Audience Growth

How To Make Short-Form Video Content Work for You in 2024

by Elizabeth Harris · Published Jul 22, 2024

From TikTok to Reels to YouTube Shorts, short-form videos have taken over social media, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. According to HubSpot’s latest marketing and trends report, short-form video content’s popularity will continue to rise in 2024, with 56% of marketers saying they’ll increase their investment in TikTok and 43% increasing investment in Instagram.

Keep reading for the lowdown on making short-form video work for you.

What is short-form video content?

Generally speaking, any video that is under 60 seconds long is a short-form video. While the exact length of short-form video content varies depending on the platform you’re using, the optimum length for a short-form video is between 30 to 60 seconds. 

YouTube Shorts are limited to just 60 seconds, while short-form video giant TikTok features videos ranging from 15 seconds up to 10 minutes long. Meanwhile, Instagram Reels range from 15 seconds to 90 seconds long — and any Instagram video posts shorter than 15 minutes are shared as Reels. So, it really depends on who you ask.

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Benefits of making short-form videos

There are many reasons to love short-form videos, both as the viewer and the creator. Here are some of the reasons why short-form videos are so popular nowadays, and why they should be a part of your content or marketing strategy:

  1. They grab and hold your attention
  2. They’re bite-sized and easily digestible
  3. They’re super shareable
  4. They’re often spontaneous

They grab and hold your attention

Short-form videos are known for keeping viewers’ attention. Anyone who’s ever opened the TikTok app, only to find themselves still scrolling through hours later, will know just how addictive short-form videos can be.

In fact, TikTok users are so hooked on short-form videos that almost 50% of TikTokers agreed that they found videos longer than a minute “stressful.” And, according to Statista, YouTube Shorts reached 70 billion daily views at the end of 2023.

As attention spans become shorter and video content gets bigger, short-form videos are quickly becoming the most popular content type for attracting viewers and keeping them engaged.

They’re bite-sized and easily digestible

Short-form videos are concise and more snackable than longer videos. That means they can be easily watched on the go.

Rather than requiring viewers to sit down and pay attention for 10 minutes or longer, short-form videos give them the information they need quickly. You can learn something or be entertained in a fraction of the time it takes for long-form videos to achieve the same goal. 

Short-form videos cut to the chase and deliver the nugget of any topic right away, so you don’t have to wait around to get the answer or result you’re looking for. They are an ideal format for creators that want to bring real value to their time-strapped audience, wherever they are.

They’re super shareable

What makes short-form videos so fun is that they can be shared quickly and easily with your network. It takes just a few seconds to share a reaction via a short-form video, and it’s this social element that’s partially what makes short-form videos so popular.

This is also what brands love about short-form videos — they can start a conversation and quickly spread to raise brand awareness much faster than other types of content. Invite your community to interact with your business by posting their own short-form videos while tagging you or using a branded hashtag, and watch your engagement grow.

They’re often spontaneous

Although the editing process can still be painstaking for some creators, it’s quicker and easier to make short-form videos than long-form videos simply because there’s less footage to film and edit. 

While many brands pour just as much time into short-form content as they do for full-length videos, for the average user, short-form videos are just that — they’re a few seconds of video that’s filmed fast and spontaneously. This makes them an ideal format for spreading viral trends and sharing unfiltered opinions.

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How to make short-form videos in 10 steps

Whether video content is your jam or you’re just starting to dip your toes into it, these 10 steps will get you in the short-form video arena in no time.

  1. Pick a platform
  2. Research other creators in your niche
  3. Look into trends you can capitalize on
  4. Make a content plan
  5. Try to re-use your existing content
  6. Post consistently
  7. Review analytics to see what works
  8. Do more of what works
  9. Try new things
  10. Start cross-posting

Step 1: Pick a platform

There are three main platforms for sharing short-form videos: Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts. If you already have a strong presence on one of them, then you should try making short videos on that one first.

On YouTube, for example, the Shorts algorithm can actually help your overall channel’s performance, so YouTubers will want to start there. Otherwise, you should pick the platform that makes the most sense to you and your target audience.

The top 3 short-form video platforms

  • Instagram Reels: Instagram might not have been the first in short-form video, but it caught up pretty quickly: over 90% of its users watch videos on the platform every week.
  • TikTok: TikTok pioneered short-form video content with its initial launch in 2016, and it’s spread like wildfire. 60% of its users are between 16 and 24 years old, making it the perfect platform for creators with audiences in this age range. With a potential U.S. ban looming, though, you might want to try another platform first.
  • YouTube Shorts: While Shorts might have started as an experiment in 2020, they quickly grew massively in popularity, reaching 1.5 billion monthly users in 2022. If you’ve thought about posting on YouTube for a while, short-form video might be your way in.

