Why Brands Should Go Long on Long-Form Video Content.

Credit:© Universal/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Serving short-form video ads and not producing long-form content to complement them is like offering a starter but skipping the mains.

I invite you to look at video slightly differently going into 2019. Instead of it just being a short and snappy (6 – 15 – 30 secs or 1 min) ad / info tool, treat it as a storytelling medium where your brand for the first time could turn itself into a real publisher. Try Long-Form videos.

You ask – How can I make my 6 secs videos / ads grab the attention of my viewers? Sorry that is a difficult battle to win most times. A/B testing is the best tool for that but what after that? What happens when they have seen your 6 secs to 1 min video ads and then your CTA guided them to a landing page to lead capture or give them more product info or sell your product. Is that where your brand video experience ends? The viewers now are more demanding than ever, whether you are selling software or ice-cream.

I define long-form as videos that are longer than 2 mins and ideally are in the form of a series.

Four benefits of adopting a Long-Form content Strategy: 

  1. Most Important: Differentiate your brand by giving your long-form content a unique voice. With short-form ads and videos you are fighting a very brief visual battle with your competitors. With long-form you can tell a compelling story and get your audience to engage with what your product and brand stands for. Leaving a lasting impression, which is super important for brand recall.
  2. Build long term trust with your customers. Educate, Inspire and Inform them across the awareness, consideration and conversion stages of the funnel.
  3. Create short-form ads / videos from the long-form content for free. Yes you heard that right! You can edit a number of mini trailers from the long-form content and A/B test them across multiple social platforms. This way you will have a perfect narrative flow between the ads and the actual content. And the ads will still be leading users to a landing page but this time they also get access to tons of long-form content that they showed interest in by clicking on the short-form teasers.
  4. Your long-form videos might get preference over short-form videos on both Facebook and Google, who have openly come out in support of long-form content to give them a boost and hence, more credibility.

Three tips to build your first long-form video content: 

  1. Look at creating a series of a minimum of 3-10 videos with each video being a minimum of 2 to 5 mins long, if not longer or have one film longer than 10 mins. 
  2. Have a key theme / message across all the videos.
  3. Don’t try and do too many things with the series. Decide at messaging and scripting stage what objective do you want to achieve with this series and how you plan to activate them on social. 

Some examples of brands using long-form content:

HP: The Wolf – True Alpha

Christian Slater, Jonathan Banks and Betty Adewole star in this epic, global hunt about the dangers of cyber threats from HP Studios and director Lance Acord. Most brands will not have the appetite to spend mega bucks on something like The Wolf, hence, some more realistic examples below.

RS Components: For the Inspired

An incredible series of videos focusing on inspiration and engineering passion across the community and how lives are being changed by the determination of normal people using RS products.

GE: In the Wild Series

To educate their audience on how GE powers everything from cities to jet engines, GE created a series titled “Into the Wild”, consisting of 11 videos. The series follows former Mythbuster Adam Savage as he endeavours to understand the mechanics behind GE’s many products and services. Through expert interviews, animations, and easy to understand explanations, Adam (and the audience) learn just how GE helps power the world.

Laphroaig Whisky: One Whisky, Many Opinions, 3.5 Hour Filibuster

Okay so they took my idea of long-form very seriously and produced a 3.5 hr long video. A half decent execution which makes me chuckle at times and kept me hooked for several minutes in parts if not hours.

BMW – The Escape

Back to a block-buster example. A modern homage to BMW Film’s 15th Anniversary, Clive Owen returns as a mysterious driver for hire, delivering a human clone to a mysterious buyer. Besides the celebrity costs, it is increasingly becoming more cost effective to produce high quality films.

Patagonia: Worn Wear: a Film About the Stories We Wear

In “Worn Wear,” Patagonia shares the story of several Patagonia customers and the stories of their clothes. Ranging from 11 to 30+ years old, each vignette features a well-loved, well-worn Patagonia item and the experiences the clothes have held. Patagonia’s message is clear throughout the film, saying, “The most responsible thing you can do is buy used clothes.” 

Vox – Explained 

Every episode is a roughly 15-minute dive into a topic that drives our lives or our world. For example the first three episodes cover DNA editing, monogamy, and the racial wealth gap. You can watch the series on Netflix.

IBM: Watson at Work

The length of each video is less than 1 min but as it is a series of 7 videos “Watson at Work” it is engaging to watch applications of IBM Watson across various sectors such as security, healthcare, energy, golf, etc.

Go long on long-form and help your brand marketing cut through the noise.

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