begun. Use your social network to attract as many eyeballs as possible, and send links to influencers who cover the subject of your video.