Table of contents
Length restrictions: 3-60 seconds
Facebook had almost 3 billion users worldwide at the beginning of 2023 — the most out of any social media platform in the world (followed by YouTube with 2.2 billion, WeChat with 2 billion, and Instagram with 2 billion). And its users, thanks to a little help from Facebook’s algorithm, have adopted Facebook Reels with open arms. A launch in September 2021 made Reels a bit late to short-form video, but it’s been keeping pace with the competition ever since. Facebook now sees around 140 billion plays on Reels on a daily basis. Tapping into that large community can help you reach a wider audience.
But let’s consider that audience for a moment. While it’s still the most ubiquitous platform, Facebook is not as popular with younger audiences as it once was. According to Sprout Social, only 32% of surveyed teens reported using Facebook (down from 71% in 2014–2015). Currently, the largest age group on Facebook globally is between 24 and 35 years of age. Take the age of your audience into account before jumping in.
Length restrictions: 3-60 seconds
YouTube is the second-most utilized social platform after Facebook with approximately 2 billion users every year. It has been mainly known for long-form, horizontal video content since its launch in 2005. In 2020, YouTube launched YouTube Shorts — a short-form, vertical video offering that mimicked Facebook Reels and TikTok.
If you already have a YouTube channel, chances are you’ve posted long-form videos. YouTube Shorts can give that content a second life. Edit it down within the time frame, resize it, and voila. New content. Users who find you through YouTube Shorts and subscribe are also automatically subscribed to your long-form videos. This makes YouTube Shorts an excellent way to get noticed by users you might not reach with long-form videos alone.
It just might take some work to convert your current followers. YouTube has traditionally catered to audiences looking for long-form video content, so you might find it difficult to catch the eyes of your current followers at first. If your audience seems resistant to short-form video, it could be because they specifically go to YouTube looking for longer, more in-depth videos.
Length restrictions: 15–90 seconds
Because Facebook and Instagram are both owned by Meta, you can share your reels to both platforms simultaneously by linking your accounts. If you’re using both platforms to target your audience, being able to repurpose your content for both platforms is a great way to maximize the ROI and life span of your creative assets. Facebook and Instagram Reels also have the same 1080x1920 sizing requirements as TikTok videos, making it easy to share the same videos on TikTok (if they fit within TikTok’s time restrictions).
Just be prepared to tackle one tough algorithm. Other platforms tend to be more transparent about the inner workings of their systems, publicly sharing what types of content they are likely to prioritize. Instagram, on the other hand, is very secretive about their algorithm. That can mean headaches for creators and brands. You’ll need to be prepared to test videos with multiple types of content, audio, themes, and lengths in order to learn what works. Unfortunately, Instagram also makes frequent changes to their algorithm, which means the testing is never truly done.
Length restrictions: under 10 minutes
TikTok has exploded in popularity in the past five years, especially among younger audiences. A statistic report showed that 70% of 18- to 19-year-olds have a TikTok account, and nearly 50% of 20- to 39-year-olds are on the platform as well. If you’re looking to target a younger audience, they’re likely waiting in higher numbers on TikTok than any other platform.
The challenge of TikTok is finding the right cadence. TikTok demands consistent new content, and the platform itself recommends 1 to 4 posts per day to see success from your channel. While it’s not uncommon for a platform to reward you for consistently publishing new content, TikTok’s entire formatting is uniquely built around the “For You” page. You’ll need to regularly push out content to stay at the top of new users’ feeds. Keep this workload in mind as you’re planning your social media strategy to ensure you see maximum ROI.
Tackling all the latest forms of video marketing at once might be tempting, but the best video marketing strategies carefully weigh the strengths of each platform. Use the ample number of options to your advantage, and remember to ask yourself: “Who is my audience, where is my audience, and which types of communication do they prefer?” Learning the answers early will set you up for long-term success when it comes to short-form video content.
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