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We need to talk about short-form video
We need to talk about short-form video
Written by Team
Updated over a week ago

We need to talk about short-form video. Releasing video content is an essential part of a musician's marketing strategy. In 2020, YouTube announced that 2 billion of its users stream music-related video content every month. On top of that, short-form video platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels have become not only a tool for music discovery but also a tool for music creation and collaboration. We don’t have to look farther than the “Don’t Text Me” challenge to see this shift in consumption.

If you’re not familiar, an artist by the name of Stacey Ryan released a challenge on TikTok - she sings the chorus of her original song “Don’t Text Me When You’re Drunk” and leaves enough pause for someone to add their own verse to her song. The challenge was posted on December 29th, 2021, and has generated over 34,000 response videos to date, including the iconic “Space Jam DVD remix”, this author’s personal favorite.

Not only did this challenge generate views of her TikTok, but it also generated streams of her song. The song gained over 3 million streams on Spotify alone within 2 weeks of its release.

According to experts, 82% of all internet traffic is activity on video. Industry leaders also say that video content is shared at 12x the rate of text content. With these statistics, it is clear that video must be an essential part of your marketing strategy.. Establishing a cohesive video strategy pre and post-release will help you reach more internet users and maximize the potential for those users to do your marketing for you (by sharing your content with others).

Promoting with Video

We’re not just talking about short-form video because it’s trendy. Short-form works perfectly as advertising content, especially with our HTML5 ads. 30 seconds or less is the perfect amount of time to get someone interested in your content while still wanting more.

Using Video Content in Ads’s HTML5 Ad Builder allows you to embed any YouTube video directly into a banner ad, that can be watched by music fans wherever they see your ad. With video being the most consumed and shared medium on the web, our HTML5 ads already put you at an advantage. Adding short-form in? Well, let’s just say you’ll be making a big impact.

Uploading your short-form video to YouTube

Our HTML5 Ad Builder can display your short-form video when your video is uploaded to YouTube. That doesn’t mean you need to start uploading all of your short-forms to your regular YouTube channel. Simply set your video to unlisted, and your embed will work perfectly!

How can you tell if your promotion is working?

Look at your CPM, CPC & YouTube Insights!

Let’s start with some benchmarks:

  • CPM: Cost per 1000 Impressions

  • CPC: Cost per Click

So practically, what’s happening when you spend money on each platform? Let’s pretend we have $100 to spend on each. Based on the benchmarks above, we should see….

Compare the results you get from HTML5 ads, with the results you get from Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram ads. With HTML5 Ads, you’re getting more bang for your buck! If you want your video campaign to pack a real punch, our HTML5 Ad Builder is the answer.

The last thing we want to look at when evaluating your promotion for a video is quality. There are a couple of types of “quality” to evaluate when promoting a video. One is the quality of your video and the other is the quality of the view.

You can use your ad’s click data to evaluate the quality of your video content itself. Did you get more clicks than you’d expect for your spend? That’s a great indicator that what you’re doing is working, and that your content is resonating with potential fans If you’re getting a lot less than you’d expect, you may want to try out a different video to compare results.

If you’re familiar with some of these ads platforms, you may be asking a very important question right now - why aren’t we talking about cost per view?

Many ads companies report a cost per view when you run a video ad. So what is that? It’s simply your spend divided by the number of views on your video. Here’s why we’re not using it:

What constitutes “a view” is different depending on who you ask. All views are not equal!

A “View” can mean anything from “I watched your whole 2-hour live stream” to, “your video automatically started playing with the sound off while I was scrolling”. One of these things is not like the other.

We want to leave the definition of a view to you! That’s where YouTube insights come in. You can see the action on your video, on your YouTube insights page. Look for increased views in your ad target areas, and pay attention to how long people are watching your video. If you want some advice on using your YouTube insights, Sean Armbruster of Camp Hopeless has some great tips! Sean used partner (powered by the ad network & HTML5 ads) to increase his video views, while also driving streams on Spotify.

Pro Tip - I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention - HTML5 Ads have around 50 seconds of watch time with the sound on, creating a better quality view than other ad platforms that force an auto-play.

Making your video content the best it can be

If you haven’t started yet, establish your accounts on Youtube, TikTok, and other video platforms before you begin promoting.

Sending fans to an empty (or almost empty) channel is like sending a crowd into the venue during soundcheck…. They’re not seeing you at your best. Before you do your big announcement, make sure you:

  • Decide on what accounts and formats you can manage

    • TikTok not your thing? That’s OK! Try YouTube or Instagram Reels. Does the idea of editing 15+ minutes of video make you break out in a cold sweat? Focus more on platforms like TikTok where videos under 1 minute are common.

Set up profiles on platforms that you feel comfortable with, and can update regularly. Once you have a few posts under your belt, you can look at expanding into other platforms.

  • Make your profile complete

    • Upload a Profile Picture. Your fans want to know that your account is actually your account. Upload a photo that’s consistent with the rest of your social presence.

    • Write a Compelling Bio. Your accounts provide content for more than just your established fans; it gets discovered by new and prospective fans as well.Make sure your bio communicates who you are, what you do, and why they should care.

    • Get a bio link. If followers don’t know where to buy or stream your music… they’re not going to buy or stream your music! Your bio link should be a single page, that includes links to your artist profile on major platforms like Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube. It should also include extras, like links to your tour dates, merch, and other social profiles.

  • Watch some content

    • Before you start posting, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the unspoken do’s and don’ts of the platform you’re on. Do a little browsing, watch some popular videos, and get a feel for the community.

  • Post some videos

    • Once you get an idea of how people are using the platform, make a few videos. Be authentic and have fun with it. For starters, avoid promo heavy material like “Listen to my song on Spotify”. We’ll get into that later!

If you’re a long-form expert, become an expert in short-form

If you’re already releasing videos in long-form formats, whether those are live streams or YouTube Videos, it’s time to try short-form video. It’ll help expose to your work to an entirely different audience!

So what’s short-form video? Anything under 2 minutes and 30 seconds is considered short-form, with the majority of short-form videos beingless than 60 seconds long.

Find the right length for your platform of choice:

The ideal length for a video varies by platform. For example, the ideal length for a TikTok video is 9-15 seconds, while 30 seconds typically performs best on Instagram.

Don’t reuse too much content

It’s totally fine to repost snippets of your long-form videos on short-form occasionally, but don’t make it the bulk of your content. Your fans want a different experience on a different platform. If they’re getting the same content, they don't have as much incentive to engage.

Get the vibe right

Short-form is all about authenticity and interaction. Big productions with polished effects are great for 20 minutes YouTube videos, but step away from the green screen when making short-form videos. Participating in challenges (or even making your own), encouraging interaction with “Duet this if…” type content, or even just a clip of your cat interrupting your last Zoom call are great ways to let your fans in, and drive even more interest in the process.

Film in portrait

This may sound obvious, but it can be easy to forget, especially if you’re repurposing some content. Short-form is all about portrait mode friends. When in doubt, make it vertical.

If you’ve got it all on lock, it’s time to maximize

If you don’t remember the phrase “Be Kind, Rewind” you’ve probably already got this video thing down. There may just be one little thing to look into…

Add a little polish

I know… I just got done telling the long-form people to not be so polished! I’m not saying you should start filming on a sound stage. It’s easy to let our feeds become an amalgamation of the personal and professional, so now may be a great time to review your previous content and set up separate accounts for you - the person, and you - the musician.

This doesn’t mean you can’t post personal updates on your musician feed or musician updates on your personal feed. Adding that separation can help you create healthy boundaries (we all need them) and give the people the content they want!


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