Long-form vs. Short-form videos: which one is best for you?

13 minutes reading

Video content is in demand among customers. In fact, a 2023 study by Wyzowl shows that 91% of consumers prefer online video content as their main source of brand communication. That’s great news, as video offers some truly spectacular benefits. With the technology boom in recent years, it has become easier than ever to produce high-quality content without needing an entire film production crew behind your back.

However, the video format is not one-size-fits-all. While there are some extreme lengths on both sides, we will not talk about Micro and XXL videos today as they deserve a far longer explanation. Instead, we will focus on Long and short videos. More accurately, we will explore their pros and cons, who needs them, and whether they fit your necessities well. But before we get down to it, let’s talk about the media as a whole.

Why use a video?

As we already mentioned, people today expect to see a video, especially when choosing a product or service. Customers typically will avoid reading when possible. They prefer easily digestible videos to convey information about the product or service they are interested in. Naturally, the video will increase engagement significantly. It will not only draw traffic but also increase your conversion rate by 80%. Moreover, 88% of those who go through an entire video will finish a purchase, which leads to an 87% income increase.

Person looking at videos

Furthermore, using video will significantly decrease your bounce rate and keep customers on your website longer. Users will spend 88% more time on your website if you offer them a video.

Adding a video to your website will also enhance its visual appeal, instantly making the information you are trying to convey more understandable and better received.

As an added bonus, Google prioritizes videos in their search engine, especially if they are hosted on YouTube. So, adding an embedded video from your YouTube Channel will skyrocket your website in the Search Results. As you already know, being at the top of Google’s Search Results is a highly beneficial position, leading to much higher CTR, better traffic, immensely enhanced performance, and, most importantly, much better ROI.

This SEO optimization alone is a brand awareness gold mine. Still, when it comes to video content, it will boost your brand authority and awareness significantly. Studies have shown that people are twice as likely to share video content than an article or an infographic.

So, it’s obvious that adding video to your content mix is a no-brainer. The question remains, though. Is long-format or short-format better for your needs? Let’s find out.

What is a Long-format video?

A long-format video is any video that exceeds the 10-minute mark. While there is no strict cap on how long these videos should be when it comes to the purposes and the delivery, we consider content above 30 minutes as XXL videos. They have an entirely different appeal than those below 30 minutes, so it’s good to differentiate them.

Most commonly, long-format videos are about 10-15 minutes long. They are educational videos that solve a problem or give an answer to a burning question. That makes them perfect for increasing your SEO efforts. Naturally, this will enhance your visibility and engagement. Still, you need to have some pretty good SEO knowledge to pull it off.

The rise of the long-format video is evident by the current trends on YouTube, the world’s biggest and most popular video platform. More and more YouTube channels are increasing their production value and offering longer videos, regardless of whether they are educational, entertainment, or otherwise.

Of course, to create a successful long-format video, you need to be able to keep your audience entertained. Just like with blog posts, adding minutes for the sake of having a longer video is counterproductive and will lead to the opposite effect. So, don’t bulk your production on purpose. Instead, focus on being thorough with your explanations and examples.

When done correctly, Long-format videos are a great way to enhance your authority and boost your brand awareness.

Benefits of long-form videos

The advantages of long-form videos are plentiful. They can be of great value to your overall marketing strategy if used correctly. Let’s look at some of the compelling benefits of incorporating long-format videos on your website.

Watching a long, educational video

Branding and Recognition

Long-format is great for establishing your brand personality and brand voice. Due to their length, they are great for storytelling and building a narrative showcasing your values. This way, your customers will have the chance to see you as something more than a mere brand. Building your brand identity through your long-format videos will allow you to stand out in your industry and build a loyal customer base that’s not just interested in your products but rather your opinion.

Enhancing Brand Authority

Naturally, higher-quality videos discussing industry-related topics in detail will showcase your knowledge and establish you as an authority in your field. This will enhance your influence on the market and allow you to lead it instead of following it. Naturally, this will lead to immense benefits to your overall performance.

Better Conversion Rates

Long-form video content has been shown to boost conversion rates significantly. In fact, research conducted by Vidyard indicates a 34% increase in conversion rates when video content is included in advertising campaigns. But there is more to it. Long-form videos not only attract more customers, but their quality is better. This means that in the long run, you can count on much better quality of customers if you keep them well-informed.

Promotes Significant Engagement

Long-form videos can captivate and immerse your audience, leading to more social shares and audience interaction. Moreover, they have a longer-lasting impact on the customer, making them more likely to return. This makes long-form videos a gold mine for high-quality customers, who most likely will spend more over time.

Increased Customer Value

Long-form videos are an effective way to provide added value to your customers. By delivering comprehensive information, insights, or educational content, you establish your brand as a trustworthy and authoritative source in your niche. This, in turn, enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty. Naturally, whenever they need a solution to a problem, they will most likely look for your solution. For example, if you offer cleaning services, creating a video explaining how to make your home sparkling clean will give audiences a glimpse of your work, and they will see the result firsthand. Naturally, if they are looking for someone to clean their home, the risk of hiring someone who already has proven their abilities is only normal.