Step 2: Research other creators in your niche

No matter what niche you’re in, chances are there are other creators making short-form videos for it right now. They’re a gold mine of information. Take a look at their content and find out what works for them, what doesn’t work, and how they’re using short-form video to promote other content they’re making. You never have to start from zero.

Short-form platforms all have an endless feed that users can scroll through, meaning users often getting served content from creators they don’t already follow. That means jumping on trends can be a great way to get in front of a new audience.

Just make sure you jump on trends that make sense for your content. If they’re too different, you might get followers who don’t really resonate with your usual content.

Step 4: Make a content plan

Once you’ve picked your platform and figured out the kind of content you want to create, it’s time to make a plan. How often are you going to post? Which days of the week will you post on? Are you making content around a day job?

Plan out a few months’ worth of content, so that you’re never stuck trying to figure out what you need to film when the camera’s on. This plan can (and should) evolve over time.

Step 5: Try to re-use your existing content

If you’ve been a content creator for a while, you’ve already got a bank of content you can use, meaning you don’t have to start from scratch. Can you grab clips from longer videos you’ve made? Maybe you have written content that you can turn into short videos? Repurposing your existing content into short-form videos will make it easier for you to gain momentum.

Step 6: Post consistently

How often you post isn’t as important as how consistently you do it. Sure, you might be able to post every day around your day job for a week or two, but can you keep that going for months? A year? When making your content plan, aim for consistency over pure volume.

Step 7: Review analytics to see what works

Most social media platforms have a suite of analytics tools that tell you who’s watching your content and how much of it they’re watching. Review your account’s analytics to find out what kind of content resonate most with your audience.

Step 8: Do more of what works

Once you have an idea of what kind of content works for you, do more of it. A lot more, until you notice that it doesn’t work as well. Treat it like your own personal trend; you want to take advantage of it as much as possible until it peters out.

Step 9: Try new things

While the majority of your efforts should go towards creating content you know will perform well, you should spend some energy on testing new things, too. If you post five short videos a week, try making one of them completely different. Treat it as an experiment, and incorporate it into your broader strategy if it works.

Step 10: Start cross-posting

While you should initially focus on a single platform to learn the ropes, you’ll absolutely want to post your content on multiple platforms after you’ve reached a certain size.

How To Monetize TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels

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Best practices for short-form videos

Ready to incorporate short-form video into your 2024 content strategy? Here are some tips to help you produce the best possible content delivering the results you’re looking for:

  1. Know your objective
  2. Engage viewers in seconds
  3. Quality content only
  4. Use quick cuts
  5. Craft the perfect loop
  6. Optimize for mute viewing
  7. Keep it fun
  8. Include a CTA
  9. Cross-promote between platforms

Tip 1: Know your objective

Before you create any short-form video content, make sure you know why you’re doing it. 

Whether you’re trying to increase brand awareness, showcase a new product, or expand your thought leadership on a particular topic, knowing your intention before you start creating short-form videos can help you be more focused.

Having a clear objective will help you make videos that are concise, clear, and deliver on your goals, while providing content of real value for your audience.

Tip 2: Engage viewers in seconds

When it comes to short-form video content, you have a tiny window to catch your viewers’ attention before they scroll on. That means the first few seconds of your video need to feature a strong hook.

Identifying the aim of your video is key. For example, if it’s a tutorial or microlearning video, start the video with a question or problem that needs to be solved. If you’re creating a branded challenge or a funny video, start the video with a surprising statement or a preview of the funniest moment of the clip. This helps you get your viewers’ attention faster, as it gives them an idea of why they should keep watching.

Tip 3: Quality content only

If you want people to watch your videos, you need to post high-quality content. That means no shaky or blurry camera shots, good lighting, and tight editing for all your short-form videos.

Like any content you make, your short-form videos are a reflection of your brand, so only post top-quality content that’s going to leave a good first impression on new viewers and potential customers. 

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Tip 4: Use quick cuts

You can keep your videos exciting with snappy cuts between different clips. Trim out as much as you can, while still maintaining a coherent flow or storyline throughout your video. 

