When it comes to the majority of cases, the general rule that most marketers tend to follow is a two minute maximum length for any given video.
Whilst we do lean toward agreement with that, it should be understood that for optimum performance from your videos it really depends more upon the purpose of the video and the platform it will be uploaded/shared on. We will discuss these in detail in the sections below.
There is no standard video length when it comes to social media platforms as a whole. This is because each site is different in terms of its conventions and its user behaviour. For example, a user on YouTube is more likely to spend longer watching a particular video than say somebody on Facebook or Instagram, who would likely only give a video mere seconds before deciding to move on.
For your instagram videos, it is always best to make your content around 30 seconds to 1 minute long but no longer for the standard post (Instagram only allows for a 60 second length on the general post anyway). If you can, get your video as close to the 30 second side of that spectrum as this is the optimum zone for Instagram’s fast paced traffic.
When it comes to your Instagram stories and/or video ads, try to keep them between 10-15 seconds max. The key here is to get your ad/message across as quickly as you can. Even though it is not a massive amount of time, don’t forget to be creative. Users on Instagram are extremely spoiled for content so you want to convey your ad/message as quickly as possible.
IGTV (Instagram TV) videos can be up to 10 minutes in length. This time limit can be extended to an hour if the brand/company petitions to do so.
Finally, we have Instagram live. The limit on a live stream is 1 hour although you can immediately start another live stream once your previous one ends should you decide to. The best advice to follow when live streaming content on Instagram is to make it at least 10 minutes long. Longer videos actually perform better when live streaming so if you’ve got plenty of content after those initial 10 minutes then that’s even better!
Facebook allows you up to four hours when it comes to uploading video content onto your feed. Thankfully, we don’t recommend you upload four hour videos at a time unless you just really love editing. Research shows that the most successful in-feed video length for Facebook videos is between 25 to 90 seconds long. Much like Instagram, the best option here is to keep your videos short and sweet.
Facebook stories have an expiration date of 24 hours after initially being posted and they can be no longer than 20 seconds in length. If we were to get really pedantic here, the 10 second mark is probably the most effective.
We recommend the same 10 second rule for your Facebook ads too - be scrupulous with your content here to make it as short and engaging as possible as users often just scroll the moment they recognise that they’re seeing an ad.
As with Instagram, Facebook Live is most effective the longer your live stream is. Facebook permits you four hours for your content but don’t worry too much about trying to stream for that long, just ensure that you exceed the 10 minute mark at a minimum. This is a great way to connect with your customers on a personal level and show a different side to your brand.
With LinkedIn, it's important to remember that your audience is completely different to that of Facebook and Instagram. This platform is for professional networking and therefore, your content should be suited to the different audience that will be viewing your video. It is also worth noting that LinkedIn gives you 10 minutes of video time to play with when uploading content which is worth keeping in mind depending upon your video content goals.
LinkedIn has stated themselves that videos which aim to meet upper-funnel marketing goals should stick to a 30 to 90 second video length. For LinkedIn ads, we recommend again that you keep it short, preferably 30 seconds or under.
For brands on YouTube, we always recommend posting videos that are two minutes long or less. YouTube does allow for up to 12 hours worth of content although we would never advise any brand, or content creator for that matter, to upload such lengthy videos.
When it comes to the ad side of YouTube, we suggest that you keep your pre-roll ads between 15 and 20 seconds and keep your bumper ads six seconds and under. Again, it is imperative to keep the purpose of your content in mind with ads like these because of the small time you have before they’re finished.
Snapchat videos are extremely short, giving you only 10 seconds and no longer. Our advice to best utilise this small timeframe would be to showcase some kind of teaser content with a swipe up link that will take them to wherever it is you desire. Much like the live streaming we discussed before, Snapchat can be a great way to get personal with your audience and show off your brand in different ways.
Our advice with regard to Twitter video tweets and Twitter video ads is to keep them around the 30 second mark. Twitter allows you up to two minutes and 20 seconds for your video content but again, we usually wouldn’t advise content of this length on a platform such as Twitter where the audience rarely lingers and the feed is constantly being updated with new tweets.
The optimal video length for Pinterest would be 15 to 30 seconds, with exception to explainer or demonstration videos. Whilst you can have content on there up to 30 minutes long (and many do), we recommend keeping your videos short and simple, providing quick answers to any queries your potential customers are searching for.
As we said at the beginning of this article, there is no standard length for all videos. We have to first consider factors like the purpose, the audience and the platform it is being published on. With digital media channels however, a general rule to follow is to keep it under one minute.
The best way to think about your website video is to compare it to that of a television advert. Keep the purpose at the forefront and make it between 30 to 60 seconds. Remember with your website video that you don’t need to cram everything into it. It is much more effective creating a teaser video for your product or service as it is more likely to drive the user to contact you.
Including a video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80% so this is definitely something you want to utilise, and utilise effectively. Again, treat your landing page video with the same attitude we treated the website video - purpose driven and between 30 to 60 seconds. Landing pages typically have a very fast bounce rate (10-30 seconds) so it’s best to place your video above the fold, that way users will see it the moment they click on your website.
