Quality is what we pursue.

Content in the mobile Era: Long Form or Short Form?

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Last Updated on 8 months by William

With Google’s ‘mobilegeddon’ update still new in the memory, you’d not be wrong for assuming that responsive design is the be-all and end-all of digital marketing in the mobile era. Nevertheless, it’s not the only thing you should be thinking about, really, as the content is equally important.

The summary of it

As Smartphones and tablets begin to take over the world, the way users view and access content changes. The rulebook is now open for revision, and every site owner’s lips have one central question: ‘long-form or short-form?

The meanings of the long and short form vary based on which ‘expert’ you consult and for the sake of this post. We will use the former for anything over 750 words – this is the simple rule of thumb that our content specialists are focusing on. In the absence of a simple answer, it’s worth looking at the pros and cons of both choices, and that’s just what we’re going to do, beginning with the long-form.

Long-Form Content

Pros:

Display your authority: content is one way to show your visitor that you know what you’re doing, and in theory, the more detailed you are in your content, the more knowledge you can demonstrate.

Please Google: Google appreciates in-depth content, and it has a ranking mechanism called panda, which is dedicated to promoting it in the ranking. Although this doesn’t mean that bigger is better – quality still trumps quantity anytime. However, details are a significant part of the process.

It’s sharable: the truth is, there is a misconception that only shot form content is likely to get shared online. However, according to several types of research, that is not true. For example, according to BuzzSumo’s study, they discovered articles with a length of 3000 to 10,000 words get shared almost twice as much as those with less than 1000 comments. It is even more likely among mobile users who can share social media, email, SMS, and several other channels just using a tap button.

Cons

Writing content takes time: Even as it takes more time to consume long-form content, it takes twice or even much more time to write them. If long form content is going to be insightful enough to benefit the reader, you will have take the time to research the content properly before writing. Padding it out with fluff is never a smart move.

Writing demands concentration: The attention span of consumers is getting shorter these days, and while most are online all the time, their time tends to be spent switching between various websites and apps. The idea of spending five minutes reading a text-heavy piece on a small screen, then, can lack appeal. The idea must be concise from the start that the content has something of value to offer.

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Less Suited to mobile Screen: If you’re sitting down to get through a 3,000-word medium post, you’re going to want a decent screen on which to read it. Although mobile screens are growing in both size and efficiency, not everyone has the newest technologies yet, so you might theoretically isolate certain web users.

Short-Form Content

Pros

It is easily scanned: Most mobile users often tend to browse websites before they read full articles. Thanks to the touch screen technology, it’s quicker than ever to get through pages in the search result pages for attention–hooking content. Short-form content stands out and requires less attention, which means that it’s more likely to be picked up by these people.

Easier to write: As highlighted before, quality must precede quantity. But there’s certainly no doubt that it takes less time and effort to produce a piece titled ‘best five hot hatches’ than writing a whitepaper on the impact of internet connectivity on the motoring industry. This implies that you will be able to post regularly, ad more quickly too. And this is perfect for mobile users who check their phones for new content every five minutes.

Repurposing is quick: if a fast, ‘how to’ guide performed so well in the past year. It’s relatively easy to use the format and make similar content relevant to today’s audience. You can even start an ongoing series to capitalize on the success. This doesn’t work so well with long-form articles.

Cons

Less engagement: reading takes up time. So if your content is 450 words long, it will take approximately 90 seconds to consume your content; they might well start looking elsewhere at the point. If it takes 1200 words long, then it will take around 180 seconds, and that’s double the time on your website.

Lacking in-depth information: An article of only 400 words won’t be able to cover everything; hence it’s a pretty bad idea making short articles for the sake of it. Instead, you should include everything you think your readers should know. Providing value should always be your priority.

Easily copied: Just as short-form content is easy to produce, it’s also easy to replicate for others as well. For example, an easy to digest ‘top five’ content might inspire a hundred clones if it has done well. Meanwhile, a lengthy e-book will be unique to your business and brand.

So which should you opt for?

Let’s face it; there isn’t any winner as we can see that both styles of content have their benefits and disadvantage. Thus, your content churning strategy should include a mix of both, with the word count dictated only by what’s necessary to get your message across to the reader effectively.

Conclusion

With all this in mind, it is essential to remember that the Smartphone revolution has by no means weakened the impact of long-form content. Smartphone screens are becoming more prominent and more transparent with every new update. Their customers have more patience than many have attributed – providing, of course, the offer information has real meaning and perspective. As a result, the market for in-depth posts is very much vibrant.

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