Aly Yale | January 29, 2019

Achieving the right length is crucial if you want your videos to take flight. A video that’s too long will leave viewers bored, distracted, or more likely to look for other content, while one that’s too short won’t resonate or stand out in the crowd.

But determining that perfect length? That’s harder than it looks.

From the content contained in the video to the platform it’s posted on, there are lots of factors that should play into finding the right length for your videos.

Not sure how long your videos should be? Let’s break it down.

Determining the Right Video Length

The first step is to consider the platform. Where will you be posting your video? User behavior is different on every platform out there, and each one also has its own minimums and maximums. On Instagram, for example, videos have to be at least 3 seconds but no longer than 60 seconds.

Here are the recommended video lengths for each social platform:

Instagram: 25-30 seconds (max 1 minute)

Twitter: 45 seconds (max 2 min and 20 seconds)

Facebook: 1 minute (max 4 hours)

YouTube: 2 minutes (max 12 hours)

Other factors that should influence your video length include:

Your Content

Even though more than half the videos published in the past year were 2 minutes or less, that doesn’t mean a longer video is never appropriate. Always consider: what’s the point of your video? If it’s to entertain, then something short, sweet, and easy to digest is your best bet. If it’s to inform, something longer and more in-depth could work.

A video of a TED Talk or industry event, for example, is probably going to be much longer than a product demo or an explainer of your newest service. Just make sure the length matches what the audience expects when hitting that play button.

The Device

Where are most of your viewers going to watch the video? If you’re posting to Instagram, you can almost be positive they’ll be on their phones. Make sure your videos are quick and punchy for users on-the-go. Posting it to SlideShare? Your users will likely be on their laptops or work computers, so you probably have a little more leeway on length.

The Desired Action

What do you want viewers to do after watching your video? Head to your website and buy a product? Share the video with others? Simply remember your brand as a fun and relatable company? A 10-second video likely won’t be enough to spur a $150 purchase right away, but it could plant a seed for later. On the other hand, a one-minute testimonial from a past customer just might seal the deal. Try to make your length and content align with your overall goals for the video.

Always remember: you can offer different lengths of the same video. Sharing a video of your CEO’s recent speech? Post a video of the full presentation on YouTube, and then offer up shorter snippets of the more interesting segments on Instagram or Facebook. Giving your audience options can never hurt — in fact, it might just help your SEO efforts.

Test the Waters

Don’t just take our word for it. Test the waters with your audience. A/B test a few video campaigns with varying lengths. Which ones get more views, shares, and conversions? Use your results to hone in on the appropriate length and type of content for your audience, and use it to guide your future video marketing efforts.

Want help determining the right video length and overall strategy for your brand’s goals? Contact us today.

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