Enhanced SEO and Visibility

Probably the most significant benefit of long-format videos is the boost of your website’s SEO. Long-form videos will always keep customers engaged for an extended time. For Google, this is a sign that you offer quality content, and naturally, it pushes you forward in its search results. Of course, the longer the content, the more keywords you can add inside. While in a 1-minute video, you can only add one long-tail keyphrase, in a 10 or 15-minute video, you can add much more. Moreover, you can give a far more detailed explanation, giving you an extra SEO boost.

Building Connections

Long-form video allows you to establish a deeper connection with your viewers. By telling a more extensive story or sharing in-depth knowledge, you can forge a lasting bond with your audience. The longer format allows you to establish a personality rather than just shoot out facts. But most importantly, it will enable you to showcase your lovable personality and win not just customers but also fans.

More Backlinks and Shares

Longer videos provide the opportunity to delve deeper into topics, making your content more shareable. Viewers are likely to share comprehensive, insightful content, leading to more backlinks, increased website traffic, and amplified social media presence.

Adds significant value to your website

The biggest benefit of long-form videos, however, is the added value to your website. Long-form videos are ideal for presenting detailed demonstrations of products or providing in-depth educational content. This is particularly valuable for easing doubts, explaining features and benefits, and setting realistic expectations for your audience.

Downsides of Long-form videos

Unsurprisingly, long-format videos have their fair share of drawbacks as well. Here are the main points to consider before investing time and money in creating long-format videos:

Increased Time and Budget Requirements

high-cost production

Speaking of money and time, that’s one of the main things to consider before going for a long-form video. Creating high-quality, long-format videos requires a huge amount of resources. Even if you save money on production costs like screenwriter, production team, and others, you will have to spend days creating one such video. This can be a significant drawback for businesses with limited resources, especially if they aim to produce a consistent stream of content.

Shortened Attention Span of Viewers

With the rise of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and other short-form video platforms, the viewers’ attention span has significantly decreased. The average customer attention span is 8 seconds. This means your content will exceed this norm significantly. So, to retain their attention longer, your video should not only have high-quality imagery but also have one outstanding script. Even so, your viewer’s count will be significantly lower in sheer numbers. However, those who remain to watch will most likely convert at the end of the video. So, there is a silver lining.

Niche Audiences only

Expanding on the previous point, long-form videos are not meant for the broader audience. They are targeting people in the middle or even towards the bottom of the marketing funnel. This means your video will be of interest to a small niche audience that needs additional information. However, while this may limit your reach, it can be advantageous for targeting a more engaged and qualified audience further down the purchasing funnel.

Needs some content marketing knowledge

Long-form videos must be done correctly to be effective. Many beginners who attempt to create a high-quality video for a broader audience end up smushing several shorter videos into one long. This breaks the narrative and interrupts the continuity of the storytelling. So, to create a 15-20 minute informative and engaging narrative, you need to have some knowledge of content writing and the reader’s psychology.

So, consider your abilities and resources before going for a long-form video. However, more importantly, consider if you really need this format.

When do you need a long-form video?

Long-format videos are not meant for the broader audience. They are predominantly used for B2B websites, where decision-makers insist on having all the information before taking action.

Moreover, long-form videos are used for warm and hot audiences who are already on the brink of buying but need that extra push. Thus, an educational video, a detailed review of a product, or a podcast detailing the benefits of the product can be immensely beneficial.

Finally, long-form videos are most commonly used to add an additional layer to your brand personality. If you are new on the market, showcasing your mission, personality, and values can be beneficial. Still, if you are a bigger brand or you want to grow out of your shell, long-form video is a must.

Long-format videos are extremely valuable for highly-niched products with a tight and knowledgeable customer base. Also, luxury brands and those selling highly expensive products like cars, bikes, and others must also incorporate long-format videos on their website.

Before you rush to produce your long-form video, let’s first have a look at what short-format videos can offer.

What is a Short-format video?

Short-format videos are typically 30 seconds to 10 minutes long. Shorter videos are micro-videos used for social media advertising and are rarely used on websites per se. Micro-videos are lead-generation videos, while short-format videos aim to convert. Most commonly, short-form videos last 2-5 minutes. This is just enough time to persuade someone to buy without starting to look desperate. While typical advertisements last for up to 30 seconds, short videos have a different mission. They must expand on what you’ve seen in the ad and add extra value. This means that in these 2-5 minutes, the narrator must explain the benefits of the product or services, who they are for, and what they will achieve. This will set realistic expectations for the customer without overextending their welcome.

Short-form videos are punchy and to the point and constantly increase tension, relieving it only at the end of the video. In contrast, long-form videos need several ups and downs throughout the video to retain the customer’s attention.

Benefits of short-form video

Adding a short-format video to your website is almost a must. While several years back, this would have separated you from the pack, today, having short videos on your website, promoting your product, and giving extra information is the norm. The good news is that it has some lucrative advantages.

