Video Marketing How long should your video be?
The 64 Million dollar question. How long should I make my marketing video, before viewers switch to another video? Is it the same for YouTube and Facebook? What should I know?
We will cover in detail the following video categories.
- Crowdfunding videos
- Creative commercials
- Testimonials/Talking heads
We have put together this comprehensive guide based on articles from several well respected writers. We reference their links at the end of this guide. We hope it helps you.
The Short Answer.
If I were pinned down to give a single time, without going into the precise content, its message or any of the reasons that might make the video longer or shorter I would give this length: 29 Seconds.
Why 29 seconds, not 30 seconds. Physiologically at a quick glance 29 seconds seems a lot shorter than 30 seconds as 59 seconds seems shorter than 1 minute and 99 cents seems much cheaper than One Dollar.
The optimal length for video marketing content? As short as possible
Truth is, there are two answers for this question:
- As short as possible
- It depends
Obviously, both are right. we are in an era in which attention spans are getting shorter as we’re flooded with all sorts of content; text ads, Buzzfeed lists, photos, banners and more videos.
As there are many different sources for each, we can definitely say that in today’s world, we have to hold our consumers very tight and not let them even think about moving, not even a tiny little inch (or pixel) from our content.
Videos are tricky – for the most part, they’re popular, fun and shareable – but unlike banners, text ads and photos, in many cases it’s our audience choice whether to watch it or not.
Hitting the play button:
Doesn’t matter how awesome your product is, before hitting the play button, your audience will determine whether to play it or not by two things:
- The thumbnail (that’s a whole different discussion but, you can imagine what works)
- The length of the video
Ask yourself: in which case is it more likely that you hit the play button? When the length shows A) 0:xx (less than a minute)? B) 1:xx? C) 2:xx?
You got it right. “A” is the winner, while over two minutes will be (for the most part) the big loser.
In one of Wistia’s video lengths analytics, we can see that shorter videos are better for getting people to watch the whole thing, which means — shorter videos produce more engaged audience.
That said, different videos have a different optimal length but in each one of them the rule of thumb will be make it as short as possible.
Tutorials/Explainers (45-90 sec)
There are many different types of tutorials, of various lengths. Let’s examine the most common type of videos — mobile and Web app tutorials.
One of the goals of a tutorial is not to only to show how it works, but to show how simple it is. and today’s world, Simplicity means less time.
Less than two-minute videos work as well, but over two minutes will make the consumer feel that this video will require some extra concentration and time. And let’s face it, they are lazy.
45-90 seconds is long enough to make your crowd be interested in what your product does and get a sense of feeling how it works. don’t try to show all the features, just highlight the cool ones and make it look simple.
Creative commercials (15-59 sec)
These are the videos we’re most familiar with. We first watched them on TV, in which broadcasting spots are very expensive. This brought advertisers to shorten their ads and that’s one of the main reasons why most commercials today are very short.
Some of the best ever commercials are those we use to see on the Super Bowl, where the spots are the most expensive and the average commercial stands on 30 seconds.
Creative commercials are mostly based on a clever gag, a funny story, intriguing situations and as such they are usually less than 45 seconds. Always keep in mind with videos, 59 seconds look much better than 1:00.
Crowdfunding videos (Avg. 2.5 mins)
The purposes of a crowdfunding video is to create credibility around the project, therefore it usually consists of a “talking head” part in which the founder/inventor speak about the product, and another part of showing the product, design process, etc.
That’s why these videos are usually longer than commercials and tutorials; the audience is more engaged with the project in the first place and it’s looking to learn more into depth about it. In a crowdfunding project page, there’s a lot of text, so the video is the more preferable way to learn about it.
One minute videos are usually too short while five-minute videos are too long, even for the engaged audience.
An optimal length of a crowdfunding video would be around two to three minutes.
Testimonials/Talking heads (60-119 sec)
This is a very informative kind of video format, you want to show your customers talking about your product and founders talking about the company. These videos are usually not the creative kind of videos, and as such, you usually watch them when you really want to learn more about a certain company since you have to listen more than watch.
In these cases, there are no rules, and the video can be even four to five minutes long.
If you do want to use this kind of video format for marketing purposes, you wouldn’t want the video to last more than two minutes. Try get three to four different customers talking shortly about your product – it’s always better than one that talks for two minutes. The same idea goes for company founders etc.
