Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The fall, and rise, of long-form video: Guide to tackling videos over 90 seconds

By Ohad Hecht, CEO of Emplifi

Whether you’re looking to inform, influence, or inspire modern customers, video content remains a vital component of any social media strategy. However, the way that we consume video content is changing.

With the proliferation of short-form video content on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook Reels, short and snappy video content has been favoured by brands in recent years. Yet, our recent research suggests that longer Instagram Reels are beginning to win more engagement for brands, outperforming all other video content across Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

And it’s not just us that have noted this change. TikTok recently announced that they are testing 30-minute videos. So, as we see the pendulum swing back to long-form video, how can marketers incorporate this into their 2024 social media strategies effectively? And how can they futureproof their social strategies to capitalise on future engagement trends? 

Key considerations for your social media video strategy

Just like all marketing strategies, effective use of video content as part of robust social media strategies requires clear objectives, tactics, and measurement from the outset. However, two key considerations when tackling this kind of content are resource allocation and attention span.

Resourcing for video content can be tricky, but not every video has to be a sizeable production. The process can scale quickly as you write scripts or record, edit and review, as well as optimise your video for channel-specific considerations like aspect ratio and length. Keep this in mind as you create your plan, ensuring that you have options for both simplified execution and scalable production for longer-form content.

While longer-form video content is gaining in popularity, video is a medium that requires you to capture your audience’s attention quickly. Therefore, brands should diversify their video content to include both long and short formats to increase engagement overall. Many brands are seeing improved engagement with longer videos running from 26 to 90 seconds, and longer Instagram Reels (over 90 seconds) now generate more than double the number of median video views compared to TikTok videos.

To account for all attention spans within your social media strategy, trial and error is key. You have to regularly try different approaches, learn from them, and apply key learning back into your plan. Making one video is the start of a conversation, but to keep your audience’s attention long-term, you must keep that conversation going with a diverse mix of video content.

Getting started with long-form social media video

Incorporating long-form video content into your social strategy is a great way to engage with consumers, but what specific content should you consider for optimal results? Customer case studies and testimonials are a reliable way to add authenticity to long-form video content. Whether you interview or let a customer share their story in their own words, video is a powerful method of sharing what a static, text-based quote might not fully convey. Long-form video allows for emotion and impact to translate more effectively, so customer stories should be the emotive foundational element of any social media plan.

Informative explainer videos, alongside emotive customer stories, are a great way for customers to deepen their understanding of a product, service, or concept. Development of this content, particularly with a video production tool, can be quick, efficient, and cost-effective, and the impact is often significant.

Webinar and video-based podcast content is another great way to weave longer-form video into your social strategy, providing in-depth information, training and educational material. These can be pre-recorded or live-streamed and are a considerable source for raw video to translate across all of social channels. Alternatively, this can be repackaged into recaps, trend pieces, or interesting shorter clips.

Future-proofing video social strategies

Once your plan is in place, creating content that resonates with your audience is vital. As a marketer, you should keep asking yourself if the content you are creating is something truly worth the attention of key audiences. Videos should not only reflect your brand’s personality but also speak to your audience’s interests and needs.

Be authentic, sharing real stories, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and genuine customer experiences. Focus on quality over quantity, prioritising high-quality visuals and sound to make your content more engaging and professional, even if this means having to scale back the volume of videos produced.

To maximise ROI on long-form content and ensure each production is impactful, use edits and cuts of quality work versus creating poorly sourced assets. Always include a clear call to action, telling viewers what to do next, and be clear on the motivation behind any video you produce. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to try new things with your content.

With engagement increasing for videos that run longer than the average 15-second or 30-second video ad format, forward-thinking brands must reconsider their creative strategies to align with this evolving trend.

By considering resource allocation and attention span, while tapping into varied sources of long-form content such as customer stories, explainer videos, and webinars, social media marketers will effectively capitalise on the long-form video trend and stay one step ahead of competitors.