How long should your video be

Last updated: 3 weeks ago

When it comes to figuring out how long a piece of video content should be, bigger is not always best. The old writer’s rule of thumb – ‘a story should be as long as it needs to be’ – gets a little confused when you’re dealing with modern social media channels that nurture audience expectations around duration, reward and amplify videos of particular lengths, and even outright limit or punish those videos that are too short or long. 

The last thing you want to do is spend time and budget on high-quality video content that is ineffective or unusable for the purpose you made it. Having a clear plan for the duration of your video, based on your objectives and the data, is key to getting the most out of your investment.

Here’s a wrap-up of the key priorities you should consider when you’re deciding how long your next video should be, including Audience, Purpose and Channel.

1

Who are you trying to reach? What do you know about how they engage with video content?

There’s a wealth of research that’s been done into how different demographics – from different age groups to locations, industries and other indicators – respond to content differently. For example, younger generations respond better to quick, snappy content that seizes their attention immediately, while longer-form content is more popular with older audiences. Use your audience and what you know about them to guide you.

2

Content achieves three different purposes: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion

Each is unique in its objective, and the content crafted to achieve that purpose needs to be different. Consideration and Awareness content is most powerful when it is under 60 seconds, while Conversion content can be longer, from 2 minutes to 10 minutes in duration.

3

Where you post your video has an impact on how long it should be.

There are, of course, technical limitations on how long a piece of video content can be, but there is also a lot of data and insight into how long they should be, in order to have the best chance of resonating with your audience on that platform.

  • Facebook: 2-5 minutes in duration gets the best engagement. If you were wondering, vertical orientation performs better
  • Instagram: 26 second videos perform the best in-feed
  • Twitter: Recommended 15 seconds or less
  • LinkedIn: <30sec videos best for brand awareness and consideration
  • YouTube: Longer videos of 10min+ performs well (which is likely due to the fact that the platform likes to be able to insert ads, and rewards content that enables this)