Video 'short-shorts': A good fit for marketing?

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Last month, the popular photo-sharing service Instagram, owned by Facebook Inc., sent a shiver through the social media world when it added short-form video to its service. The move put Instagram's 15-second video clips in direct competition with the other short-form video service, Twitter Inc.'s 6-second Vine program. According to Internet marketing analytics company Marketing Land, Vine shares of videos dropped almost 40% in a single day after Instagram launched its video service. There's no doubt that Twitter is a popular channel for businesses, but opinions are divided as to whether short-short videos (less than 30 seconds) are useful for b-to-b marketers. “There's absolutely a use for this,” said Debra Bouchegnies, a social media strategist and consultant at Kitterman Marketing Group. “This tool is like any other tool. The marketers who are going to get attention and build relationships are those who can find interesting ways to use these new tools. It shows you're creative. It makes a statement about the business.” Short videos are also useful for gaining organic search attention, since Google rewards videos with high placements in query results. “Using these kinds of videos is a huge signal to businesses and entrepreneurs that video is where it's at,” said Charlie Seymour Jr., a partner at the Video Marketing Guys. Seymour compared these short videos to “billboards in the sky” that “point you somewhere else.” They would be useful for branding or for in-the-moment campaigns such as trade shows or exhibits where marketers want to communicate quickly and effectively with targets, he said. While Twitter is well-entrenched, it's hard to find any companies using either its Vine app or of Facebook's Instagram for marketing campaigns. “I'm not a fan of Instagram and Vine for b-to-b,” said Bob Leonard, president of content marketing agency acSellerant, Sarasota, Fla. “Six and 15 seconds are not enough time. You might be able to do a branding campaign, but it's my experience that it's not effective.” Leonard, who specializes in video marketing and hosts a b-to-b video marketing group on LinkedIn, said it's possible to use short videos of two minutes effectively, but not those that are much shorter. “These [b-to-b offerings] are complex products and services,” Leonard said. “A video needs to tell a story; it needs to make a value proposition. If you're selling to a CTO, a quick branding message in six seconds is basically meaningless.” There is one scenario, however, in which Leonard said he could see a possible use for short-short videos. “The only way I see it working is if you were to create a series,” Leonard said. “You could create a series of cliffhangers. Is it doable? I don't know. Maybe Steven Spielberg could do it.”
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