Girl starting to record a short video

Cost-Effective and Easy to Create

One of the key advantages of short-form videos is their ease of production. Creating a brief video, whether for marketing, entertainment, or informational purposes, requires significantly less effort compared to producing lengthy, hour-long content. Short videos involve minimal editing, writing, color correction, and exporting, making them a cost-effective and efficient choice for small-time businesses who want to be on par with the big dogs.

Quicker Consumption

In an era where attention spans continue to shrink, short-form videos cater to today’s audience’s fast-paced, instant gratification demands. The majority of customers are social media scrollers who prefer quick and worthy videos. Thus, a short video has all the necessary elements to promote your product without losing your customers’ fragile attention.

Maximizing Engagement

Short-form videos are adept at holding the viewer’s attention. With shorter durations, they minimize the likelihood of viewers clicking away or debating the value of watch time. The format encourages continuous engagement, often enticing viewers to explore more content or eagerly anticipate what comes next in a video series.

It attracts a much broader audience

As you have guessed, short videos are targeting a much broader audience. Usually, it is meant for the top of the funnel, where people are slightly engaged and need persuasion to go down the funnel. Naturally, the conversion rates are not as good as in the long-form videos, but then again, they have a different task.

Cross-channel exposure

The best part of short video content is that you can use it for cross-channel exposure. It is just as viable for your website as it is for YouTube and social media like Linked In, Facebook, and other platforms. Naturally, this will benefit your SEO efforts. However, the biggest benefit will be to your organic traffic, as short videos are highly shareable due to their un-demanding length.

Downsides of short-form video

Of course, short-form videos are not immune to drawbacks. Thus, you need to consider them before you go ahead and start shooting. Here are the main downsides of short-form videos:

Person scorlling through videos

Complexity limits

One of the biggest disadvantages of short-content videos is the limit on how complex a topic should be. For example, if you want to talk about your brand’s history, 2-5 minutes is definitely not enough. You must convey what problems you faced, what you learned from them, and more. In short-form videos, this is impossible. Just like you can’t explain whether one should choose long or short form videos in a short video.

Short videos excel at conveying messages rather than explaining reasons, so stick to that.

Engaging but without depth

Short videos can’t establish a narrative. There is no storytelling, no emotions, just messages. Of course, they manage to convey some emotion, but they fail to create a long-lasting connection. This means that the audience loses the build-up interest the moment the video ends. There is rarely hype, and more often than not, the content has barely scratched the surface of the topic. Of course, while this may be a downside, it depends on your goals. If you are targeting the correct audience, this method of conveying information is quite sufficient.

Short Lifespan

Short videos often have a shorter lifespan. As they don’t delve too deep into a topic, people don’t need to come back and rewatch them. This means that once the hype from the video is gone and its shares have decreased, you need to create a new video. This can be a significant drawback for businesses seeking long-term impact, as ongoing efforts are required to keep content fresh and engaging.

Limited Creativity and Storytelling

The brevity of short-form videos can also limit creativity and storytelling. Developing compelling storylines or characters within a brief video can be challenging, making this format less effective for marketing campaigns that rely on intricate storytelling. Thus, it is inefficient for industries to rely on good storytelling to sell their products, such as luxury brands.

When do you need a short-form video?

Despite the small drawbacks, short-form videos are an irreplaceable tool to drive customers from the top of the funnel to the middle. They are pretty effective for companies trying to appeal to the mass audience. Relying more on entertainment than on in-depth information they can boost your traffic and build your audience, which you must later analyze.

Businesses targeting B2C customers should definitely use short-form videos, especially those offering everyday items and unique solutions to broader problems.

Short-form videos work exceptionally well with industries like sports, fitness, real estate, beauty and fashion, and others where impulse buying is probable.

Which one is for you?

So, which one is for you? Well, if you’ve carefully read our explanation, you already know you need both. Both have their unique appeal and target different audiences. Still, if your product is highly niched and targets highly knowledgeable audiences, then you may skip the short form and go straight to the long videos. For example, if you offer specialized dental products and your customers are dentists, you can’t explain your product’s sophisticated design in just a few words. You need to go into details. Moreover, no dentist will buy a product for their patients without knowing the ins and outs of how it functions and operates.

On the other hand, if you offer mass products like hats, for example, completely detailing stitching and production is pointless, as that’s not what your customers are looking for. Moreover, if you are just a retailer, your brand is unimportant to the sale, so investing in a long-form video will be nothing more than a waste of money.

Most often, however, the solution is a healthy mix. 1-2 long videos, accompanied by several short ones, that constantly change. Of course, playing videos on your website needs high-speed hosting, as otherwise, you will lose your audience’s interest while the video is loading. Even if embedded, the faster load speed guarantees your audience will not bounce before pushing the play button.

This is where we come into the spotlight. HostArmada is the best solution for your website hosting needs. We offer lightning-fast internet, 99.9% uptime, and state-of-the-art server security. Check out our hosting plans and choose the best fit for your needs. If you have any questions or doubts about whether a plan will be sufficient for long-form videos, just contact our team. We will help you choose the best plan for your needs.