One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How long should my video be?” Let me answer that with a question of my own: “In your own free time, which video are you more likely to watch? Something less than a minute, or something closer to ten?”
When it comes to sharing content on the internet, all too often we fall into the old traps. Before, the emphasis was on providing as much information as possible, with as much time as needed for it to be shared. On the internet, less is more, especially when it comes to video.
Shorter and shorter videos are becoming the norm, popularised through apps like Vine or more famously, Instagram, where the show Rick and Morty uploaded an entire episode before the standard airdate, broken up into the maximum length of each clip. Of course, there is a massive difference between a thirty second clip of a tv show and a product video, but it’s something to keep in mind.
The average viewing time for all corporate videos has gotten shorter and shorter. A few years ago, “about 3 minutes” was the average length of time for people to leave the video. But today ‘somewhere between 60 seconds and 120 seconds” is the general length of corporate videos. Conveniently enough, one minute is also the minimum you need before Youtube starts paying you for your content/ads, which is an added bonus.
There are three distinct types of corporate videos, customer reviews, “About” videos and product videos. 85% of shoppers check online reviews before buying, so video reviews are a quick and easy way to draw traffic to your company and products. So lets talk numbers. Last year, Animoto polled consumers to get an idea of how long videos should be. Of those polled, 59.9% said that they would not watch a video if they thought it was too long. They were then asked about the three different categories we’ve just discussed.
When polled, 37.9% of consumers think product review videos should be under 30 seconds, and a slight majority of 35.9% think 30 to 60 seconds is best. Roughly 25% of those asked thought these types of videos should run longer than a minute. These are the numbers you have to work with.
Similarly, when asked how long “About” videos should be, 31.9% stated their belief that 30 seconds or less was best, while 38.6% said anywhere between 30 to 60 seconds was the magic number. As you can see, less is definitely more in these two categories, but what about videos to demonstrate products?
Potential customers usually watch product videos because they’re deciding whether or not they want to buy it, which means that the longer video here, the better. Watching videos gives you a better sense of a product and how it works, when/if they can’t actually get the product in person. Even though the video should be longer, those polled had a preference to 1-2 minute videos, with a minority preferring videos of more than 3 minutes.
When you’re producing video content, keep these numbers in mind and try to stick to them. Some videos can run much longer, of course, but for the majority, keep it close to a minute. Unlike ads, banners or pop-ups, the audience have complete control over whether or not they watch your video. You have to make it as appealing as possible, and a short run time is the one of the best ways to do that. There’s also the choice of thumbnail for the video, but that’s a discussion for another day.