The Rise Of Mobile Super-Short Form

Cover image for The Rise Of Mobile Super-Short Form
Photo of Karol Severin
by Karol Severin

iStock_000050154702_MediumGIFs have been around since 1987, Vine popularised the feature case for super-short form content in 2013, but in the last few months it’s been raining super-short form innovation. Recent announcements include iOS Live Photos, Facebook’s GIF profile pictures, Disney Gif or Instagram’s Boomerang, to name a few. Here is our take on why the SuperShort Format (SSF) will thrive in the mobile environment so well and why it is driving many key content stakeholders to play their part:

  • Dynamic over static: Less than a year ago, GiF submissions on Reddit achieved double the amount of upvotes that Picture submissions received. This case illustrates the attention grabbing power of dynamic visuals over static ones in the digital content ecosystem. With SSF content creators now have a content format that performs better than a picture, but remains below the cost and time commitment of producing an average length online video.

  • Bite-sized content: In the digital content environment, SSF fills the gap between static pictures and average-length online videos. SSF solves the problem for mobile consumers who are looking for bite sized pass-times on their favourite social media. Gifs and other forms of SSF will grab the attention of internet users for longer than pictures, but will typically remain considerably shorter than the average video 44 second Facebook video. Thus SSF vastly improves content consumption opportunities for those who want to ‘quickly check their Facebook’, (e.g. less than 45 seconds session).

  • GIFs and other Forms of SSF act as content differentiators: Media content networks are saturated with traditional photos and videos. While GIFs or SSF might resemble a bit of both, they aren’t really either one. In fact, they are almost immediately distinguishable from both content types. Because of their comparative under use, GIFs and Obvious SSF formats will stick out more for users in their feeds. Content providers hope that this will make users pause their ‘feed skimming’ more often before closing the app, and thus add precious seconds to their average session lengths.

GIFs and SSF thrive in the mobile environment and are a great way for content strategies to add yet another attention grabber for their users to engage with.

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