Why I Didn’t Watch Your Video: It’s Way Too LongShawn 03.06.2017
Length matters—don’t let anyone tell you differently. Luckily, when it comes to animated explainer video production, shorter is better.
In 2012, Wistia studied thousands of videos and discovered that the optimal length for a business video is 60 – 90 seconds. But times have changed, attention spans have evolved, and the internet has gone mobile. What is the optimal length for a business video production today? Wistia looked at over 500,000 videos to find out, and the answer may surprise you.
Video Production: Length & Engagement
As of the end of 2016, the optimal length for a business video is two minutes—nearly 25% longer than it was four years ago. Take that, millennials. The key to understanding the increase in optimal video length is engagement and viewership drop-off.
Engagement Cliffs: Finding the Drop-Off Point
People have a tendency to lump certain video lengths together into general categories where engagement rates remain relatively steady. A two-minute video, for instance has about the same engagement rates as a one-minute video, despite being twice as long.
Engagement rates for business videos fluctuate, but it’s not linear relationship between length and engagement.”Two minutes is the sweet spot,” writes Ezra Fishman. However, right after two-minutes, FIshman warns that the drop-off in engagement is “significant.”
A successful business video is all about identifying these “engagement cliffs”—when people stop watching your video—and making your video fit your viewers’ expectations.
T-Minus Two Minutes and Counting
Fishman warns of this sharp engagement drop off:
“Two minutes is where the exponential decay kicks in. This isn’t to say that you should cut a 10-minute video down to 2 minutes—some content warrants longer videos—but it does suggest that you’d be better off cutting 30 seconds from a 2-minute 30-second video to keep viewers’ attention.”
If you’re on the cusp of an engagement cutoff point—2 minutes, 6 minutes, or 12 minutes—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 your video just to shorten it a 10 or 20 seconds.
Engagement rates for a 4-5 min business video is roughly the same as a 5-10 min business video. Engagement is all about pinpointing your audience, finding their drop-off point, and then clearly defining your animated video’s objective.
Translation: You can still make a longer animated video. If it’s good.
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