Your Video: How Long is too Long?


Our social feeds are increasingly filled with engaging images and video, and our attention spans are growing increasingly shorter, so how do you make sure that your video content is seen by the largest amount of people and more than that, how do you hold their attention once they’ve clicked ‘play’ so that they make it all the way to the call to action at the end?

Clients will often say they would like a video that is 3 minutes long? Our first question is “why?” The ideal length of a video is as long as it takes to get your messages across, but not too long that you lose the interest of your viewer. That could be 10 seconds or it could be 5 minutes. The most important thing to think is that duration does not equal value for money. Conversions and engagement equals value for money.

What’s the Video For?

It’s important to always think upfront about what you want people to do once they’ve watched your video. Is it like a TV commercial, where it’s as much about raising awareness as it is about driving sales? Is it a teaser video to get people to visit your website from social media? Is it Is it a documentary about your company’s history and social mission or explainer animation about your software or platform for use at the consideration stage of the sales funnel? What the video is for and where the video is used in the sales funnel will as much dictate the length as the content will, along with your audience.

Who’s Your Audience?

On the web, most viewers will begin watching a video and usually start to lose interest around 60 seconds unless:

·      They are interested in the content

·      They are an educated audience and understand the content

·      They are a captive audience (such as at an event)

You need to make sure that your content is the correct length for your audience, but also for your chosen channel and it may be that you need to create different edits of your content for different audiences and channels.

Platforms and Channels

Where the video is used will also dictate how long the video should be:

For Social

It is really important that you know who you are targeting. For example, if your video is for a millennial audience that use social media, it’s best to keep your video short & sweet. You also need to make sure you grab your audience in the first 3-5 seconds, to stop them scrolling, and then give them a reason to stay watching to the end. Think fast edits, engaging action or slick visuals and get your branding in as early as you can.

Here at DreamingFish, we offer social media edits and teasers that can be 10, 15 or 30 second edits of your full video. These are used to drive people to view your profile for more details or to drive them to where your main video is hosted, whether it’s on your website or another platform.

Note: It’s also important that you include subtitles for people watching with the sound off!

Click here to see a social media video example

For the Web

If your viewer is already on your website, chances are they are already interested in your services. Now you’ve got them this far, you need to keep them! Audiences usually drop off between 60-90 seconds when watching a web video, so it is best to keep your videos around this duration and ensure you have a strong call to action at the end to lead your client down the funnel. This could be a link to another video or another area of the website, or a telephone number or email address so that they can get in contact.

Click here to see a website video example

For YouTube

Go crazy! YouTube used to be a generic repository for all videos, but as it emerges as a channel in its own right people are looking to watch longer duration videos. Think about telling an engaging story or providing a deep-dive into your product or solution. You can then embed these videos on your website, but watch out for YouTube pre-roll adverts and recommendations when the video is finished – you don’t want to lose your potential client to a competitor! It’s best to use a video hosting solution that Wistia to embed your videos on your website and keep YouTube as a channel on its own.

It’s also important to look at the content of your video as different forms of content, along with audience and channel considerations, will dictate duration.

Interview/Case Study/Testimonial

A talking heads video is still a key part of your video toolbox and is a great way to introduce your company, explain your product or service or get your clients to say how great you are. The important thing here is to ensure you keep these very short, or use lots of interesting b-roll (other footage of the company or product) to keep the visuals interesting. We would suggest 90 seconds should be the maximum duration for a talking heads video.

Click here to see an interview video example

Explainer Videos

These are your how-to videos explaining your product or service. These videos are usually animated with a voiceover or onscreen text, but they can also be live action. You want to keep people engaged throughout and make sure they take something away from your video so for these 60 to 90 seconds is the sweet-spot. As with everything though, you need to take into consideration the channel, audience and how much information you need to get across. Just always remember the rule: the longer the video, the less of your audience that will make it to the end.

Tutorials & Training Videos

With tutorials and training videos the content will drive the length. It is almost certain that the audience will be captive and want to learn and gain something from your video. It is important that you keep the level of detail that is needed but remember, they still need to be engaged so keep the content entertaining and interesting!

Event Highlights

Events are expensive so you want to make sure that your attendees and possible future attendees can enjoy the key moments. Event highlights are the best way to capture the whole atmosphere of your event and a short video is the best way to excite people. We would suggest these are around 60 seconds long and contain exciting footage and graphics with a creative edit to keep people interested.

Click here to see an event highlight video example

So…how long is too long? When you take into account use, audience, platform/channel and content there is no single answer. It’s down to you and your content.

Learn more about our video services

To learn more about our video services, call us on +44 (0)808 253 5201 or contact us using our enquiry form.

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