Are You Doing This in Your Short Form Video Campaigns?


How can brands blend experiential marketing and influencer marketing in short-form video campaigns? Better yet, how can they do it when the world hasn’t fully opened back up from the COVID-19 pandemic? With platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels, it’s more than possible. 


There are a plethora of ways that you can have influencer partners incorporate short-form video with the virtual and in-person experiences you collaborate on. 


Traditional Marketing: No Longer the “Popular” Medium 

The New York Times predicted “dangerous days for advertisers” just in 2018. Now that the web has taken over and receives the bulk of consumer attention, the cost of traditional marketing has greatly increased due to the rising difficulty of gaining impressions through traditional advertising. [1]


We are truly in a digital-first era, where internet marketing reigns supreme in the latest marketing trends. One trend that has blown up in popularity? Experiential marketing. This marketing strategy involves the use of multi-sensory events or experiences to attract consumers and form a connection without pushing sales. 


Most experiential marketing campaigns are brand-sponsored with the brand’s products and services as the plug. The end goal is to turn experiential guests into tried and true customers. The benefit of experiential marketing is that this advertising medium makes it easier for brands to stand out from the crowd. Experiences effectively bridge the gap between consumers and brands in establishing long-term relationships.


Consumers will always remember a great experience. More often than not, the consumer’s first impression of a brand is based on experience—whether it’s customer service, your website and online presence, or in-person interactions. Thus, positive experiences provide a means to greater trust in a brand. 

Experiential & Influencer Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven

Word of mouth drives a lot of consumers’ buying decisions these days, and consumers don’t base purchases solely off of the opinions of people they know. Influencer endorsements also play a role. 


Entrepreneur shared a study revealing that 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of others about a brand, even if they don’t personally know them. [2]  


Brands have caught on to this, and as a result, have incorporated influencer marketing heavily into their overall marketing efforts. In 2017, marketers boasted an average annual budget of $570 million on Instagram influencer campaigns. [3] That number has only increased over time. 


It’s no secret that influencers are the new celebrities where marketers are concerned. Gone are the days of solely having to depend on actors, actresses, super models, and athletes for endorsements. While celebrities still have the most starpower, social media influencers have proven to brands that they’re just as valuable.


If you want to get a ton of buzz from an experiential marketing campaign, make it buzzworthy and invite social media influencers that align with your brand to collaborate. Experiential marketing wouldn’t be what it is without influencers—whether virtually or in-person. 


Collaborating with influencers who have high amounts of engaged followers, and whose interests align with your brand can only lead to a massive return-on-investment with your campaign. In this way, the marriage between influencer and experiential marketing is a true recipe for success. One person who gets this is Queen Bey herself: Beyoncé, one of the best marketing geniuses out there. 


Whenever a new launch of her Ivy Park Collection arrives, gift boxes with the collection are sent to the who’s who in Hollywood, as well as social media influencers. These aren’t just little boxes, either. 


Last year, celebrity recipients were gifted with life-size, orange wardrobe trunks that were big enough to fit all of the pieces of her Ivy Park x Adidas collection inside–clothing rack and all. The unboxing was a full-out experience for those who got the box. 


Many of the influencer and celebrity recipients shared live (or reenactment) videos of them opening their boxes on social media. Everyone and their mother in the entertainment industry wanted one. 


We witnessed A-list celebrities—from Kim Kardashian West to Reese Witherspoon—going crazy over these boxes upon delivery. The fact that they made it such a big deal contributed to this campaign’s colossal success, so much that it sold out in a weekend. [4] 


Thanks to influencers and their documentation of the unboxing experience, that collection received more publicity than a traditional advertising campaign could ever provide. Much like the Popeye’s chicken sandwich craze that had customers lining up on the streets for months once again, thanks to influencers. 


