There is a common stereotype when it comes to the ideal marketing video length: the shorter, the better. Still, your video duration isn’t the only and decisive factor that affects its engagement and conversion. Both short and long videos are effective when created and used right, so let’s find out the answer to “How long should a video be?” to fit the best marketing practices and your specific strategy perfectly.
- What Factors Affect the Optimal Video Length?
- How Long Should a Video Be — General Recommendation
- How Long Should a Video Be Depending on Its Type?
- Video Length Best Practices — How to Define the Length That Fits Your Video Project
While some business owners are looking for the secret tip to choose the ideal video duration, they may miss other critical factors. Choosing the right video length depending on the video goals, sales funnel stage, and other important points are some of them, so let’s review other essentials that influence video duration.
✅ Your Video Goal
The video goal defines its core message and specifies the target audience. For example, if you are targeting your video at prospective leads, you should keep in mind that they aren’t aware of your brand, and it’s better to start your conversation from the very beginning, keeping it short.
Depending on the goal and the audience, you have to create a storyline idea that also influences the video duration. If an idea needs more time to be revealed, you shouldn’t be afraid to accept it and provide the users with a holistic impression.
✅ Corresponding Sales Funnel Stage
According to video length best practices, the length of the video increases as the user progresses towards the bottom of the sales funnel. Most marketers use short videos at the top of the funnel and long ones at the bottom (except long e-learning videos that are used at the top of the funnel). The types of videos used at different sales funnel stages are also different.
The chart below shows different videos with different duration most frequently used on the corresponding sales funnel stages.
- Promo videos are quite short (usually up to 1 minute). Their goal is to capture attention and increase brand awareness.
- Corporate and explainer videos involve a deeper conversation with a user — they are 1-3 minutes on average, and their goal is to provoke interest and make users consider your brand/product/solution.
- Tutorial and testimonial videos are 1-3+ minute long — their goal is to help users make a final decision by providing social or real-life proof and showcasing how your solution works to solve their problem.
- At the loyalty stage of the sales funnel, you may use a mix of videos of different lengths. For example, an onboarding video can take 3+ minutes, while a branded video with entertaining context may be shorter.
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✅ Distribution Channel
The optimal length for video marketing content also depends on the channel you want to use to connect to your audience. For example, short videos are best suitable for social media, while there are no certain limits for YouTube, and your website. Still, in the latter case, you have to make sure that your video doesn’t affect page loading speed. Plus, take into account social media video length limitations and recommendations.
The average adult attention span is about 8 seconds. This is the time frame to:
- capture their attention and evoke interest in a short promo video
- show value and usefulness in a medium length explainer video
- educate on your current product or “grow your client” in a long educational video.
According to Wistia, there is no difference in engagement for videos from 30 to 120 seconds in length. The only exceptions are educational videos and tutorials — the more practical and longer are they, the more engagement they drive. That is, regardless of the commercial video length, its flow should be logical, consistent, and understandable to the users. This is also why one video should be targeted at one specific audience and share a clear marketing message.
That’s why the concept of a perfect video length is relative and dependent. Short, medium, and long videos will convert well if you keep their goal, specifics, audience and corresponding sales funnel stage in mind.
👉 Short vs Long Video
Wondering, “How long should my video be?” Below is the comparison of videos of different duration, specifics of their creation, and purpose.
Features and characteristics
Budget per minute
Budget per video
Requires a lot of creativity and marketing thinking
Requires impressive graphics, which is expensive
Medium length videos
The middle level of graphics: usually 2D Cutout animation or Motion graphics
A comprehensive description of product/service
Typical storyline: what problem is solved by your product, how, what are the benefits/features + CTA
Increasing conversion on consideration stage:
May be created using simple graphics
Can be a mix of graphics, live footage, screencast
Education of potential customers
Increasing loyalty of clients
Upsales because of better understanding of a product
Depending on your video goal and the corresponding sales funnel stage, the type of your video and its length, accordingly, should be different. Below are answers to how long should my video be depending on its type?
🔹 An Explainer Video — 1-3 minutes
As the name suggests, the core goal of an explainer video is to tell your users how your product, service, or solution works in practice to solve their problem. On average, it takes 1-3 minutes to do it. Still, the users should already have the first impression of your brand.
