Animated Video Production

Why I Didn’t Watch Your Video: It’s Way Too Long

Shawn 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.

animated video production video length

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.”

business video

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.

Video Length: The Elevator Pitch

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.

Don’t quibble between selling a product or service—if you’re pitching, you’re selling. Embrace it. Your animated video has to entice users immediately and communicate rapidly, or you won’t move them further down the sales funnel.

And animated video production isn’t just about “awareness” at the top of the sales funnel—it goes all the way down to the conversion, whether it’s a purchase, signup, or other conversion.

Video Marketing & the Sales Funnel

animated video production video sales funnel

Rand Fishkin at Moz, prefers to have at least eight interactions with a prospect before they become a customer. And he designed his sales funnel for this type of circular interaction by creating helpful, compelling, well-produced weekly whiteboard animation videos.

Business Video Production: Focus on One Thing

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.

Trying to do everything in one massive video will only dilute your finished product into something unwatchable. Don’t believe me? I dare you to sit through this entire video:

Instead, of creating one super video for every facet of your company, divide your video production into several smaller videos, each about two-minutes long. Tackle each topic individually. Got more to say than you can fit into a two-minute video production? Make another video.

The clarity will have a significant impact on your engagement rates. People appreciate straight-forward answers, and they’re much more likely to watch three or four 60-second videos than one 15-minute juggernaut—even if that longer video is more informative.

I don’t know about you, but I immediately bail when I see a video run time over ten minutes.

Yoav Hornung, founder and CEO of Veed, says:

“The goal of a tutorial is not only to show how it works, but to show how simple it is. Don’t try to show all the features, just highlight the cool ones and make it look simple.”

The Final Cut

Animated explainer videos are powerful sales tools. Keep yours short and to the point, and you’ll keep people watching.

Contact us today to see how our animation services can help your business.


Born in Southern California, Shawn grew up surfing, eating In-N-Out, and growing his hair long. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree from CSU Long Beach in 2005 he left the crowded freeways behind and spent the better part of a decade traveling the world living for stretches in Rome, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Brooklyn. He writes novels as well as copy, loves learning keyboard shortcuts, and plays his grandpa’s old lap steel guitar. You can hear his band at

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