The Digital Marketing Institute’s 2019 study reported that influencer marketing campaigns witnessed a 6.5 to 1 return-on-investment compared to PPC marketing’s 2 to 1 ROI. [5]


What works with influencer marketing has also evolved over the years. Influencers are no longer just limited to taking photos with their products. This form of content also doesn’t get the most engagement anymore. In fact, the head of Instagram recently announced that it is no longer a photo sharing app. [6] Advancements in technology (along with the success of short-form video) have put video marketing on top.


Experiential marketing and influencer marketing go hand in hand in the new video landscape. In many ways, the market is shifting away from traditional video marketing and instead towards short-form video. When we say short-form video, we mean videos with a maximum length of two minutes.

The Big Deal About Short-Form Video 

When sharing an experience on social media, photos alone won’t do it justice. As influencers get to enjoy the full-body, multi-sensory experiences your brand offers, their followers want to catch a glimpse too. There’s no better way to drive engagement with an experiential marketing campaign than with video. Livestream and short-form video both perform extremely well for these types of campaigns.


Short-form video has forever changed the way that social media users consume and process content. It is well-known that millennials and Gen Z have shorter attention spans compared to other generations, explaining why they flocked to short-form video platform TikTok in droves. They are (by far) the largest consumers of short-form video for information and entertainment. In a study released by Snap in 2020, 7 in 10 individuals who identify as millennial or Gen Z preferred shorter videos than longer ones. [7]


The platforms that are dominating short-form video right now? TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. You can easily incorporate short-form video into your experiential/influencer marketing campaigns by working with influencers who heavily use these platforms. 


Remember Vine? The now-defunct social media platform that was famous for its viral 6-second videos? It’s not too long ago that Twitter acquired Vine and shut it down for good back in 2017. [8] That only made room for TikTok to come in and steal its shine. 


That same year, TikTok was introduced to the world. Fast forward to 2021 and it has completely turned the social media world upside down. With more than 1.1 billion users, TikTok has become one of the largest social media platforms out there. It’s the platform that made short-form video the big deal that it is today. 


During the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok challenges were the distraction that all social media users needed from the chaos going on in the world. 


There aren’t many TikTok challenges that don’t go viral, like rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s Savage Challenge where the song, accompanied by choreography, was utilized in over 30 million TikTok videos that collectively received billions of views. [9]


Most (if not all) TikTok challenges have received invigorating responses from participants and viewers alike. As a result of TikTok’s success, platforms like YouTube and Instagram quickly jumped on the short-form video bandwagon to ride its coattails. However, TikTok is still the leading platform for short-form video. 


It also won the title of the most downloaded app worldwide in 2020. [10] On average, TikTok users spend 52 minutes on the platform per day. [11] 

Instagram Reels

With Reels, Instagram did the best job in attempting to re-duplicate TikTok’s short-form video format. Reels are 15-30-second clips that their algorithms are favoring more than any other form of content right now. Creators have a  greater chance of their Reels being featured on Instagram’s explore page than regular photos. 


Like TikTok, Instagram users are able to add music and subtitles to their Reels. They generally auto-play from one video to the next as users watch. Instagram successfully emulated Snapchat’s Snaps feature with their rollout of Stories in 2016. Now, they have done it again with Reels. 

YouTube Shorts

In 2021, YouTube launched its own version of a short-form video feature with YouTube Shorts (in the United States). It previously made a debut in India while in beta testing. 


Shorts has a maximum video length of 15 seconds and provides similar editing capabilities to TikTok—like the ability to compile multiple video clips into one, adjust video speeds, and incorporate hands-free music. Users can also discover YouTube Shorts on their Explore feeds.


Although the editing options are there, Shorts is still limited in terms of its features overall. There are no collaborative features available to Shorts users, like TikTok Duets. Their algorithms also aren’t advanced enough to allow users to curate their own feeds. Of course, we know that YouTube is owned by Google, and that Google isn’t done making tweaks to a product that’s in beta mode until they’re tweaked to perfection.

