In today’s fast-paced marketing world, people often assume short content is king. In an advertising realm where people lose attention in under 8 seconds, it’s common to adopt the belief that the shorter the video, the better. While this is true in many respects, short is not always the answer. The length of your video should be dependent upon the goal of your content and the viewer you’re looking to attract. Both long and short videos have their merits—so how do you choose how short or long your video should be?
What do you need to know to choose a success length for your video content?
What are you trying to achieve?
The first and foremost consideration when determining the length of your video is the overall goal. What are you trying to achieve with this video? It’s important to decide the length based on the purpose rather than trying to force content into a video size that simply doesn’t fit the goal.
When determining the second-count of your video, ask the following questions:
• What is the purpose of this video? By what metrics will you determine the video’s success?
• Who is the target audience? How do you want this video to connect your audience to your brand?
• What platform will host this video?
Below we’ll discuss how you can decide on length based on your answers to these questions.
What is the purpose of the video?
What do you want to get from this video? For example, you might be looking to teach people about your offerings, increase brand awareness, share a client story, or discuss the founding principles of your company.
When you’ve determined the goal of your video, you can then determine how you will measure whether or not you’ve attained that goal. These metrics will help determine the appropriate length of your video.
For example, you are interested in driving a high number of impressions of new consumers. In this way, you may want a short video that can make a quick, branded imprint on a large number of folks’ feeds while scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.
If you are interested in engendering loyalty with your current client list, you may want a longer video with your company’s founder examining the values and mission of the company.
Generally, short videos are used to generate a higher click-through rate and higher impression count. They raise awareness and keep your brand top of mind.
Examples: Creative commercials or advertising usually last between 15 and 59 seconds, especially if these come before or during another video on Facebook or YouTube. Basic tutorials, “about us” videos, and description of services are used to grab the attention of a potential client, so they’re usually no more than 90 seconds.
Long videos are used to grow loyalty and a deeper sense of consumer engagement.
Examples: Crowdfunding videos tend to be 2-4 minutes. Consumers are more willing to make an investment of time before they invest with their money. Client testimonials or personalized vlogs tend to be 60-119 seconds, because these videos are used to engender a sense of loyalty with current and future viewers. Product demonstrations and how-tos can average around 3-5 minutes, as these work to assist the consumer in their use of the product and build a deep-seeded relationship with that consumer.
Who is the target audience?
Your video’s audience should, in most respects, be your ideal customer. Different consumers want to receive different forms of content. They have varying levels of tolerance for the type, length, and invasiveness of the video advertising they see. For example, millennials are used to Facebook ads but baby boomers find them invasive.
A 2016 study found that millennials prefer short, quick videos they can watch on their mobile devices, while baby boomers prefer longer, more in-depth videos. This is likely because younger generations have been bred into this quick mindset of instant gratification. They have to immediately determine what deserves their attention in a world saturated with information. Older generations are more accustomed to a deeper relationship with their brands.
Consider your target audience. What kinds of video do they want to see? How much time are they willing to invest in that type of video?
What platform will host this video?
You’ll also want to note where your target audience hangs out. The platform on which your target audience will be viewing your video will also determine the length.
Different platforms call for different lengths. Viewers on YouTube tend to be more accepting of longer videos than users scrolling quickly through Instagram.
Below are the approximate average lengths of successful videos on each platform:
• Instagram: 30 sec; grabs attention of scrolling users
• Twitter: 45 sec; think of it as a 140-character video
• Television: 30 sec – 1 min; a short spec that doesn’t interfere with show
• Facebook: 1-2 min; fully presents an idea without invading user’s feed.
• YouTube: 2-6 min; allows for a deeper engagement and narrative space
What are the benefits of short video?
Short-videos tend to have a higher click-through rate, higher engagement, and higher level of video completion. People are more willing to take a risk on watching shorter content. This makes them ideal for new impressions and high levels of short-term engagement.
Learn more about the power of the short video here.
What are the benefits of long video?
Long-form videos engage customers on a deeper level by placing a greater emphasis on entertainment and narrative. People are willing to watch long-form content as long as there is significant value to them. Viewers also want to actively choose to watch long-form content, like watching a video on YouTube or on Facebook. Consumers don’t like long-form advertisements interfering with other video or content they’re trying to watch.
Consider the Red Bull “Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out.” It was one of the most successful ads of 2016 with nearly 12 million views on YouTube…. and it’s over 6 minutes long. It works well as long-form content because it provides a humorous narrative with intriguing, surprising shots.
Long content is also worth making if you aren’t sure how you want to advertise your video yet. Long videos can easily be cut down and reworked. You can provide a long-form video on YouTube, and with a few edits it can be shortened and used on other social media. Long videos generally provide a high return on investment because they have more room to play around with form.
The average sweet spot for a long-form video is 2-6 minutes. After minute 6, engagement levels remain the same until a drop-off level at 12 minutes.
Let’s put this all together.
Short content is usually best for:
• New prospects: brand awareness, impressions, marketing
• Millennial and Gen X consumers: fast-paced, hurried, mobile
• Instagram, Twitter, TV
Long content is usually best for:
• Current clients: engendering brand loyalty and relationships
• Baby Boomers: investing more time before investing money
• Facebook, YouTube
Overall, study after study has shown that success of a video is not as dependent on length as it is on content and value. Authentic stories with subtle branding and creative narratives always perform the highest, no matter the length. If you include the four building blocks in every video, the timing of the video will take a backseat
Best yet, the cost to create a professional video often doesn’t rely on the length as strongly as it does on other factors of shooting.
Are you ready to create your next successful video? Short or long, True Film Production is here to create the best video for your goals and audience.
Request a quote now to start collaborating!
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