How To Promote Your Music Video Using Short Format Vertical Video

Promote your music video with a vertical short format video like TikTok or Reels or YouTube Shorts.

Are music videos moving from landscape/horizontal orientation and long format to portrait/vertical orientation and short format? Perhaps… heres how to promote your music video using short format vertical video

Over the last few years we have seen more and more video formats taking over that are vertical. First the Snapchat & the Instagram Story, then IGTV, and now Tik/Tok and Reels.

I remember when Instagram first announced Stories and IGTV with their vertical, screen filling formats, My videographer friends were livid! “So we have to start making vertical videos, when we’ve been taught to make videos horizontal for TV and laptop screens?”

Unfortunately yes. You can try resist but I’m afraid the vertical video format is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable.

The fact is that more and more people view content using a phone these days, and only a few people will bother to flip the phone to watch your video horizontally full screen, so you are typically left with huge spaces above and below when you are promoting your music video on your socials. 

Video content is taking over social media. You need an understanding of what type of content to share, and where to share it.

  1. IG Feed – Video under 1 min (size 4:5 or 1:1) 
  2. IGTV – Video above 1 min (vertical & horizontal)
  3. Story – 15 sec (Vertical) 
  4. Reels/Tik-Tok – 30 sec (Vertical) 
  5. Youtube Feed – unlimited (Horizontal) 
  6. Youtube Short Videos – 60 sec (Vertical) 

Different Videos For Different Purposes 

It is important to have an understanding of how people consume different types of videos. The shorter, vertical videos are perfect to use to drive awareness as they are short, attention grabbing and to the point.

Generally, our collective attention span is decreasing rapidly with the explosion of platforms such as Snapchat, Tik Tok, Reels and other short video formats.

With this in mind, it is important for musicians to really take advantage of this and use shorter video formats the right way.

The people who will watch your longer IGTV videos or Youtube videos will usually already be a fan, or they’re a follower whose attention you have caught and is looking for more from you.

It is much harder to convince a stranger to stick around for 3 minutes if they know nothing about you. However, they’re much more likely to give you 15-30 seconds of their time. 

That is not to say that all your content should be short form video content. Your loyal fans still want a deeper connection with your brand or your music.

This is what you use the long form video content for; to convert followers to fans. So the long form, horizontal music video is still an important type of content; but you also need to embrace the short form, vertical video to grab strangers’ attention.

Where To Host Your Video

The first decision you make when “distributing” the music video is where do you want people to watch it? Beyonce’s last video was uploaded on many channels such as Youtube, IGTV, Facebook etc.

The number of views on IGTV were far higher than on Youtube, but IGTV is much more difficult to monetize, especially for smaller, more independent artists.

You may want to try and get people to move from Instagram to Youtube so you can make money from your music video, but by doing this you are adding an additional obstacle in the digital journey of your fan. 

It’s also the everlasting struggle of getting the most views on your video as it looks better for the public. As we are not Beyonce after all, who immediately will get millions of views – musicians are faced with a few thousands spread across channels. It may be that 100,000 viewed your video but distributed on all the different channels, the numbers don’t look as impressive from the “outside looking in”.

The way people are usually exposed to your music video is most likely through you sharing a clip of it on your feed or story somewhere else.

If someone sees this content and wants to watch the full video, they would watch it right there and then, if it’s directly on the platform. If not they will have to leave to go over to Youtube. 

Use The Short Form Video To Promote The Long Form Video 

So let’s say you have just finished your music video and want to promote this to a bigger audience than just to your followers. We now know that it’s easier to use the vertical short video format to get awareness before they take the step to watch a longer form video. 

So how can you use the vertical short form video to promote the long form video. 

  1. First, take an excerpt from the music video (preferably the catchiest part) but you edit this in a vertical format. Use most of the screen here. This will be a 15 second Story Ad that we will set up. The great thing about story ads is that they are automatically played with sound ON. This is not the case for Feed Ads. 
  2. You should then target this Ad to a niche segment. (I have covered how to create some fan personas here before you target your ads).
  3. We will should then create a 30 second Ad in a feed format (after the full short form video) 
  4. From there, target this ad to anyone who watched the full short form video

If you need specialist help with your ads, the Smart Launch Club is the place to be. There are lots of resources specifically for musicians launching music, and you’ll have hands-on help from me and a community of pros. 

Alternatively, if you’re interested in having your ads run, and personalised help with the content to make sure it is optimised to the fullest, get in touch today and my agency can handle this for you without any stress.

Capturing Interest

If you are capturing peoples’ interest with a short form video, your song will play repetitively to your target audience.

We will then target the people who have seen this short video further with the longer form video and get them to move over to Youtube to watch the full video, hopefully.

We all know the power of repetition of viral audio after the explosion of Tik Tok. If you get thousands of content creators to create a video for a 15-30 sec snippet of your song, this will eventually result in streams on Spotify.

The more repeats the better. These Tik Tok songs have been drilled deep down in our brain;(ok, I may be skewed as I have an 8 year old son “I’m a savage, crazy, bouji, rachet”). 

By setting up Ads first using the short form video format and then moving them over to longer form video, you are creating awareness in a format that is easier and more effective. You can then optimize this by targeting further to the people who have already viewed the content. 

This way there is more chance of them watching the long form video. We want them to watch the FULL music video and get the FULL experience. That’s a commitment even though it’s only ~3 minutes long. 

Quite often when promoting the full video to a cold audience, you will see a higher drop off rate as they’re not ready to be exposed. Then you’re just paying Instagram for the click with a bad drop off! 

So when you edit your music video, start thinking about vertical format and create some 15-30 seconds long vertical videos.

This can easily be a Reels or Tik/Tok or it can be a Story ad that you set up. These short form clips will be used to drive awareness to the song and video. This will then build up incentive to go and check out the full video. 

The funnel strategy

The same strategy can also be used if you are promoting a single on Spotify/Beatport. By first creating some short form video content with 15 seconds of your song, you’re starting to build awareness amongst a cold audience. After this you can then retarget with another ad which will take them over to listen to the full song. 

So if you have the funnel in mind the first step is awareness/attraction. So let’s look at how the funnel would look for your single on Spotify or music video on Youtube.

In order to move someone from the awareness stage to the transaction stage (where they go and listen to the song) you may need between 7-14 interactions. The short form video formats are a great way to get lots of people aware.

By using ads and repeating this, you’re adding the interactions needed in order to move them over to your specified music platform.

The interactions should move from short form to longer form the deeper you go in the funnel. 


The vertical video format is taking over – it’s incredibly important to build awareness around your music with TikTok and Reels. Short format videos FTW.

Musicians also need to start embracing this format as a whole in their marketing plan. The more awareness you can create, the more people will get into your funnel. Then through content marketing, engagement and ads – begin to move people down the transaction stage – leading to eventual superfans.



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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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