Here is our explainer video for Route4Gas innovative solution. During two minutes, we have stated the problems, covered the essence of the software, explained its features, and encouraged users to find out more about it
🔹An eLearning Video — 3-5+ minutes
An e-learning video is a type of content that is often provided to the users in the form of a free value. With its help, the watchers may learn something valuable from the brand, feel gratitude for the help and make the first step towards building trust. This is also the case when the video shared on the top of the sales funnel shouldn’t be too short — otherwise, you will have no time to deliver value.
Pay attention to this eLearning video example — this is a perfect match between clear explanation and simple still understandable graphics.
Check out what our training video production company has to offer.
🔹 Promo Video for Social Media — 25 seconds – 1 minute
How long should a promotional video be? If you want to share it on social media (except for YouTube), it is better to keep your video within 25 seconds-1 minute. The users’ attention span on social media is only 2.5 seconds on desktop and 1.7 seconds on mobile, so you have to do your best in the very first scene to make them take a look at your video.
Below is our promo cartoon, which is 1 minute and 10 seconds in length. This is just the case when we decided not to sacrifice the core marketing message just to cut 10 seconds of timing
🔹 A Corporate Video — 1-2 minutes
A corporate video is an excellent opportunity to showcase your company from the inside or communicate its internal initiatives. They are usually used at the interest stage of the sales funnel, and that’s why 1-2 minutes is an optimal length for videos of this type.
🔹 A Product Video — 1-3 minutes
A product video is an effective tool to make your users decide on the purchase. 1-3 minutes is a perfect time frame to overview your product features, and most importantly, showcase its benefits not only from a technical but from a practical and emotional perspective.
Feel free to review our product explainer video. It is very short, but we managed to cover all the important points and explain the essence of the solution
🔹 A Kickstarter Video — 1-2 minutes
When creating a Kickstarter video, you have very little time to attract the attention of investors since, from a marketing perspective, they are at the very beginning of the awareness stage of the sales funnel. The best explainer video length is 1-3 minutes, but it’s better to keep it under 2 minutes when creating a fundraising video.
🔹 A Video Tutorial — 3-5+ minutes
A video tutorial should be helpful and detailed. This is just the case when the more specific information you share, the higher engagement you will drive. On average, you have 3-5 minutes to teach your watchers something useful with your tutorial.
Here is how to find the perfect length of your future video.
1️⃣ Decide on your marketing goal
For example, if you want to make users aware of your brand, consider a short promo. If your prospective leads are already at the consideration stage, show them a product or testimonial video.
2️⃣ Define your audience
And take your users’ behavior patterns into account. For example, a young generation tends to watch videos on Snapchat and TikTok, and their attention span becomes shorter year after year. That is, you have to capture them from the first second with something that really matters.
3️⃣ Highlight your key messages
The golden rule is to share one message for one audience in one video, which should be perfectly matched with the goal above.
4️⃣ Consider your distribution channels and budget
It will help you suggest technical length limitations. But you should set strict limits only if it is really necessary, for example, because of the social media duration limitation or tight budget.
5️⃣ Develop the creative concept
This is the idea of your storyline with visual references that correspond to the briefing info outlined above.
6️⃣ Suggest the optimal length for the creative
If it is higher than technical length limitations, you need to adjust or recreate the storyline idea.
7️⃣ Outline the script and check its duration
On average, there are 150 words per minute of English voice-over.
8️⃣ Correlate the script with the storyline length
Correlate your script and storyboard with the suggested storyline length and technical limitation length. We kindly recommend not compromising on key messages or idea realization being guided by video length limitations because it might lead to whole video failure. To put it in simpler terms, if you need 20 seconds more to reveal the core idea, it is better to use them and cover all the essential points.
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How long should а brand video be? There is no perfect video length secret, one-fit recipe, or magic key. Your video should have such a duration that allows you to achieve your marketing goal, deliver your message, connect to the right audience using the right channel and cover your main idea.
Defining the necessary length can be a challenge, and that’s why it is better to get some help from video production professionals and utilize their experience in creating videos of different types.
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Blue Carrot is an animation and explanatory video creation company. We have a lot of technical and creative experience in dealing with video projects of different complexity, so you are welcome to get our support 🙂