Ultimately, determining the length of your video is less about
the actual time and more about your goals. There are four
considerations when determining the optimal length for your video
1. What type of content are you offering?
Great content comes in all forms and lengths, and a good video
library includes a variety of content types. For example, a fun,
entertaining video is best in a shorter, easily digestible length,
while documentary-style branded content can be longer (upwards of
two minutes). And don't shy away from those long-form videos. A TED
Talk-style presentation can be great for those really engaged on a
topic or brand. For longer stories, consider breaking them up in a
way that makes sense to create several episodes.
2. How and where is the audience viewing the
The device and platform on which your content is delivered is
one of the most important considerations when determining how long
your video should be. When sharing on social, keep it short.
Facebook's auto-playback feature makes 30- to 45-second videos
optimal; while Vine and Instagram have fueled the demand for
less-engineered, "micro-videos" that are 15 seconds or less. In
terms of video hosts, if you house your content on YouTube or
Vimeo, viewers are open to watching longer, more stylized videos.
Each platform has benefits and considerations, such as ads or
competing content, that play an important role in the need for a
good user experience in your video marketing.
3. What expectations does your audience
The appetite and attention span of viewers vary depending what
they expect from your video. Cues like titles and image previews
set these expectations, and ultimately determine how long a viewer
is willing to watch. A more formal title ("Replacing a Cracked
Display on an iOS Device") leads the viewer to assume the video is
longer and more comprehensive, while a short title ("How to Fix an
iPhone Screen"), leads the audience to think that the brevity of
the title will carry over to the length of the video. The image a
viewer sees when they click on a video is also important. Consider
these points when selecting a preview image:
- An image of a person or people: This implies to the viewer that
they're getting something fun and light -- and likely short.
- An image of a product: Images of products tend to see a lower
click-through rate. Use these types of images for customers who
already know your brand and want to spend time with you.
- Screen text: If the feature image is text, the viewer likely
assumes he or she will be learning something, therefore spending
more time engaged.
4. What action do you want the viewer to
What you want the viewer to do or take away from your content
will also help determine the right length -- as well as how to
structure the calls to action within your video. The hallmark of
good video content is a well-designed user experience. To figure
this out, ask these questions to help you deduce how much time
they'll invest with your video:
- Do I want to simply entertain the viewer?
- Do I want them to take an action (sign up for an email list,
purchase a product, share this content, etc.)?
- Do I want to educate this consumer or prospect?
Let this also determine at what point in the video to insert a
call to action. When you want a viewer to take action, don't wait
until the end -- put it in the first 10 seconds.
And finally, use analytics to monitor how your content is being
received. Determine which videos users are engaging with most, what
platforms are seeing the highest amount of viewers, and at what
point in your video viewers are dropping off. Set KPIs and use
learnings to continue to tweak and elevate your video content