This is especially important for tutorials, interviews, and Q&A-style videos where it can easily get too lengthy. Viewers are more likely to stay with you if they feel that your video has momentum. To achieve this, be sure to use quick cuts in your editing process.

Tip 5: Craft the perfect loop

When your short-form content loops perfectly, there’s no obvious beginning or ending, which means a user is more likely to watch the same video twice, if not more! Can you think of an easier way to potentially double your views? Neither could we.

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Tip 6: Optimize for mute viewing

Remember that not all your viewers will have their sound on while watching videos, so make sure your content works in mute viewing, too. This might be as simple as adding subtitles, or including key instructions in text in tutorial videos. It’s important to ensure that anyone can enjoy your videos, whether they’re consuming the content with audio or in silence.

Tip 7: Keep it fun

The short-form video format isn’t made for dry or serious content. To achieve the best results possible, your content should be lighthearted, engaging, and entertaining. 

This isn’t to say you have to make your videos silly — remember that anything you create should align with your brand values and aesthetic. If you’re wondering how you can make your content more relevant, a great tip is to look out for viral trends, music, and sounds that you can use in your videos.

Tip 8: Include a CTA

Any video you produce should include a straightforward call to action (CTA) at the end that directs viewers on what to do next. On social media, that could mean hitting follow or subscribe, or heading to your website to find out more.

Depending on the platform, you can also make your short-form videos shoppable, so viewers can make a purchase directly after watching your video content. This is an ideal opportunity to capitalize on every view to increase your revenue or sales.

Tip 9: Cross-promote between platforms

The best way to reach the biggest possible audience with your content is to post across multiple short-form video platforms. If you are launching a new service or product (e.g. a digital product), you should be promoting it across all your social channels.

If you have limited time and budget, you can repurpose content across different platforms. That could mean re-shooting the videos for different formats while keeping the essential concepts and content the same.

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Top 7 types of short-form video

So, what kind of short-form video content should you be creating? For some inspiration, take a look at the seven most popular types of short-form video today:

  1. Microlearning
  2. Product teasers
  3. User-generated content
  4. Influencer ads
  5. Behind-the-scenes content
  6. Challenges
  7. Customer testimonials

1. Microlearning

Microlearning videos are one of the fastest-growing trends for creators. These videos offer short, succinct lessons in a bite-sized format. Unlike traditional video-based lessons, microlearning sessions are typically only 2-5 minutes long. They break big topics up into tiny bursts of intense and highly engaging clips, packed with information for keen learners.

How it’s done

  • Identify key topics connected to your brand/niche that your audience will want to learn about. 
  • Break your content down into quick, simple steps.
  • Start your video by presenting the problem, and conclude it with the solution. Viewers should have learned something by the end of every video.
  • Add graphics to help illustrate key points.
  • Get the help of experts and thought leaders to explain key concepts.

Short-form video example – Miss Excel


2. Product teasers

73% of consumers prefer to watch a short-form video to learn about a product or service, making it the best way to let them know about what you’re selling.

As more and more brands recognize the power of short-form videos to engage viewers and educate them on new products, you can bet they’re going to create more short-form content this year. Expect to see more surprise product drops, unboxing videos, and sneak peeks hitting your Discover page.

One of the great things about short-form videos is that users can watch more videos in less time than it takes to watch one long-form video. This gives creators and brands alike more insights into consumer needs that can then be used to shape future videos. All that data makes it easier to target your ideal audience, and put the products they’re most likely to buy in front of them. 

How it’s done

  • Make sure your product teaser is eye-catching.
  • Build a sense of mystery and anticipation by not revealing too much.
  • Add links to your launch page and online store.
  • Consider offering early-bird offers or coupons.
  • Segment your content to target specific audiences.

Short-form video example – Fenty Beauty


3. User-generated content

If you want to get your audience hooked on short-form video content, get them to create their own! Encourage your audience to make short-form videos featuring your products. Social media advertising can be much more effective when it features user-generated content (UGC), whether it be product reviews or DIY tutorials.

User-generated content is an ideal way to generate buzz around your brand. This type of short-form video content can help you reach a wider audience, and foster a closer relationship with your followers or customers.

How it’s done

  • Invite your followers to create short-form videos featuring your product or brand.
  • Create a theme around your campaign, which can be something seasonal or trend-related.
  • Repost and showcase the best user-generated videos.
  • Interact with your followers. Respond to videos, comments, shares, and more.
  • Encourage influencers and celebrities to get in on the campaign as well.