Snapchat Spotlight

Snapchat has been making efforts to bounce back since Instagram stole its thunder with  Stories. However, it seems that they’ve learned from their counterparts on the effectiveness of taking cues from each other on what’s performing well, and finding ways to capitalize off of those trends. 


Just recently, Snapchat revealed that their revenue has experienced a 116% jump in the past year. They’ve also seen a 23% increase in daily average users. [12]


Snapchat now has its own short-form video feature by the name of Snapchat Spotlight. It appears to be another effort to gain a larger competitive advantage in the social media industry. They came in strong by attaching income-generating incentives to the feature. Daily monetization opportunities were made available to Snapchat creators who utilized it. For a time, Snapchat gave $1 million a day in prize money to those who created the highest-performing Spotlight clips on the app (based on view counts). 


In February 2021, more than 125 million Snapchat users flocked to use Spotlight. [13] The only downside with Spotlight is that Snapchat has barred brands from being able to capitalize off of this feature with sponsored content. 


It has also been reported that creators are ditching Spotlight for its competitors. They haven’t held true to their promises for sizable creator monetization with their newly restructured payout program. [14] The new program favors creators with niche communities over those who bring in high amounts of video engagement alone. It kind of blurred the lines on who gets paid what. 


Snapchat also ceased all efforts with their $1 million a day initiative for Spotlight creators. Now that the money isn’t what it was before, creators are jumping ship.


The Best Strategies for Including Influencer & Experiential Marketing in Your Short-Form Campaigns

When thinking about ways to merge influencer and experiential marketing with short-form videos content, it’s best to focus on experiences that make the most sense and can’t be altered, including virtual reality, virtual store environments, direct-to-consumer experiences, and offline experiences. 


In the era of COVID-19, of course, virtual reigns supreme. 


The technology that defines where we’re headed is virtual reality, which will allow brands to seamlessly incorporate physical products and brands into a digital experience.


We can’t sleep on in-person experiences, however. Experiential events provide the perfect opportunity for the creation of user-generated content. An influencer’s attendance at an experiential event serves as a major endorsement to your brand, and a nod to their audiences that your brand can be trusted. 


The best experiential influencer marketing campaigns involve influencers before, during, and after the experience. This way, influencers can give their followers some behind-the-scenes pre- and post-experience action in addition to what’s happening in the moment. An example of pre-event content includes a social media countdown leading up to the experience. In terms of post-event content, influencers can simply debrief their followers on their thoughts of the experience with video recaps.


The use of a collective hashtag while promoting an experience also provides a sense of community consumers and your brand. When influencers utilize these hashtags, it only creates greater publicity to a campaign. There are tasteful ways to implement hashtags in both virtual experiences and in-person events. The fact that hashtags are trackable will also help you get a feel for the engagement numbers.  


Brands have learned over time that it’s better to develop relationships with influencers well before they need them for campaigns–experiential marketing ones, especially. Whether hosting an influencer-only event or an experience where the general public is welcome, bringing on influencers is the right move for the purpose of generating brand awareness with their followers. 


Micro Influencers vs. Macro Influencers 

The use of both micro and macro influencers can be beneficial for your influencer marketing efforts. Micro influencers have a total of 50,000 followers or less, while macro influencers have an estimated 500,000 followers or more. [15]


While macro influencers tend to generate the biggest buzz with their larger followings, micro influencers are just as much of an asset since they have a greater pull with locals and/or your brand’s niche. 


Most macro influencers tend to have broader audiences with a variety of different interests. Micro influencers, on the other hand, can add more depth to the amount of engagement your campaign receives with their highly-targeted following. They are oftentimes a lot more affordable as well.


Final Thoughts 

There are many tried-and-true ways that you can integrate influencers and immersive experiences with short-form video marketing. When you’re ready to create the perfect plan between the two with your marketing efforts, Hire Influence can help make it happen.