How Long Should Videos be? The Ideal Length for Marketing

You already know video is crucial to your marketing game. You’ve got some ideas and you’re ready to get to work, but how long should your content be? Is there a sweet spot for marketing video length? What are some best practices for video marketing? Well, the long-standing 2-minute rule is still a good guideline, but optimal video length is truly determined by where you share your video.

How Long Should Social Media Videos Be?

Year after year, our attention spans get shorter and shorter. Take TikTok for example. The 15-second video platform has been on the global top 4 apps on Google and IOS for the last year and notches 800 million active monthly users. So, thanks to our collective attention deficit, content creators have a limited window to engage viewers with video. Different platforms support various lengths of content, but regardless of where you’re sharing your video, the length of that video affects viewer engagement. We’re going to chat about optimal lengths for online video content and how to use that time in the most effective way for your market.

If you’re just considering the optimal length of time people will spend watching videos on a specific platform based on statistics alone, we’ve got the numbers for you. According to HubSpot, there are optimal video lengths for each platform. Here’s the breakdown for the best video length:


Instagram video length:

IG allows up to a minute for videos on the feed, but trends tend to show us that 30 seconds is the sweet spot. Instagram users are generally multitasking and on the move, so they aren’t interested or able to tune in for the full minute. 

Instagram does offer a solution for longer videos via IGTV (up to 10 minutes). IGTV videos, once clicked, use a video player with pause and scrubbing options. So if you have a great piece of content that might be an outlier to the 30-second rule, check out IGTV.

Twitter Video Length

45 seconds. Think about the nature of Twitter – short bits of information shared to start a longer conversation. Teaser videos or snippets of longer content is a great way to generate hype about your content get people talking about it.

Facebook video length:

Even though Facebook allows four-hour uploads, research shows that most users engage with Facebook videos for about a minute before scrolling along. A majority of users also watch Facebook videos on mute. There are a couple great ways to capitalize on these trends:

  1. Use bold, clear titles to drive home the main points and ensure people get the message even if they watch with no sound.
  2. Use the 1-minute Facebook video as a gateway to longer content. Grab users’ attention with a short, punchy video, then provide the option to watch the longer version via link to YouTube or Vimeo.

YouTube video length:

YouTube is a holy mecca of marketing videos. And it can be tough to gauge the optimal video length when the top-performing content on YouTube ranges from 42 seconds to 10 minutes. Although people will head to YouTube for a longer viewing experience, statistics still say that videos under 5 minutes will generally garner the most user engagement.

LinkedIn video length:

In a 2018 blog post, LinkedIn said that the optimal video length for B2B marketing videos on their platform is 30 seconds to 2 minutes. They also mentioned that the headline is the most influential factor determining whether or not a user will watch a video, so make sure the headline is punchy and aligns with the key message of the video.

LinkedIn is another platform where users are generally viewing videos without sound, so consider titles as we mentioned above in the Facebook section.

Video Length Best Practices

We typically suck at paying attention – unless something really grabs us, in which case we stick around for the long haul. But how do you navigate that information when it comes to marketing videos? Cater to our short attention spans by getting to the point fast. Then, if you have more to say, go on with it. Generally, long-form video content is accepted as long as you don’t waste people’s time. Tell the audience what to expect in the first several seconds of your video. They’ll appreciate your transparency, start to trust your brand, and be more likely to devote more of their time to your content.

Attention Span Informs Video Length

Research indicates the average adult attention span is about 8 seconds. Yeah, we’re almost as bad as goldfish. With an unlimited supply of video content out there, there’s always something else to watch. So you’ve got to win the hearts of your viewers and do it before they click off in search of the next 8 seconds of gratification.

video engagement, optimal video length

According to AdAge, “if you have not fully engaged your audience after the first 30 seconds, you’ve likely lost 33% of your viewers, and after one minute, 45% of viewers have stopped watching.“  With the sheer information overload that exists on the internet today, people just don’t always have the time for a longer video.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be putting out long-form video content. It just means you’ve got to do it right. People don’t have all the time in the world to devote to longer videos, but they will give their attention to the brands they love. Because there is just so much content available, audiences can be picky, so you need to identify who you’re targeting and make them love you.

Set Expectations

It’s best not to bury the lead when it comes to video marketing content. Get to the point and make it quick. Even if viewers click away after a minute, they will have absorbed the information you wanted them to.

If you’re doing a demonstration or another type of video that will take longer than the suggested limit for your platform, clearly tell viewers what they’re going to see as soon as possible. Set expectations.  Try to avoid clickbait or false advertising. Use this technique to build credibility with your target demographic.

If the video is a tutorial for snaking a drain (you’re welcome for that visual), open the video with “I’m going to show you how to snake your nasty shower drain.” Show them a sample final product if you can. If you establish that you’re sharing quality information that your audience truly needs, they’re more likely to stick around for the longer video.

Factors that Inform Video Length

In the YouTube Advertisers kickass educational series, Unskippable Labs gives us some great insight into considering mental stimulation versus emotional connection when it comes to the length of time it takes to tell an engaging story through video. Though I mentioned our attention spans are shorter than ever, that doesn’t necessarily mean every piece of content has to cater to these conditions. Just because we can comprehend a concept in 5 seconds doesn’t mean we won’t stick around for two minutes if we’re really feeling it.

So when do you have to be brief, and when is it okay to slow down and drive the message home?

While we do live in a fast-paced world, longer ads can build brand loyalty and return positive results. Longer-form video absolutely has its place in marketing. The more time we spend connecting with a brand, the more likely we are to trust that company.

The key determinate is the story. If you’re just using the video to promote a few stats or components of a new product, then you might decide to go with the quick informative clip that tells the audience what they came to hear and that’s all. However, if you have a story to tell, YouTube’s research says go for the longer video.

With more consumer awareness centered on brand ethics and the people behind the company, customers want to know who they’re buying from. They want to hear your grassroots story about how you started-from-the-bottom-now-you’re-here. Video marketing is the place to let your target audience get to know you before you meet them, and with that angle in mind, you have more wiggle room when it comes to video length.

Recommended Reading: 3 Reasons Why Someone Would Share Your Video Content

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 10th, 2020 at 1:36 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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