By: Emily Sano, Fellow of Digital Media & Management
The video-sharing app TikTok is changing the game for all social media platforms by popularizing short-form video content. In the past six years, TikTok has generated 1 billion users by utilizing this type of content, with users spending an average of 45 minutes watching these videos (Geyser). “Short-form video content is any type of video content that’s less than 60 seconds, though some marketers agree short-form video content can be as long as three minutes” (Geyser). This allows the consumers of the content to easily view and digest it before quickly scrolling to the next. 73% of consumers prefer to watch short-form video content, with this type generating the highest return on investment and engagement (Geyser). Knowing this, well-known platforms, Instagram and YouTube, saw the shift in content consumption and created their adaptation of short-form video content.
Instagram Reels, first debuting in 2019, ” are full-screen vertical videos that can be up to 90 seconds long if you record them in the app or 15 minutes long if you upload a pre-shot video” (Kutuchief). Like TikTok, there are editing tools and a library of audio tracks that creators can use on their videos (Kutuchief). The platform knows the benefits of this short-form video content so well that the algorithm favors videos, meaning they are more likely to recommend them to people who do not typically see your feed (Kutuchief). Although knowing this is great for marketers, Instagram has faced much backlash from photo-based influencers, with petitions against these changes started by photographer Tati Bruening calling out Instagram, saying, “Stop trying to be TikTok” (Hayes). This rally against video content has gained so much traction that the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseiri, actually posted a response video saying that photos are still a crucial part of the platform’splatform’s history but, “I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time” (Hayes).
YouTube Shorts are 60-second vertical short-form videos to help businesses engage with their subscribers (Chillingworth). This addition to the platform was likely to rival TikTok in the short-form video space. Just recently, in 2023, YouTube monetized its shorts, giving out $100 million to the platform’splatform’s top creators, and as of February 1, 2023, has now introduced monetization to most creators (Chillingworth).
This is not the first time one social media platform has changed to better compete with its rivals. Instagram added its stories feature and the close friends and filters to help better compete with Snapchat. Knowing this, it can only be assumed that this is not the last time a platform will utilize what is working on one to push the usage of another. This is why it is essential to stay updated on all the changes going on with the various social media platforms so that you can use them to your advantage!
Chillingworth, Alec. “YouTube Shorts Monetization 2023: Your Guide: Epidemic Sound.” This Is the Epidemic Sound Blog | Epidemic Sound, This Is the Epidemic Sound Blog | Epidemic Sound, 5 Apr. 2023, www.epidemicsound.com/blog/youtube-shorts- monetization/?_us=adwords_max&_usx=14492154145_&utm_source=google&utm_medi um=paidsearch&utm_campaign=max_14492154145&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwiZqh BhCJARIsACHHEH8vk1bFM2cq_DHkIvP910rODVlSKod-Ge- 0DaGbHvKStER7dXiyJucaAn7UEALw_wcB.
Geyser, Werner. “The Ultimate Guide to Short-Form Video Content.” Influencer Marketing Hub, 22 Nov. 2022, influencermarketinghub.com/short-form-video-content/.
Hayes, Dade. “Instagram’s New Emphasis on Algorithm-Fed Videos, Which Has Irked Longtime Users, Gets Plug from Parent Company Meta’s Execs: ‘in the Long Run, We Believe It
Kutuchief, Britny. “Instagram Reels in 2023: A Simple Guide for Businesses.” Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard, 4 Mar. 2023, blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-reels/
Will Be a Tailwind.’” Deadline, Deadline, 27 July 2022, deadline.com/2022/07/instagram- reels-algorithm-video-backlash-meta-platforms-1235079339/.