Short-Form Video


Ultimate Short-Form Video Guide

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Team Storyly
May 22, 2023
0 min read

What Is A Short-Form Video?

A short-form video is a video that is relatively brief in duration. While there isn't a universally agreed-upon length that defines a "short-form" video, they are typically under 10 minutes and can be as short as a few seconds.

The rise of social media platforms like Vine (which featured 6-second videos), TikTok (with videos up to 3 minutes) and Instagram Stories (15-second segments) have popularized the concept of short-form video content. These videos are often designed to be easily consumable and shareable, fitting into the fast-paced nature of social media and the short attention spans of many users.

Short-form videos can range in content from comedy skits to tutorials, advertisements, and more. The key characteristic is their brevity, which demands creativity in conveying a message or story in a limited timeframe.

Common Examples Of Short-Form Videos

 Short-form videos are prevalent across various platforms, and their content can be incredibly diverse. 

Some common examples:

  • TikTok Clips: These videos, which originally had a maximum length of 60 seconds (and later extended to 3 minutes), cover a wide range of topics, from dance challenges to cooking tips, comedy skits, and more.
  • Instagram Stories: Typically 15-second segments that disappear after 24 hours, they can be used for quick updates, behind-the-scenes looks, or interactive content like polls and questions.
  • Snapchat Snaps: Brief videos sent between users or posted to a user's story.
  • Vine Videos: Although Vine has been discontinued, it was known for its 6-second video clips that looped. These videos spanned comedy, animation, music, and more.
  • Twitter Video Clips: Users can upload brief video clips to accompany their tweets.
  • YouTube Shorts: In response to the popularity of TikTok, YouTube introduced "Shorts" which are vertical videos up to 60 seconds in length.
  • Advertisements: Many companies create short-form video ads specifically tailored for social media platforms. These ads are brief, engaging, and designed to capture attention quickly.
  • Tutorials and Tips: Quick how-to guides or life hacks that provide valuable information in a condensed format.
  • Music and Lip Syncing: Platforms like TikTok popularized lip-syncing to popular songs or sound bites.
  • Challenges: From dance challenges to pranks, these videos encourage user participation and virality.
  • Product Reviews: Quick overviews or first impressions of products.
  • Behind-the-scenes: A sneak peek into events, productions, or daily lives, often used by celebrities, creators, and brands.
  • Testimonials: Short clips of customers or clients praising a product, service, or company.
  • Animations and GIFs: Brief animated stories or messages, often used for humor or to convey reactions.
  • News and Updates: Many news outlets produce short-form videos to summarize key events or stories of the day.

Why Is Short-Form Video Popular?

Short-form video has become incredibly popular for several reasons, driven by technological advancements, cultural shifts, and changes in consumer behavior. 

Here are some reasons for the popularity of short-form video:

Mobile Consumption

The rise of smartphones has made it easier for users to consume content on-the-go. Short-form videos are ideal for quick viewing during brief moments of downtime, like waiting in line or during a commute.

Short Attention Spans

With an overload of digital content available, consumers often prefer quick and easily digestible content. Short-form videos fit this bill perfectly.

Social Media Platforms

Platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram have algorithms that favor engaging content, and short videos can quickly capture and retain viewers' attention.


Short videos are often more shareable because they can be quickly viewed and passed along. Viral challenges or funny clips can spread rapidly across social platforms.

Creativity and Innovation

The time constraint of short-form videos challenges creators to be innovative and get their message across concisely, leading to unique and engaging content.


The brief nature of these videos encourages repeated viewing. If a viewer misses something in a 15-second video, they are likely to rewatch it, boosting engagement metrics.

Easier Production

Short videos can be less resource-intensive to produce compared to long-form content. This makes it easier for individual creators to generate content frequently.


Platforms like TikTok and Instagram offer interactive features like polls, questions, and duets, which are conducive to short video formats and engage viewers more actively.

Algorithm Benefits

On many platforms, videos that receive quick engagement (likes, comments, shares) shortly after posting can be boosted by the platform's algorithm, leading to even wider reach.

Monetization Opportunities

Brands recognize the influence of short-form video and are willing to sponsor content or advertise on platforms that host such videos, providing monetization opportunities for creators and platforms.

Personal Connection

Short-form content often feels spontaneous and genuine, helping creators build a more personal connection with their audience.

