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How Short Videos Tell You More

Most people hesitate to do video because they are worried about having to create 1) long narratives with 2) high production value.

That said, we’ve noticed a cool phenomoenon: very short videos in places you aren’t expecting them.

I first noticed this while online shopping. When I look at clothing websites, a lot of them have short videos showing how the clothing drapes and moves, which is really helpful. It also helps higher quality items stand out in a sea of cheap clothing websites where people don’t feel the get what they are paying for. Here’s an example from Universal Standard:

Product Video Example From Online Store from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

I was telling a friend about this short video observation and she mentioned online dating websites adding short video formats as part of profiles and she was considering trying it. Of course, this made me think about this:

Really though, it’s daters answering questions, which can honestly give you a lot better idea of what they will be like in real life than tons of verbage in a profile can.

Vine (8 second videos) have gone away and with Instagram allowing 60 second (or less) videos, it might just be that the internet is a big experiment in the ideal length of short videos and what they can accomplish in that time. How short is too short? What kinds of information can be shown that would be difficult to show in another medium? I personally think we are just getting started.



Nonprofits can also benefit from using short videos. This example is from Friends of Acadia sharing the conditions of the trail at the Jesup Path. If you check out their video archive, you’ll find their weather related updates about trails and conditions are fairly short (less than a minute in length). Maine Coast Heritage Trust uses short videos in a similar way. (These videos all use raw footage- no editing, and no one having to worry about talking for the camera).

Wyman’s of Maine (the blueberry factory where Kassie worked in high school) shares a lot of short videos like these, sharing how to make smoothies and other treats using their products. Yes, there is a bit of production with this video, but you’ll notice there’s no one talking in front of a camera, and the editing can probably be done using a relatively inexpensive service.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NYC uses short video clips to offer glimpses of the space, discussions with authors, and closer looks at exhibits. Their video archives have a mix of short videos and longer form (up to 10 minutes).

If you have a cool product, a cool location, or a mission that supports cool activities, short videos are a marketing tool that you can definitely use. Short and sweet applies to online video, and your projects too.

Where else have you seen short form videos? Are you planning on using these in your marketing?