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Micro videos or gifs

When shorter is better - go big with micro-content

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What is it?

Micro-videos are the most snackable content out there: super short clips optimised for sharing, most often distributed in GIF format.


The exact definition of a micro-video varies, with the strictest definition setting a cap at 15
seconds, while others consider everything of less than five minutes to be ‘micro’.


What everyone will agree on is that they cater to our micro attention spans as we browse social feeds, seeking a quick fix of entertainment.

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Why do you need it?

Statistics show how quickly video view rates drop after the first few seconds.


But before we start decrying how little time that leaves to develop our messages, let’s consider that we might do ourselves a favour by getting to the point quickly: when trying to put things simply, we often discover that less is more.


As a rule of thumb, your videos should be as short as you can possible make them without losing the message.


Micro-videos are your best bet if you want to make sure the audience gets to the end of them.


If you are creating a pre-roll ad for YouTube or an Instagram story for example, they are in fact the only available option as 15 or 30 seconds maximum lengths are mandatory for these formats.

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What will it look like?

We may not realise it but most of us see dozens of micro-videos every day, even without intensive social media use: we receive them in WhatsApp groups; we see them on large multimedia screens as we wait for the metro; we wait out ‘unskippable ads’ before getting to our selected YouTube content.


What you will best remember about them is their essence: a punchline, or its visual equivalent.


Tips for a successful micro-video:


  • One message at a time. Don’t try to tick too many boxes – focus on the (most important) message you want to deliver, and stick to it.


  • Simplify without dumbing down. This goes hand-in-hand with point one: sticking to your key message will help you deliver it clearly and quickly. To communicate it in a way that sticks, strip it to its core – you can do that by trial and error: check what you can remove and still be understood.


  • Pack a punch. A recipient of a GIF or other micro-content expects the unexpected. Find a way to deliver it – through a joke, a fun fact, a play on words, a surprising twist to a known story, or a compelling call-to-action. At a visual level, hard contrasts and flashes will do the job, just like neon lights or promo signs in shops.


  • Make them stop and think – then pause to share. If your micro-video gets passed on, its effect will multiply. Make it shareable by delivering more than a self-serving message.
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