How Long Should Your Business Video Be? Tips For Optimal Video LengthShawn Forno 04.03.2019
Length matters, especially when it comes to captivating business video.
Optimal business video length depends on video type, and how you want to promote it. Different channels (like YouTube or Facebook, for example) and unique video marketing objectives mean that the ideal length for your video will change. But no matter who you are or what you’re selling, there’s only one hard, fast answer to: “How long should your video be?”
And when it comes to animated explainer videos, we agree — shorter is better.
So, what’s the optimal length for an explainer video today?
In the age of “online video” people forget that viewers watch video in a lot of different ways, whether it’s on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device. When thinking about optimal video length, you have to ask, “Where are people going to watch this video?”
If your video is primarily for online viewers, will it live on your homepage or is it for a seasonal campaign on a dedicated landing page with high buying intent? Is it for awareness on Facebook, or as a lead generation tool on YouTube? Each of these scenarios has a different objective, so should each video’s length should reflect that.
In 2018, HubSpot analyzed thousands of videos from across different social media platforms to see which lengths performed best for each channel in terms of engagement. Here’s what they found:
- Instagram: 30 seconds
- Twitter: 45 seconds
- Facebook: 2 minutes
- YouTube: 2 minutes
And for all you B2B companies out there, LinkedIn suggests that videos are best kept between 15-30 seconds, but can go up to five minutes, depending on the content.
Different video objectives = different video lengths
So, you can’t treat all video channels the same. And you can’t treat all your video content the same, either. The biggest mistake with long videos is that they try to do too many things. Sure, one video could explain your product, communicate your corporate culture and founder’s philosophy, and answer FAQs, but it would have to be an hour long.
It’s all about video objective. Instead of creating one massive video that talks about every facet of your company, divide your video production into several smaller videos, each about two-minutes long and optimized for different channels.
Let’s look at a few different examples:
Explainer videos are versatile, and can be used anywhere — and even if yours is longer, there are creative ways to captivate audiences on every channel. A good explainer video provides enough information to persuade people to take the next step. Hone down on your ideal CTA, then reverse engineer what you video needs to say to drive action to get them to the next step.
For example, check out Lowe’s “Fix It In Six” campaign. This video does exactly one thing, and it does it in 15 seconds!
Trade Show videos
There are two kinds of trade show videos: the kind that are shown at events, or in one-to-one showings at the booth, and the kind that play on a loop on the booth’s back-wall.
The first kind of trade show video is meant for more engaged audiences who have already expressed interest in learning more. These videos tend to be longer, more in-depth, and probably don’t ever see social media (consider hosting on your website, or making it available for use by your Sales team).
The second kind usually plays in a loop. It’s objective is to attract attention and say what you do quickly, so that people go to your booth to learn more. These should be brief and flashy.
Company training videos
Training videos also have more in-depth objectives — they’re meant to teach a skill, introduce a new concept, or welcome new employees. These videos will also be longer, but still need to engage the viewer.
Terms of engagement: Finding the drop-off point
Optimal video length is all about pinpointing your audience, finding their drop-off point, and then clearly defining your animated video’s objective within that time frame.
Audiences respond differently to video depending on where they’re watching it. On Twitter and Instagram, for example, users are accustomed to shorter updates as they scroll through their feeds. YouTube. however, is a video-first platform – which means the audience is more open to longer videos they can search, view, and share.
But what about longer videos?
In 2016, Wistia identified three distinct engagement drop-off points when it came to video: two minutes, six minutes, or 12 minutes. If you’re on the cusp of one of these, shorten your video as much as you can and get on the other side of that drop-off.
If you’re in the sweet spot where video engagement levels off, don’t gut the content of your just to save a few seconds — it’s really more about hooking your audience early. The perfect video length is all about finding that sweet spot just before your target audience leaves, and making sure you’re “worth” sticking around (aka shorter than that drop-off).
Optimal Video Length Tips
The importance of first impressions
They say first impressions are important. But when it comes to boosting engagement, it’s definitely true. According to a 2015 study from Visible Measures, you can expect to lose 20 percent of your audience within the first 10 seconds, 33 percent within the first 30 seconds, and 45 percent by the one-minute mark.
That’s not a lot of time. But with the right strategy, you can hook your audience early, and make sure they stay for the long haul.
Start off with strong video storytelling
People will watch longer videos if they tell an engaging story. If you can hook viewers with a compelling narrative through a great opener, strong visuals, and good character design, you have an attention buffer to play with.
Buck trends. Be bold. Ask viewers to come along with you, if that’s what your video requires.. Better to be a little longer and interesting than short and boring!
Clean up those load times
Researchers at UMASS found most viewers click away from a video if it takes longer than 2 seconds to load. The abandonment rate increases by approximately 5.8 percent for every second of loading wheel thereafter. If your site is slow to load, you may need to rethink your video host before you make any other changes.
Create captivating video thumbnails
A strong, relevant thumbnail can pique a viewer’s interest before they even press play. Entice viewers with a powerful image, or a compelling title that lets them know the value of your video right from the start.
Case Study: Sevanta Dealflow
One of our clients, Sevanta Dealflow, found that even though their video was engaging, highly targeted, and under two minutes long, people were dropping off before the video finished. Instead of getting frustrated, asking for costly edits, or abandoning the video (it’s still on their homepage), they came up with a simple, interesting solution to their abandonment issues. They included a thumbnail that told people how long it would take to watch the video (“Get Up To Speed In Under 2 Minutes”). And engagement rates soared.
Sevanta set expectations and then delivered with a quality explainer video that does what it promises. It’s a great reminder that engagement rates aren’t always about content. Sometimes you can take your video from an obstacle to an asset with one clever marketing pivot.
How long should your animated business video be?
Still not sure how long your video should be? Answer this one question:
Am I selling something?
- If the answer is “Yes” — Make it as short as possible.
- If the answer is “No” — Make it as short as possible.
Animated explainer videos are powerful sales tools. By understanding engagement, video type, and channel, you can create powerful video for any step of the customer journey. Keep yours short and to the point, and you’ll keep people watching.
For more tips on how to make the perfect explainer video for your business, download our free eBook.