Whilst the answer is not quite the same as "how long is a piece of string", the right length for your business videos does depend on several factors. These include the type of business video you are producing; what you are hoping to achieve from your video; where it 'sits' within your sales process and where the video will be distributed.
One thing that generally remains constant however is the short attention span enjoyed by most human-beings. And as the number of distractions increase, especially online, this has unsurprisingly had a big impact on video views and engagement levels.
Understanding this impact is important, but of more importance to marketers and those involved in video production, is the way in which we can mitigate this, and ensure that any videos that are produced remain engaging, effective and provide real return on investment, whatever their length.
As you might expect, certain 'types' of video lend themselves better to certain formats and timings. Internal training videos or software demos for example, aren't likely to be of much use if kept 'short and sweet'. In contrast, video adverts, particularly if used on social media, will need to be concise and impactful rather than long-winded.
"marketing videos should be as long as necessary, and as short as possible."
When it comes to 'explainer' videos or product overviews, one of the most common forms of video used today, it pays to keep it simple. These types of videos are designed to demonstrate the simplicity of the product or service you are promoting and lead the viewer through straightforward steps towards solving their problem.
A long video of this nature 'cancels out' that implication and is likely to leave the viewing feeling like there is 'too much' involved for them to take it any further. So we'd recommend keeping these sub 90 seconds.
As mentioned above, videos shared on social media platforms are generally shorter in duration than those displayed on a company website or intranet. However, it's not as cut and dry as you may think. Different social media channels attract different types of audiences, so it's important to take the platform itself into consideration.
Viewers are much more likely to watch longer videos on YouTube as opposed to on Twitter, which is famed for short, sharp posts that viewers can scroll through in seconds. Instagram, similarly, lends itself to shorter videos, whilst over on Facebook, you would be wise to stick to 60-90 seconds.
"YouTube defines a 'short' video as 4 minutes or less and 'long' as
over 20 minutes."
Customising your video length to each channel is likely to yield better results, so bear that in mind when filming or developing graphics.
If you are producing a video for an exhibition or trade show, again, consider how the video will be viewed - if too long, you risk over-crowding at your stand, if too short, you are unlikely to see much engagement or return on investment.
Rather than focusing on the length alone, it's important to focus on the content and purpose. If you can get your point across in a short period of time, do. Don't elongate a video simply to fill time - that's a sure recipe for losing your viewers as well as your meaning.
Whilst research shows that engagement can drop after 2 minutes, it also shows that there is not much difference between a 30 second and a 90 second video* so don't feel as though you 'need' to keep to 30 seconds each time - give yourself the room you need to ensure that you are communicating the right messages and enticing your viewer to take action.
Bearing in mind the potential drop off the longer a video continues, ensure that you grab viewers' attention from the outset. Make it clear what they will gain from watching the video and what they should 'do' afterwards.
Don't leave the 'important stuff' to the end - this includes your call to action.
Understand the factors involved and be mindful of length, but above all be concise, be relevant, be clear about your message and don't dawdle before getting to your point.
If you can make your videos shorter and make all the same points, then do. But don't lose sight of your audience, your platform and what you are hoping to achieve from your business video - stay true to your intentions and the duration will inevitably take care of itself.
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