Cynthia Lam
Jun 19, 2024

The long and short of it: Reaching the right audience at the right time with versatile video formats

YouTube’s Cynthia Lam on how brands can leverage the platform’s strengths in both long- and short-form content to engage audiences at the most opportune moments.

The long and short of it: Reaching the right audience at the right time with versatile video formats

From thrilling livestreams to deep-dive videos and short clips, users today have an explosion of choice when it comes to viewing content. This provides marketers with more avenues to reach consumers, while engaging with the right audience at the right time remains key to keeping viewers tuned in and on the edge of their seats. 

That’s where YouTube’s diversity of formats comes into play. As a long-established platform, YouTube has become an essential source of content for Southeast Asians, with over half of Southeast Asians spending time on YouTube every day. 
Over the years, YouTube has cemented itself as a leader in long-form content — but that all changed with the inception of YouTube Shorts in 2020. Today, Shorts receives 70 billion daily views across the world, with Southeast Asia accounting for five of the top 10 markets globally for Shorts consumption. 
As a leader in both long- and short-form content, we offer brands the ability to engage consumers with big, evocative stories as well as small but memorable moments of connection. But how can marketers tap into the individual strengths of both formats to meet changing viewing trends? 
Our latest third-party research into short-form content has yielded a trove of insights into the ways consumers approach these contrasting yet complementary video formats. Let’s explore some of the key takeaways.
Viewers want the best of both worlds
Long-form and short-form videos are not David and Goliath, but yin and yang — which is to say they don’t compete with each other, but complement one another. Shorts presents viewers with snackable content that’s easy to watch and share, making it a prime vehicle for discovery. But post-discovery, our data shows that viewers turn to long-form content for further information, expert insights, and deep immersion.
This appetite for both long- and short-form is consistent across age groups, including Gen Z. According to our study with Material, 96% of Southeast Asian Gen Zs said they watch both short and long content on YouTube. 
YouTube’s versatility gives marketers a platform to reach consumers in the discovery-to-action mindset, with 60% of surveyed respondents in Southeast Asia saying that Shorts helps them decide what to purchase, 20 points higher than the competitive average.
Giving viewers more of what they love about YouTube
Long-form video content has always had a home on YouTube, but expanding our video universe with Shorts has given people a new way to engage with a platform they already know and love. 
Material’s study revealed just how much users in Southeast Asia appreciate a diversity of viewing experiences. At least 69% of respondents said YouTube allows them to switch between different types of videos within the same platform (42% higher than short-form competitors). 
Additionally, 75% of respondents said that Shorts offers more high-quality content than other short-form video platforms. One Thai Gen Z attributed this quality to the fact that Shorts is “a digest of long-form YouTube, which is trustworthy and quite high quality.”
Our data overwhelmingly shows that Shorts amplifies what people already like about YouTube — its versatility and quality.
Driving incremental results with Long and Shorts
To help marketers leverage YouTube’s dynamic nature, we have now integrated Shorts into all of our AI-powered campaign types, from awareness to consideration and action. 
As a powerful driver of awareness, Shorts can expand your reach and get your message in front of more people.

Adding Shorts to your media mix does not just add incremental results to YouTube campaigns, it has been proven to outperform other short-form video platforms too. In a head-to-head test by Grab and M&C Saatchi Performance, a YouTube Shorts Video Reach Campaign scored higher in all metrics of awareness, in both Singapore and Malaysia, against another short-form video platform.

Though short in duration, Shorts are highly impactful, making them a great fit for consideration
campaigns. During beta testing for Video View Campaigns (VVC), we found that In-Feed and Shorts VVC achieve equal or better consideration than In-Stream cost-per-view (CPV) campaigns. 
In Vietnam, Coca-Cola set up a VVC pilot campaign to maximise views while driving cost efficiency and brand consideration. Their results? A 50% increase in views and a 3.87% lift in consideration, all at 33% lower CPV.
Short clips, long payoff
So how do you leverage your Shorts addition to make a splash? We spent a year analysing ads from leading brands so we could codify creative best practices for Shorts and add them to our ABCDs of effective video ads. In the process, we learnt that the top-performing Shorts ads are unlike other ads on YouTube — so no, they are not just cutdowns of your hero ads. 
Consider Shorts a new, complementary way to communicate the different dimensions of your brand’s humour and personality. Along with the captivating long-form content that has always lived on YouTube, Shorts rounds out the diverse storytelling tools that we offer, enabling you to forge deeper connections with your audience.
As consumer behaviours and the world of video continue to evolve, a strategic approach that embraces both long- and short-form content is no longer a suggestion — it’s the key to unlocking the full potential of YouTube.
1 Google/Material, Power of YouTube Shorts, SEA (Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand), 2024, n=1,806, Ages 13-54, Field Dates: 11/7/23 - 11/22/23
2 Google/ThatFigTree - Why YouTube Matters to APAC Consumers
3 MediaScience, The Power of Adjacency Study, United States, Feb ‘24.

Cynthia Lam, head of video solutions, Google

Campaign Asia

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