Diverse Content

The brevity of short-form videos allows viewers to consume content from a wide range of topics and creators in a short period, leading to a richer content experience.

What Are The Effects Of Short-Form Videos?

Short-form videos have had a significant impact on media consumption, content creation, and the broader cultural landscape. 

Here are some of the effects of short-form videos:

Evolution of Storytelling

The constraints of time have led to innovative storytelling techniques. Creators have learned to convey narratives, emotions, and messages in a matter of seconds, reshaping traditional storytelling norms.

Increased User Participation

The accessibility of short-form video creation tools has democratized content production. Many platforms make it easy for users to create, edit, and share videos, leading to a surge in user-generated content.

Reduced Attention Span

As consumers get used to quick content bites, there's concern that attention spans are shortening. This has implications for educators, marketers, and content creators who need to capture and retain audience attention.

New Monetization Avenues

The popularity of short videos has opened new revenue streams for creators through ads, brand partnerships, and sponsored content. Platforms have also introduced features like tipping and in-app purchases to support creators.

Cultural and Social Movements

From viral dance challenges to social justice campaigns, short-form videos have played a role in sparking and spreading cultural and social movements globally.

Amplification of Trends

What becomes popular on short-form video platforms can quickly become a global trend. This includes everything from fashion and beauty trends to music hits.

Enhanced Engagement

Features like comments, shares, and reactions have made it easier for viewers to engage with content, fostering communities and discussions around videos.

Shift in Marketing Strategies

Brands have had to adapt their marketing strategies to cater to short-form video audiences. This includes creating snackable content, leveraging influencers, and participating in platform-specific trends.

Increased Screen Time

While individual videos are short, the addictive nature of scrolling through endless feeds can lead to increased screen time, with potential implications for mental and physical health.

Content Oversaturation

With the ease of creating and sharing videos, there's an oversaturation of content on platforms. This can make it challenging for creators to stand out and for viewers to find quality content.

Potential for Misinformation

The brevity of short-form videos and their rapid spread can sometimes lead to the dissemination of misinformation or out-of-context clips, underscoring the importance of media literacy.

Disadvantages Of Short-Form Video

While short-form content offers numerous advantages, it also comes with a set of disadvantages:

Limited Depth

Due to the time constraints, short-form content often lacks the depth that longer content can provide. Complex topics may be oversimplified, leading to potential misunderstandings.

Potential for Misinformation

The brevity of the content and the speed at which it spreads can lead to misinformation or content taken out of context. Viewers might get a skewed perspective without the time or space for comprehensive explanations.

Reduced Attention Span

Consistent consumption of short, quick bites of information may contribute to reduced attention spans. People might find it more challenging to engage with longer, in-depth content if they're accustomed to brief content.

Content Oversaturation

The ease of creating short-form content has led to an influx of content across platforms. This oversaturation can make it challenging for creators to get noticed and for viewers to find quality content amidst the noise.

Lower Retention Rates

While short-form content can achieve high initial engagement, it might not have the same retention or lasting impact as longer, more in-depth content.

Challenges in Monetization

Despite their popularity, short-form videos can be challenging to monetize effectively, especially if the platform doesn't have a robust advertising system in place.

Less Room for Branding

For businesses and marketers, the short duration might not offer enough space to convey a brand message or create a lasting impression effectively.

Short-lived Trends

While short-form content can create viral trends, these trends can also be fleeting. What's popular one week might be forgotten the next, leading to a constant need for fresh content.

Reduced SEO Benefits

For platforms that rely on search engine traffic, short-form content might provide less SEO value than longer, in-depth content.

Potential for Addiction

The quick, snackable nature of short-form content can be addictive, leading users to spend more time on platforms scrolling through endless feeds, which might impact their mental well-being.

Quality Concerns

Given the emphasis on quantity and virality, the quality of content might sometimes be compromised. There's a temptation to prioritize trends over substantive or well-researched content.

Loss of Nuance

Important nuances can be lost when complex subjects are condensed into short videos or posts. This is particularly concerning when discussing sensitive or multifaceted issues.

Why Short-Form Video Is The Future?

Many experts and industry observers argue that short-form video is the future of content consumption for various reasons. Here's a look at why:

Adaptation to Mobile Consumption

Mobile devices dominate internet usage, and short-form videos are perfectly suited for on-the-go consumption. They fit the small screen experience and can be consumed during short breaks, commutes, or waiting times.