Short-form video example – Marc Jacobs


4. Influencer ads

While influencer collaborations are nothing new, more brands are using short-form video content to create engaging influencer campaigns online. Short-form video is the single marketing format with the most return on investment for marketers according to HubSpot, and influencers are stepping up to fill that need.

Short-form videos give influencer campaigns more edge. These punchier ads can create a greater impact, while still delivering elements of authenticity and relatability that make influencer ads so effective.

How it’s done

  • Find influencers relevant to your niche and target audience.
  • Check to see if they align with your brand values.
  • Work with micro-influencers for more targeted campaigns. 
  • Collaborate with influencers on content ideas for short-form videos.
  • Make sure your influencer ads feel authentic, not forced.

Short-form video example – Clorox 

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5. Behind-the-scenes content

Offer your audience an opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes. Whether you’re a content creator or a brand, sharing behind-the-scenes clips can help create a stronger sense of connection with your audience and spark their curiosity. They give viewers an inside look into the world behind the products, services, or content that they love.

Behind-the-scenes videos can also highlight the hard work and creativity that go into making your content and building your business. And thanks to the shareable format of short-form videos, you can transform more viewers into your brand advocates. 

How it’s done

  • Show your personality and passion in the videos.
  • Focus on making the content feel natural, not staged.
  • Introduce your team in the videos.
  • Include images of the final product or result.

Short-form video example – Set Active

@setactive

I live for the chaos 😈😭😭 #setactive

♬ original sound – setactive

6. Challenges

It’s no secret that the internet loves a challenge. Challenges make up some of the most viral video trends around. And for brands, challenges are a huge opportunity to welcome user-generated content from your audience and get people talking about your products. Expect to see many more social media challenges coming in 2024, with branded hashtags to match.

How it’s done

  • Come up with an easy challenge that anyone can participate in. 
  • Create a hashtag that highlights a key message of your brand.
  • Repost and feature top examples of challenges.
  • Get influencers involved to boost awareness.
  • Give away prizes for the top entries to incentivize entries.

Short-form video example – Sam & Toya


7. Customer testimonials

Forget about text testimonials, short-form video testimonials are in.

If you can get your customers in front of the camera, you can bring testimonials to life on your social media profile. This short-form video trend is a great way to boost your brand’s social proof in 2024.

You can use short-form video testimonials to entice your audience to make a purchase. These testimonial clips can come in the form of short interviews, compilations of multiple testimonials, reposts, and more.

How it’s done

  • Invite customers who reflect your target audience to share testimonials.
  • Keep testimonials quick and upbeat.
  • Make sure it’s unscripted. Let your customers use their own words or ideas in the videos.
  • Edit multiple testimonials into one compilation video.
  • Get creative with different formats and themes.

Short-form video example – Ana Luisa

Make the most of short-form video content

Short-form video content is king in 2024. The ultra-popular social media trend will remain intact this year, as TikTok, Instagram Reels, and more platforms take over our screens with bite-sized content.

For creators and brands alike, there’s never been a better time to start investing in short-form video content to engage your audience and boost brand awareness. Get discovered online with fun, informative content and gain new followers.

Want to monetize your short-form video content? Get our free mini-report to learn how to make money on TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels.

How To Monetize TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels

Grab this mini-report for big insights into cashing in with short-form video.

Short-form video FAQ

What is short-form video?

Short-form videos are usually vertical videos between 30-60 seconds, hosted on platforms like YouTube Shorts, TikTok, or Instagram Reels. They’re often displayed in a feed you can scroll endlessly, meaning a user can consume a ton of short-form content in a row in one sitting.

How should creators use short videos in their content strategy?

Short-form video is one of the best ways to get your channels discovered since they get fed to the feeds of people who don’t even follow you yet. Try creating a few that stand on their own, some that tease longer content, and even some to promote any products or services you’re selling.

Which short-form video platform should you post on?

The answer will be different for any creator. The three main platforms for short videos are TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.

YouTubers should probably start on YouTube Shorts, and creators with a decent Instagram following should start with Reels. If you don’t have a presence on either, or your audience skews a bit younger, try TikTok first.

How To Monetize TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels

Grab this mini-report for big insights into cashing in with short-form video.

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Further reading

This article was originally published in January 2023, and updated in July 2024 with additional information.

elizabeth harris
About the author

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris is a content marketer and copywriter with a passion for helping businesses get the most out of their content, helping to educate, inspire, and engage audiences.
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