If you are thinking about creating a video for your business, it is important to think about the overall length of the video. There has been a lot of research and debate around this topic with the general consensus being the shorter the better. This does not mean every video you create has to have a time limit, nonetheless, research has shown that the shorter the video you create the more likely the viewer will continue watching until the end. Understanding some of this crucial data will help us make better decisions when creating our videos and in turn improve engagement
There may be a couple of reasons why shorter videos are now more prominent and engaging. The rise of mobile technology is a good place to start. More and more people are consuming online videos through their mobile devices. How often do you get on a bus, train, plane, etc, and everyone is either on their phones or tablets shut off from the world. Even from my own personal experience, most evenings I will be on the couch watching TV and surfing my phone at the same time. I believe our appetite for information has grown exponentially. On the other hand, I also believe our attention span and tolerance levels have dropped significantly. How many times have you clicked on a video to start playing and almost immediately look down at the time and see 6 or 7 minutes and think ‘too long’, and quickly move on to the next video? If you’re like me, you may do this quite often. This obviously doesn’t make us bad people but as videographers or first time video creators, it does tell us some important information.
One must also look at the growth of short-form video apps like Instagram, Vine, as well as video editing apps like trakax. People are getting use to creating and watching quick fire videos and are expecting a lot from them in under 1 minute, 30 secs or even less. Major brands are now embracing this mobile technology and building their marketing strategies around them.
our appetite for information has grown exponentially. On the other hand…our attention span and tolerance levels have dropped…”
What may seem to contradict this point is that recently YouTube has changed its algorithm to rank videos on the amount of time-watched. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to create longer videos, what it does mean is that the videos need to be of a higher quality which captures the viewer’s attention and keeps them engaged. This is by no means an easy feat.
Wista, a video marketing platform built for businesses, conducted some excellent research in this area and put together some very interesting graphics on this subject. From the graph above, you can see that after viewing a video for over one minute there is a steady and rapid decline in engagement. The two most important points to come out of the data provided was that people engage more with shorter videos and the drop-off from longer videos near the start is significant. However, they state:
If your message is more complex, feel free to give it the time it deserves, but understand that a major chunk of your audience won’t make it to the end of the video and consider front-loading your video with the most important information at the beginning.
So what can we take away from this information? One key factor is to know your audience and know the type of video you want to create. For example, some essential videos, like product tutorials, are going to be more in-depth and time-consuming than a basic promotional video. If you are creating a promotional video, you should be thinking about putting the key message and most important points near the start of the video. A tip to help with time management is to plan your script and be as critical and concise as possible. Record and time yourself speaking in to a microphone on a phone or using a webcam.
Jim Foxx, at onemarketmedia, put together this great list which displays the average lengths for different types of business videos. This list gives a great insight into the type of videos you can create and optimal length for them:
The data is in and it has shown that overall shorter videos work best and will have the most engagement. Be that as it may, if you create a quality video that captures people’s imagination and attention, it doesn’t really matter how long your video is, they will watch it.
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