8-Second Attention Spans and Short Videos: The Future of Video-First Marketing

The average American adult’s attention span is a staggering 8.25 seconds. In an era of goldfish-esque attention spans, short videos have emerged as a powerful marketing tool. These concise visual stories, typically under a minute long, have become a part of our daily lives and are now an essential means for businesses to connect with their audiences. Let’s dive into the world of short videos, explore how they can boost businesses, and understand why many brands choose to host these videos directly on their websites.

Video is Eating the World

In 2022, 86% of internet traffic was consumed by video streaming. A large proportion is undoubtedly allocated to short videos. They are a perfect fit for our rapidly shrinking attention spans, and many businesses agree. TikTok’s viral challenges and Instagram Reels’ quick showcases have made short videos a go-to source of entertainment and information, and YouTube introduced its own version with YouTube Shorts. The introduction of short videos (Instagram Reels, Facebook Shorts) has even boosted Meta’s Q2’s financials by a staggering $10 billion.

Video-First Commerce: Shopping on Video

Short videos are not just for amusement; they’re driving commerce. Businesses are integrating commerce technology into these videos, making it easy for viewers to buy products they see. Features like “swipe-up” links and interactive elements turn these videos into sales channels. TikTok Shop’s debut on Sept. 12, 2023 in the U.S. market will drive seismic changes in consumption habits, as proven by its success in Southeast Asia and China (via Douyin).

Knowing Your Audience Matters

To make the most of short videos, you must know your target audience from the get-go. Short videos leave no room for vague messaging. Understanding your audience’s interests and preferences is key to creating content that resonates.


This is why metrics like conversion rates, click-through rates and return on investment (ROI) are vital for evaluating short video effectiveness. Qualitative feedback from your audience is equally essential for insights into their preferences.

Having these insights at hand can help brands design video and marketing campaigns targeted at a business’ specific audience, as well as provide continuous feedback enabling businesses to adapt when needed, where needed.

Swipeable Content: Short Videos on the Open Web

Many brands are opting to host short videos on their owned digital properties (websites/apps). The aim is to transform typically text- and image-based websites and apps into “Swipeable Video Media” experiences, allowing the consumer to scroll through branded video content and increasing time spent on site by 300%.

This gives them full control over content, eliminates distractions and creates a cohesive brand experience. Users stay in the brand’s ecosystem, potentially boosting engagement and conversions. The collection of first-party data also is a key consideration for businesses, especially with the permanent removal of third-party cookies by Google Chrome in 2024.

Video-First Marketing is Here to Stay

Video-first marketing, driven by the rapid distribution and popularity of short videos, will continue to be a mainstay in viewing habits for not only American but global consumers. With its ability to convey messages effectively, evoke emotions, and foster genuine connections, video-first marketing enriches storytelling and enhances brand visibility and engagement. 

In this age of short attention spans and information overload, video’s immersive and persuasive storytelling will continue to reshape marketing strategies, ensuring its enduring relevance in the dynamic world of digital marketing.

Kenneth Tan is Co-founder and CEO of BeLive Technology, which employs advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning developed specifically for live video analysis, live commerce, shoppable short videos and interactive livestreaming. Tan grew up in Singapore and studied at Nanyang Polytechnic, earning a diploma in digital media design. Prior to creating BeLive Technology, Tan landed the opportunity to work for startup video game publisher Nubee. Following this experience, he joined Tokyo Listed DeNA Co. Ltd. as Director of Product, and in his two years there released multiple AppStore-featured products. While with DeNA, he was first exposed to livestreaming video as one of the startups DeNA invested in, Showroom, was gaining massive success in Japan. Shortly after, Tan decided to return to Singapore permanently to explore the possibility of scaling a livestreaming business in Southeast Asia.

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