The Duration Situation: How long should my video be?

An issue that never seems to get resolved in the world of video for marketing and internal comms is that of optimum duration. Lately, the trend has been to create shorter content, with some films lasting as little as 6 seconds. Is that always the right way to go, though? How much can you say in 6 seconds?

The desperation to grab attention quickly and a fear of ‘losing’ the audience, coupled with the limitations on video length imposed by some social platforms, seems to have driven a charge towards shorter content.

Those familiar with our webinars and blogs won’t be surprised to hear me say that when deciding just how long films should be, we should always start by considering our objectives; where our audience sit in the sales funnel, and what we want them to do once they’ve seen our video should inform run time, rather than popular trends.

In a recent podcast with Steve Garvey from Moving Image we revealed just how ineffective shorter content can sometimes be, and Moving Image’s data proves that in terms of engagement, there is no automatic benefit to limiting video duration. It’s certainly true that shorter films will have higher retention in terms of percentage of video viewed, but for obvious reasons dwell time is typically much shorter. If you’re trying to increase time spent on your site, or exposure to your brand, longer films tend to be better; of course, the aforementioned limitations on social media, along with the browsing style of the audience, can be where shorter teaser content comes into its own to initially hook your audience.

Although it is possible to observe patterns across sectors, viewers, and platforms, it’s always essential to research your audience to find out where they are viewing content, and how they tend to engage. This insight can then inform your overall video strategy, and help you deliver much better results.

Simon Crofts
Client Services Director