Determining the Best Length for Your Video to Improve Effectiveness
When it comes to video production, clients always ask what’s an effective video length. Our answer is almost always, it depends.
Determining an effective video length is impacted by the elements of your video strategy, such as:
- The story you want to tell. It’s the key element in your decision.
- Where videos will be shared. Just as different story objectives call for different lengths, every social media and digital platform has different ideal video lengths that users respond best to. Those lengths affect viewer engagement. For instance, videos on Instagram that are an average of 26 seconds receive the most comments from Instagram users.
- Our (short and getting shorter) attention span. Studies indicate the average adult attention span is only eight seconds. Meanwhile, recent research from Facebook shows 47% of the value of an online video (i.e., the salient message) is delivered in the first three seconds.
- Mental knowledge versus emotional connection. In 2020, the average number of online videos over 20 minutes grew 66%, which could indicate an increasing demand for longer educational content like webinars.
Video Length Best Practices
To find the sweet spot for your video length, consider these tips:
- Capture viewer attention quickly. Cater to our short attention spans by getting to the point fast. Ideally, aim for your most important message in the first quarter of your video. Another best practice is to repeat your message within the video.
- Test video length to find what works for your audience. Consider whether the viewer is a new prospect or a loyal customer and whether they requested to view your video.
- Track your success. Use video analytics to find out the length where viewing drops off, what changes to make to increase conversions, and make good on your return on investment (ROI).
What’s the Best Video Length? Here’s a Guide
Here’s our guide to the most effective lengths for online video on social media and other online platforms.
The Two-Minute Rule
Seasoned video pros have found that the sweet spot for effective video length is two minutes or less. Research shows 60% of online videos are less than two minutes long.
Best Video Lengths for Social Media Platforms
Effective video lengths on social media vary from platform to platform. Since social algorithms are continually updated, check with each platform for the latest information. Check out our suggestions for each channel.
- YouTube users respond best to a variety of video lengths depending on the purpose.
- YouTube videos can be up to 12 hours long.
- For business-to-business (B2B), make video length two minutes or less.
- For YouTube pre-roll ads, make 15- to 20-second videos.
- For YouTube brand awareness bumper ads, make six-second videos.
- Facebook users respond best to 24- to 90-second videos.
- Facebook videos can be up to four hours long.
- For Facebook Stories, videos do not exceed 20 seconds.
- For Facebook video ads, get key messaging in during the first five to 10 seconds, though video ads can also run for four hours.
- For Facebook Live, broadcasts can run up to four hours. Just like Instagram Live, longer videos attract a larger audience. In fact, make sure not to broadcast shorter than 10 minutes, which is the time it takes for Facebook users to be notified and tune in to your broadcast.
- Facebook also allows 20- to 90-second videos to replace cover photos and seven-second video or animated GIFs to replace profile photos.
- LinkedIn users respond best to 30-second to five-minute videos.
- LinkedIn videos can be up to 10 minutes long.
- For LinkedIn video ads, make videos 15 seconds with a maximum of 30 seconds.
- Instagram users respond best to 30-second videos.
- Instagram in-feed videos can be up to 60 seconds long.
- For Instagram Stories video ads, get key messaging in during the first 15 seconds.
- For Instagram TV (IGTV), videos can be 10 minutes long.
- For Instagram Live, longer videos attract a larger audience. The platform allows a maximum length of 60 seconds for a live broadcast, so continue shooting and start another live broadcast immediately after the first, and so on, for a total of 10 minutes or longer.
- Twitter users respond best to 20- to 45-second videos.
- Twitter videos can be up to two minutes and 20 seconds long.
- For video tweets, make videos 20 to 45 seconds long.
- For Twitter video ads, make videos 20 to 45 seconds long.
- Pinterest users respond best to 15- to 30-second videos and two-minute how-to videos.
- Pinterest how-to/demo videos can be up to 30 minutes long.
- Snapchat users respond best to 10-second videos.
- Snapchat videos can be up to 10 seconds long. Include a link, hashtag, or URL for users to learn more.
- TikTok users respond best to nine- to 15-second videos.
- TikTok videos can be up to 60 seconds long. The platform is currently testing longer video lengths of three minutes.
Best Video Lengths for Digital Channels
Decide video length based on the channel, type of users, user behavior, what users expect, the product or service, and the video format. The best practice for cold outreach? Keep videos under one minute. Check out our guidelines for each channel.
- Visitors respond best to 30- to 60-second videos on home pages.
Landing Pages for Exclusive Offers
- Visitors respond best to 30- to 60-second videos.
- Place video above the fold so it’s one of the first things viewers see.
Pillar Pages for In-Depth Coverage of a Topic
- Visitors respond best to 60-second to two-minute videos.
- Recipients respond best to 45-second videos or shorter.
- Including the word “video” in the subject line can increase open rates by 19%.
- Including a clickable video thumbnail in the body content increases clicks by 65%.
- Cold outreach viewers respond best to 30-seconds or shorter.
- Mid- and late-stage outreach viewers respond best to one to two-minute videos.
Best Video Lengths for Different Video Content
Whatever type of video content you produce, a best practice for video lengths that viewers respond to is the length that viewers are willing to consume. Check out our suggestions.
Animated Explainer Videos
- Viewers respond best to 60- to 90-second explainer videos.
Graham Company, Philadelphia, PA
- Viewers respond best to two- to 10-minute videos.
Blush Salon, Newtown Square, PA
Case Study Videos
- Viewers respond best to five- to 10-minute videos.
Exude and Ewing Cole, Philadelphia, PA
- Viewers respond best to 60- to 90-second videos.
MHS Lift, Pennsauken Township, NJ
- Viewers respond best to 15- to 60-minute videos.
Biomarin Pharma, San Rafael, CA
Promotional Videos and Commercials
- Viewers respond best to 30- to 60-second videos.
Drummund Scientific, Broomall, PA
- Viewers respond best to two- to four-minute videos.
AQUA America WebsiteBryn Mawr, PA
- Viewers respond best to one- to two-minute videos.
Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
- Viewers respond best to six- to 10-minute videos.
UPenn Law, Philadelphia, PA
Thought Leadership Videos
- Viewers respond best to 10- to 18-minute videos (the length of a TED Talk.)
Mass Mutual Greater Philadelphia, Bala Cynwyd, PA
Company Update Videos
- Viewers respond best to 45-second to two-minute videos.
Braskem America, Philadelphia, PA
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Your Philadelphia Video Production Team
New Pace Productions is your modern video agency serving the Philadelphia and surrounding areas. We specialize in video production, animation, and post-production for a range of industries including higher education, healthcare, technology, finance and real estate. If your company is located outside of Philadelphia, no worries – we serve Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and beyond!