What is the Ideal Length of Video?

Play the Long Game or Keep it Snappy?

Video has evolved: no longer just a fraction of your overall content strategy, it’s now a powerhouse and a necessity, featuring in numerous content marketing campaigns and factoring into key components of training and development.

There’s a simple reason video’s so ubiquitous: people love it!

Video’s a high performer no matter the platform.  YouTube racks up one billion hours of global viewing each day, Facebook accounted for 24.5% of all digital video ad spending in 2018, and cord-cutters are becoming the norm instead of the exception.

It’s no big secret that video’s rapid ascension to the top of Content Mountain isn’t slowing down anytime soon. But a few little secrets can help you capitalize on the videos showcased in your strategy.

One hot topic is video length.

Is it true that as digital consumption increases, attention spans are decreasing— do you really only have 2.7 seconds or less to engage your viewers?! With instantaneous options like Instastories and Snapchat capturing audiences left and right, it can seem that way. Will viewers really keep watching beyond a minute? After all, 75% of videos today are around 2 minutes or less.

The answer to the question “how long should my video be?” is nuanced.

The short version? “It depends.”

For the longer version, read on.

1.  For instant engagement, be tactical about what viewers see first.

It doesn’t matter if your video is 34 seconds or 34 minutes long: if the content doesn’t look compelling, it won’t get clicked on in the first place. You need a striking thumbnail that serves as a standalone call to action. Use a thumbnail to call out your brand, hint at the subject matter of the video, and make viewers want to learn more.

Be just as thoughtful about the hashtags, captions, and social media posts associated with your video—it’s all about getting viewers to actually press play.

2. For continued engagement, tell a story.

Season 8 of Game of Thrones includes episodes ranging from 54 to 82 minutes. Do you think HBO is concerned that watchers streaming online will click away after 2 minutes? Spoiler alert: Nope! They’re seriously invested in the storyline.

You don’t have to be George R.R. Martin to tell a good story. You just need to ensure you’re telling a story that your audience wants to hear.  Define a pain point up front, build your story around the solution, and emphasize a call to action not just at the end of the video, but all throughout the story. 

3. For ongoing engagement, tailor your videos to each platform.

Platforms like Twitter and Instagram cap videos at a maximum length (140 seconds and 60 seconds, respectively), so those videos need to be short and sweet.

Other platforms have developed best practices based on metrics and analytics—on those platforms, you can also leverage those stats to help you evaluate success on a video by video basis. And since 89% of business-related video views are happening on the desktop (compared to 11% on mobile), consider how your story plays out if someone’s watching with the sound off.

The long and short of it?

Successful videos are successful not because they clock in at a specific length, but because they tap into the brain. Captivate with great visuals up front; draw your viewer in further with an intriguing narrative; customize your content to fit each platform; concoct a killer call to action.

TruScribe visualizes words, ideas, and stories to change how people see, think, and act. If you have a project in mind or want to learn more, get in touch.