We suggest keeping your email video length 30 seconds and under, with exception if you have a highly engaged and responsive audience. Remember to use the word “video” in the subject line of your email as it can increase open rates by 19%. Also including a clickable thumbnail in the body of your email as that can increase click through rates by 65%.
When it comes to the different types of video, the best way to understand video length is to imagine your sales funnel - the higher up the funnel you go, the shorter the video should be, and vice versa. This is because your prospects won’t be as willing to engage with your content when they’re just window shopping so the content has to be punchy and short. Once you’ve got their attention (they move down the funnel) you can begin to experiment with longer videos.
Explainer Video Length
Typically, explainer videos are a form of content that users first see when they come across your website/brand, essentially the top of the funnel. Therefore, you should aim to make your explainer videos 60 to 90 seconds long. Don’t worry too much about the length as long as it doesn’t exceed two minutes.
Promo Video Length
The best way to approach a promotion video is to treat it like a television commercial, with a timeframe of 30 to 60 seconds. Promotional videos can work perfectly when put into a solid marketing strategy with a clearly defined goal.
Tutorial Video Length
The purpose of a tutorial or how to video is to teach your viewers something. Whether that’s about your product or service or maybe just a hack around a day to day problem. The point is, these kinds of videos are around the middle section of the sales funnel and your goal with these should be to teach rather than to entertain. That’s not to say don’t try to be creative, by all means add your own flair into the video, nobody likes the sound of somebody reading from a script. The aim here is to keep your videos over 2 minutes but under 10 minutes long, giving you ample time to keep the viewers attention without straying too much from your goal.
Case Study Video Length
Case study videos are a great way to cast a light upon a business or an industry and are typically at the lower end of the sales funnel. Prospects who view your case study video are likely to spend more time watching your content so we’d recommend you keep it between five and ten minutes long. There’s always the option of grabbing smaller teaser clips from these case study videos for your social media profiles, website, etc.
Webinar Video Length
Webinars are great for going into depth on specific topics related to your product or service. These often include Q&A’s, different speakers and live demonstrations. The key here is to offer value, regardless of video length. Aim to make your webinars 10 to 60 minutes long as this will offer real potential value without exceeding an appropriate timeframe for a prospect.
Sales Video Length
The clue with this one is in the name, anything directly related to sales should be kept as short and concise as possible (remember, top of the funnel). We suggest 30 to 60 seconds long as a maximum, any content longer than that and you’re very likely to lose their attention. This timeframe still applies if you’re reaching out to old prospects or prospects who have gone cold.
Company Culture Video Length
Company culture videos are great for representing your brand and/or your product or service. Again, its key here to remember that even though it might mean the world to you, audiences do tend to switch off quickly when they’re being offered nothing of value. With that in mind, we suggest making your culture video one to four minutes long.
Interview Video Length
Interview videos are very much dependent upon the purpose and the content itself. For instance, let’s say you interview an industry leader who’s going to offer massive value to your target audience, then it’s absolutely fine to have this running for ten minutes. Whereas, if you were interviewing past clients to discuss the service you offered (case study style), you’d want to keep their interviews concise and to the point.
We’ve gone through quite a lot in this article surrounding video length and you may still be left with some questions. This is completely normal and hopefully the following section will give you a bit more guidance on the best practises to remember when going forward with your video content.
One of the best pieces of advice with your content is to constantly test what works for your audience. This may take a bit of time to figure out but by utilising analytics tools you’ll be able to discover what works and what doesn’t.
If in Doubt, Keep it Short
Remember, the average retention rate of videos under 90 seconds long is 53% compared to a retention rate of 10% for videos over 30 minutes long. Only 25% of people will watch a video until the end if it’s longer than 20 minutes.
Don’t try to force a video to be longer when it doesn’t need to be, if anything the shorter you can make your content, the better it will perform for you. There are obvious exceptions to this but as a general rule of thumb, when in doubt keep it short.
Be Purpose Driven and Never Forget to Add Value
This is one of the most common mistakes we see when analysing video content. Remember that every video you produce will have a purpose behind it whether that be to sell your product/service, raise brand awareness or even to gain more followers on your social media profiles. These purposes need to remain at the forefront of your videos and you need to make sure that you’re always scrupulous with your content before releasing it.
The same is to be said about value. Your videos have to add value for your customers otherwise they will switch off immediately. Ask yourself “what would my target audience gain from watching this?” when analysing your content as this will help you to stay on track and keep your purpose at the forefront.
Analyse, Analyse, Analyse
As we touched upon earlier, you should constantly be using video analytics so you can find out what’s working for you and what isn’t. Not only does this allow you to find out what’s performing the best, it will also save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Also, remember the danger of vanity metrics when analysing your videos. Don’t judge your content solely on the amount of likes it gets, that means next to nothing if your audience isn’t engaging further with anything you post. Instead, focus on the richer metrics like conversions and sign ups.