Best practice in online video strategy changes quickly – five years ago everyone was telling brands to create 2-3minute videos about their business and put them everywhere. Today, best practice for video length is quite different to that, and here’s why:
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Every digital channel is created uniquely for a target audience and purpose that they’re looking to provide for. What users are doing on LinkedIn is distinctly different from what the users are doing on Twitter or Instagram. So, the best approach is to look at your video content strategy in terms of who will be consuming the videos and how they’ll be consuming them. Yes, you can re-purpose video content across the various platforms, but the marketers who tailor content specifically for channels see much greater cut through.
Think about the viewer engaging with the video … on their phone.
Before you start producing any video content, consider the viewer watching your video on their phone. For channels that first play the video content silently in a mobile feed Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn it’s critical to consider the user. In the first 1-3 seconds of your content, is it clear what your video is about? If not, it doesn’t matter how long your content is, you’ll have trouble attracting the right kind of viewers to stick around, or click through to watch the video with audio playing.
Front-Load the good stuff
Consider loading all the really high-value elements of your video into the first 10-20% of run length, this includes visuals, you need to wow your viewers quickly (particularly those who are scrolling without sound) so they’ll stick around
To help you out, we’ve included a short directory of ideal lengths for each platform, but the meat and potatoes about how to make the most from each platform is below.
Instagram Video Length
Ideal Length 30-45 seconds
Video Posts are limited to 60 seconds
Video Length For Instagram Stories is limited to 15 seconds each (but you can stitch these together to get longer content in there).
Instagram changed its approach from limiting 15-second videos to 60 seconds in 2016 and a lot of marketers still think of insta as a short form platform, but you can convey loads of info and deliver a complex message in the 60-second allocation. Here is a fun example of Insta focussed content we did for the Australian Blueberry Growers Association – visual, quick and fun.
Facebook Video Length
Ideal length is 30-90 seconds
Maximum length is 45 minutes
Facebook’s algorithm LOVES video, so this is often a starting point for brands when they look at video production strategy. The best bet for creating engaging video content that will catch the eye of a Facebook user is to create video content that uses impressive visuals to capture the viewer’s attention quickly (first 1-3 seconds) then deliver the messaging succinctly and with a visual focus over the next 30-90 seconds.
There is an extra consideration here – Facebook does seem to reward the use of some long-form content too, so if you’re speaking directly to your fans who already know and love your brand and content, you can consider sharing longer form content too. This long form strategy is best for educating your audience, rather than attracting new fans or customers.
Facebook Ads Video Length
Ideal length is 30-60 seconds
Keep your Facebook Video ad super-visual in the first few seconds, then deliver the message and value quickly. Users who see your video ad and want to find out more will often click through quickly, so there is no need to make the ads any longer than 60 seconds.
Twitter Video Length
Ideal Length is 30-60 seconds
Maximum Length is 140 seconds
The essence of Twitter has always been short and sharp, and the best practice with Video follows the same rule. Keep it concise, around 30 seconds is the best bet. An interesting factoid is that Twitters Video of the day averages a length of around 45 seconds, so keep it between 30-60 and you’ll be set.
Video Length For LinkedIn
Ideal Length is 30-90 seconds
Maximum length of 10 minutes
LinkedIn only opened up native video playback in 2017 (before that, users were encouraged to share YouTube links) and since then the shift to video posts has been massive. The best bet though is to consider the LinkedIn feed as a business focused Facebook in terms of how users engage with it. Keep is visual and concise and remember that your audience is busy and often won’t be watching your content with sound on, so utilise SRT caption files to give your viewers the messaging of what is being said in the video if they choose not to turn the sound on.
Our Video Length Advice for Websites
‘Landing’ Length is 30-90 seconds
‘Info’ Length of 3-10 minutes
When it comes to people visiting your website we class your video content in two different ways.
- People who are ‘Landing’ as complete strangers, they may have come from an ad or link in an article and they want to get a quick sense of what you’re about. They don’t have long and they want to quickly watch something to get an overview before they move on. We use ‘landing’ length videos for most pages on a website, this should usually be the go-to, and research shows, that most engaged people will click the ‘play’ button on a video of 30-90 seconds.
- People who are looking for ‘Info’. Maybe they are researching your product or service, or need more general advice around your area of expertise. These people have got a few minutes up their sleeve – they want to find out more, and they’re probably on your product page for a good reason. We use ‘Info’ length videos primarily as a way of educating viewers on deeper aspects of products or services for our clients. These can take all sorts of shapes and sizes, but remember, if someone sees a video length of 3-10 minutes, they’re expecting to settle in and really learn plenty. This is a fun example that we LOVE (but didn’t make) that shows how long-form content can be an awesome way to educate AND entertain – delivering a much deeper level of information than text or short-form videos.
Tips for producing short and powerful content for social media:
- Frontload your video content, deliver the important content quickly and viewers will hang around to find out more.
- Think about the first 1-3 seconds of visuals, how can you ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’.
- Use SRT subtitles on all platforms so all viewers can get an understanding of what your content is about and engage with it, even if they don’t have the sound on. Here is how to grab them from your delivered videos if you’re an ANGRYchair client.
- Share natively. Please don’t copy and paste a YouTube link! All of these platforms will reward you by ‘auto-playing’ your video and giving it preferential treatment if you share it natively by uploading directly to the platform, instead of pasting in a link from another channel.
Whichever platform you choose to use, just keep the viewer at the front of your mind and how they’ll be engaging with the video content. If you’re focussing on optimising their experience, you’ll be sure to get traction with the right audience on any platform.
Non-Social Media Video Lengths
Video Loops for trade shows:
Most people who are keen on finding out ‘a bit’ about your business/offering will spend less than 5 mins at your exhibit, and no one can hear any audio from a screen on a trade show floor. So a silent 5-7 minute visual loop (no talking heads) is a good bet… and if every 30 seconds in that loop you can give a solid example of your brand – you’re on a winner.
Videos in presentations:
We help senior execs break up their presentations with video content all the time and this is what we have found to be best practice:
Think of the punter in the seat. If you use 3x 60-90 second videos with talking in between, you will engage much better than if you try to engage with one 5 minute video. (If I’m told a five-minute video is about to play, I usually think that’s enough time to pull out my phone and get some emails done. Pretty sure I’m not the only one)
Internal Comms Videos
We have helped businesses get great engagement through replacing written ‘all staff emails’ with quick, engaging video pieces which staff actually watch. But you need to be mindful that just because you’re CEO is on camera reading the message, that doesn’t mean that staff will enjoy it anymore.
Keep internal staff messages under 3 minutes, keep them dynamic (get a few voices involved if possible, and make them look great too) and consider injecting some personality into them … maybe include some humour.