Changing Attention Spans

Studies suggest that the digital age, with its constant influx of information, has led to shortened attention spans. Short-form videos cater to this trend, delivering content that can be quickly consumed.

Social Media Integration

Most social media platforms have integrated or prioritized video content, and short videos align well with the fast-paced nature of these platforms.

Viral Potential

Short-form videos have a higher potential to go viral due to their brevity and shareability. A catchy, engaging short video can spread rapidly across platforms, reaching a massive audience.

User Engagement and Participation

Platforms like TikTok have shown that short-form video content encourages user participation. Features like challenges, duets, and reactions foster community engagement and content creation.

Algorithmic Advantages

Social media algorithms often prioritize engaging content. Since short videos can quickly rack up views, likes, and shares, they can benefit from increased visibility on platforms.

Easier Entry for Creators

Creating a short video requires fewer resources and time compared to long-form content, lowering the barrier to entry for new creators.

Adaptability to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Short-form content is more adaptable to emerging technologies like AR and VR, which are expected to gain prominence in the future.

Real-time Engagement

Short videos are conducive to real-time engagement, be it through reactions, comments, or interactive features, fostering a sense of community and immediate feedback.

Niche Content Exploration

Short videos allow creators to explore niche topics or ideas without the commitment of creating lengthy content, leading to a diverse range of content offerings.

Monetization and Advertising Opportunities

Advertisers see the potential in short-form video, with many platforms integrating ads seamlessly into the viewing experience. These bite-sized ads can be less intrusive and more engaging than traditional advertising formats.

Flexibility and Evolution

The nature of short-form video allows for quick adaptation to trends, cultural shifts, and user feedback. This flexibility ensures that content remains relevant and fresh.

While short-form video has many advantages that point to its continued prominence in the future, it's essential to note that media consumption trends can be cyclical. While short-form video might dominate now, there will always be a place for diverse content lengths and formats catering to different audience needs.

15 Best Practices for Creating Better Short-Form Videos

Creating effective short-form videos requires a combination of creativity, strategy, and an understanding of the platform's nuances. Here are some best practices to consider:

Start Strong

Given the brief nature of short-form videos, it's crucial to capture the viewer's attention within the first few seconds. Use compelling visuals, intriguing hooks, or strong statements to engage immediately.

Optimize for Mobile

Most short-form video consumption happens on mobile devices. Ensure your content is optimized for vertical viewing and looks good on smaller screens.

Keep It Simple

With limited time, it's essential to convey a clear and concise message. Avoid overloading the video with too much information. Instead, focus on one primary message or action.

Use Captions or Text Overlays

Not everyone watches videos with sound. Adding captions or text overlays ensures your message gets across even if the viewer has muted the audio.

Engage with Your Audience

Encourage viewers to engage by asking questions, prompting them to comment, or participating in challenges and trends.

High-Quality Production

While authenticity is essential, ensure that the video quality is high. This means good lighting, clear audio, and steady camera work.

Optimize for the Platform

Each platform has its own set of guidelines, algorithms, and audience behaviors. Tailor your content to fit the specific platform you're using.

Incorporate Branding

If you're creating content for a brand or business, find subtle ways to incorporate branding without being overly promotional. This can be done through logos, brand colors, or specific themes.

Use Call-to-Actions (CTAs)

Guide viewers on what to do next, whether it's visiting a website, following your profile, or sharing the video.

Stay Updated with Trends

Short-form video platforms often have trending songs, challenges, or themes. Engaging with these trends can increase your video's visibility.

Plan Transitions and Edits

Smooth transitions and dynamic edits can make your video more engaging and professional-looking. Plan these in advance to ensure the final product is cohesive.

Test and Analyze

Regularly review the performance of your videos. Analyze metrics like views, engagement rates, and shares to understand what's working and what isn't.

Authenticity is Key

Short-form videos thrive on authenticity. Be genuine, show behind-the-scenes moments, and let your personality or brand's ethos shine through.

Consider Collaborations

Collaborate with other creators or influencers to tap into their audience and bring fresh perspectives to your content.

Prioritize Sound and Music

Many platforms, like TikTok, heavily emphasize sound and music. Choose catchy tunes and ensure your audio quality is top-notch.

Incorporating these best practices can help ensure your short-form videos are engaging, shareable, and effective in reaching your desired audience.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.