Whenever you decide to make a video, keep in mind to make it as short as possible. Focus on content condensation and SEO efforts and you just might reduce your production costs.
by YOAV HORNUNG
Yoav Hornung is an award-winning young filmmaker and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Veed.me, a video production marketplace.
Facebook Vs. YouTube & Views Vs. Engagement
This data was just a WOW moment for us. We expected YouTubers to be making longer content, but according to the data from the past 30 days, videos on YouTube are nearly 10X longer than Facebook.
Using data from Tubular, we can confirm that creators on YouTube are making not just longer content, but WAY longer content. Some of this is certainly a function of YouTube rewarding longer retention, but it really points to the type of content each platform currently values most. Facebook tends to value short, flash in the pan type content to keep you moving and tied in to the feed, while YouTube is more focused on serving you longer, higher quality content to keep you on the site longer.
Although we keep looking at YouTube and Facebook as competitors, they may actually be on opposite ends on the video spectrum not just in duration, but in what metrics indicate a video’s success as well.
In this study, we see that YouTube has a lower views to engagement ratio than Facebook, which means it takes less views to generate the same engagement on YouTube.
Our gut reaction is this as an indicator for view quality. YouTube fans continue to tout the value of a YouTube view compared to Facebook and this data would tend to support that claim. It may also suggest that the type of engagements occurring on Facebook the most, namely likes, are more freely given and less indicative of meaningful engagement.
But not so fast. Analyzed another way this data would suggest that an engagement on Facebook can generate more views for a given video. It all depends on how you view video and what comes first, the view or the engagement.
For YouTube, a combination of views and engagements can help it rise in search, so there is a distinct partnership in these numbers. On Facebook, however, views are somewhat less indicative of the performance of a video - the almighty engagement actually causes it to propagate across multiple feeds, granting the video more views.
What this bit of data may really suggest is that Facebook videos may be better judged on the number of engagements they get, while YouTube seems to have focused more on the quality of their view counter.
Let’s revisit the first chart real quick, but add in the average view count as well. While Facebook is beating YouTube in views more than 2:1 on these videos, YouTube is only losing 3:4 in the engagement department. To me, this suggests that Facebook has a lot of what I'll call "empty" views. But that also suggests that Facebook is clearly getting the traffic and may even be beating YouTube in raw traffic.
Looking at this data broken down by duration categories, YouTube has clearly trained viewers to not only stay around, but interact a bit before they leave. On the other hand, Facebook seems to trend towards getting the video in front of somebody, getting a like/share and moving on.
As for optimal video length, as duration increases, the likelihood of high level engagement goes down on Facebook, where YouTube is just the opposite. YouTube engagement seems to perform the best early in the video, like Facebook, but remarkably they get more high engagement videos the longer they go. There is a definite plateau around the 3 minute mark for YouTube, which has often been used as a marker for the general attention span of a YouTube viewer. As viewers watch past the 5 minute park on YouTube, it seems that the interaction drops quite a bit. This could point to a larger issue of actual viewer retention. How mentally engaged is a viewer after a certain point?
Looking at this chart would seem to suggest the best place for a call to action is right around the 30 second mark for a video, or wait until it is just about over. Personally I’d advocate doing both if it makes sense for your content.
If you want high engagement, the sky is the limit on YouTube. The videos analyzed averaged nearly 15 minutes in length for YouTube while Facebook was just shy of a minute and a half. But if you are looking for short form content, the fleeting nature of the Facebook feed may provide you with a better place to get massive exposure. Either way, we may have been measuring Facebook video all wrong this whole time. The secret sauce may lie in their engagements and not in their views. The engagements ultimately lead to the exposure that those in video desire.
Optimal Video Length Takeaways:
- Videos posted natively to Facebook generate more engagement - but it takes less views for YouTube videos to generate the same engagement rate
- Engagement rate for Facebook video is a more reliable metric than view count
- The most engaged videos on YouTube are nearly 10x longer than the most engaged videos uploaded to Facebook.
- Short-form video content tends to do better in terms of engagement on Facebook.
- The longer the video on YouTube, the more viewers will engage with it.
- Best place for a CTA on a YouTube video is around the 30 second mark.
Source: Optimal Video Length for YouTube and Facebook Videos