The Rise of Short-Form Video


Short-form video has exploded in popularity over the last few years, transforming how we create and consume digital content. These bite-sized videos, typically under 60 seconds, have become a defining media trend, spearheaded by the meteoric growth of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels. Let's explore the key drivers propelling the short-form video revolution and its implications across entertainment, marketing, and culture.

A number of factors have contributed to the meteoric rise of short-form video in recent years. Some of the major trends include:

Vertical Video

Unlike traditional horizontal video, vertical videos are shot in portrait mode to fill a smartphone screen. Platforms like Snapchat and TikTok have normalized this format that is ideal for mobile consumption. Over 70% of people now watch videos on mobile devices, making vertical videos integral for modern video creation.

Authentic Content

Short-form videos thrive on authenticity. Viewers crave real, unfiltered content that captures life's everyday moments versus highly produced videos. The spontaneity and rawness of short clips allow creators to share their true personalities.

User-Generated Content

Today's short videos are dominated by user-generated content (UGC). Everyone can be a creator, and amateur videos shot on phones have become massively popular. TikTok is the ultimate example, with its content created by everyday users. UGC makes short-form video feel more accessible and relatable.


Short-form platforms incorporate interactive features like duets, stitches, and collab videos that encourage participation. This interactivity allows creators and viewers to engage with content in new ways. Viral trends and challenges thrive on this community participation.

Short-Form Video Platforms

A host of platforms have emerged to meet the demand for short, digestible video content. Here are some of the major players:


As the poster child of short-form video, TikTok has been downloaded over 3.3 billion times worldwide. Its endless stream of 15 to 60-second videos showcases everything from dance routines to comedy skits and life hacks. TikTok's algorithmically curated feed and expansive creative tools make it easy for videos to go viral fast.

Instagram Reels

Instagram launched Reels in 2020, allowing users to create 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and creative editing features. Seamlessly integrated within Instagram, Reels taps into existing networks and amplifies content to new audiences. Its capabilities and Instagram's one billion monthly active users have made Reels a top short-form video destination.

YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts provides creators with a short-form video editor to produce 60-second vertical videos designed for mobile consumption. Launched in 2020, it is already driving over 30 billion daily views. Shorts leverages YouTube's massive reach and creator community to compete in the short video space.


Though originally focused on ephemeral messaging, Snapchat has evolved into a prominent short video platform. Its curated, full-screen Stories and user-generated Discover feed showcase its vertical video expertise. Snapchat also pioneers new video innovations through its AR Lenses and Spotlight platform for user-generated content.

Short-Form Video Marketing

Given the popularity of short-form video, it's no surprise that brands are increasingly embracing it as a marketing tool. Here are some of the key benefits of short-form video marketing:

Reach New Audiences

Short-form video opens the door to new demographics that spend more time on these platforms than traditional media. TikTok's youthful audience presents an opportunity for brands to engage Gen Z.

Viral Content Marketing

Compelling short-form videos can be created on a shoestring budget and still gain huge traction. Videos that tap into trends and challenges can be co-opted for viral marketing. The right content can achieve millions of organic views rapidly.

Ad Formats

Platforms provide a variety of advertising formats for short videos, from Instagram Reels ads to YouTube bumper ads. These native ads reach engaged users in a natural way.

Influencer Marketing

Influencers thrive in short-form video, collaborating with brands through sponsored content. Their authenticity provides a powerful way for brands to increase awareness and trust.

Behind-the-Scenes Content

Short videos give an inside look at company culture, products, and services. This behind-the-scenes content helps humanize brands.

Customer Testimonials

User-generated testimonials and reviews in short videos are a compelling way to build trust and social proof. Brands can repost this content or create a branded hashtag to curate it.

Short-Form Video Impact

Beyond marketing, short-form video is making waves across entertainment, politics, activism and other aspects of society.

Reshaping Entertainment

Short video platforms have allowed new talent to emerge and given creators direct access to audiences. The entertainment industry is being redefined by viral stars born on TikTok and YouTube. Even traditional media companies are gearing content and distribution towards short-form video.

Political Communication

Politicians are harnessing short video to connect with constituents in authentic and engaging ways. Unfiltered political commentary thrives on these platforms. The 2020 election saw a surge in short political video content.


Short-form video provides an impactful medium for activism around social causes. Hashtag challenges raise awareness of issues from climate change to racial justice. Videos of protests and first-hand accounts spread rapidly on short video platforms.

Learning and Education

The brevity and accessibility of short-form video make it a versatile learning tool. Educational videos on everything from academic concepts to life skills are gaining huge popularity. TikTok's #LearnOnTikTok hashtag has over 12 billion views and counting.

Viral short videos and challenges shape pop culture and consumer behavior almost overnight. Brands, songs, or products featured in viral short videos can skyrocket to mainstream fame and influence purchase decisions.

Short-Form Video Creation

For brands and creators looking to dive into short-form video, here are some tips for creating compelling content:

Identify Your Niche

Find your niche based on your brand, interests or areas of expertise. Popular niches include comedy, dance, food, beauty, DIY, and more. Catering to a specific niche helps attract your target audience.

Stay on top of viral trends, challenges, audios etc. that are resonating. Put your unique spin on trending content to increase discoverability and engagement.

Optimize for Mobile

Record vertical videos optimized for smartphones. Use on-screen text and graphics to maximize impact on small screens. Ensure your content looks polished but authentic.

Use Captions

Given the inability to hear sound initially, use captions to share key information and make videos accessible. Convey your core hook and value right upfront.

Edit Creatively

Use editing to splice together clips, transitions, graphics and text seamlessly. Take advantage of built-in editing tools on each platform. Enhance videos with stickers, filters and effects.

Promote Interactivity

Suggest viewers comment challenges, ask questions or post reactions to drive engagement. Hashtag challenges and duets encourage participation. Reply to comments and leverage influencer collaborations.


Short-form video has dramatically reshaped content consumption and creation in the digital age. As mobile video continues to thrive, this format will become even more ubiquitous across entertainment, marketing, education and our daily lives. For brands and creators, short video presents an exciting opportunity to engage audiences in new ways. The possibilities are endless when you have just 15 to 60 seconds to make an impact. As short video evolves, it will be fascinating to see what new trends and innovations emerge across this dynamic landscape.