The Long and Short of it – What's the Best Length for Your Video?


Video marketing. So hot right now. Videos are very effective at getting key messages to a target audience in a small amount of time (sorry, did you say maximum results at a minimum effort?). As a marketing channel, it’s renowned for engagement and conversion rates, with over 70% of marketers claiming that video produces more conversions than any other content type.

That said, if you’re using video marketing, do you know how long your video should be? We can’t promise you Gangnam-style popularity, but we can give you some rock-solid advice on the length your videos should be, plus some bonus tips on optimising your content.

For the majority of cases, video marketing isn’t going to be feature-film length, but there is no hard and fast rule on recommended video length. It actually depends on a lot of variables, such as: who is the audience? What is the purpose of your video? Where will you be posting it? When getting started, we recommend doing some research into your target audience and jotting down a list of your objectives before you get too carried away. Consider some of these guidelines below on various video lengths, and see if they suit your video purpose.

6.5 Seconds

In doing research for this blog, we typed ‘what are vines good for?’ into the Google search bar. As it turns out, these 6.5 second mini-flicks are actually alright. They’re:

  • Shareable, especially on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Twitter actually acquired Vine back in 2013, so if your marketing strategy is Twitter heavy, you might want to consider looking into Vines.
  • They’re also very engaging. When was the last time you saw a vine with under a thousand likes or comments on Facebook?
  • If you’re clever, you can voice a strong point in a very short amount of time.

If you think businesses can’t do Vines, prepare to be surprised. Here are a few of our faves:

15 Seconds

Instagram videos are also short and snappy – with the max length of 15 seconds, you have to be savvy about what you’re recording. The good thing about Instagram videos is they don’t always have to be professionally shot. You can create great, engaging content with an iPhone or maybe use Hyperlapse to jazz things up a little.

2–5 minutes

If you’re thinking that everyone’s attention span has just shriveled up, think again. Longer videos (between two and five minutes) are great for things like tutorials, testimonials or web series. The trick with longer videos is to have a killer introduction, so people are immediately engaged. This length of video is great to share on YouTube or to embed on your website (according to Mist Media, the average internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video).

10 minutes and beyond

If your brand is launching into the 10+ minutes bracket you probably have great reasons to do so. Although most people will recommend keeping your video marketing shot, think back to the viral video for the Kony campaign, back in 2012 – that was a whopping 30 minute video! So don’t discount the long video, just make sure you consider the reasons why your audience would want to invest the time and make it engaging. By default, YouTube only allows you to upload videos that are up to 15 minutes long, but if yours is a whopper, here’s how to get around that!

If you’re looking for inspiration about what length your video should be, check out Unruy’s Viral Video Chart. They’ve been keeping track of the most shared videos since 2006 – and it certainly says a lot about what videos people are viewing. As you can see, they’re either short and sweet or longer with more comprehensive information. Here at Loves Data, we believe that good quality content can come in different shapes and sizes.

Looking for a few more tips to make your video marketing campaigns a success? We’ve got your back.

1. Post your video natively to Facebook

If you’re going to the effort of creating videos, it’s important that you make the most of them by sharing them on social. Although it looks great on your YouTube channel if you have more views, your video will have up to three times the organic reach if you upload it directly to Facebook.

2. Track your embedded YouTube videos with Google Analytics

This can give you an understanding of how people have engaged with your videos. You can discover helpful insights, like if they watched it to the end of if they clicked play – which is pretty handy information when you’re optimising your videos.

3. Optimise your video for YouTube and Google using keywords

Just like you’d optimise an important landing page for organic search, make sure you optimise your YouTube video with relevant keywords so that it can be found among the billions of other videos.

4. Brand your video

Call us old-fashioned, but there’s no point investing in a video marketing campaign if it doesn’t fit within your company branding. It’s a great way to get your company’s name out there, without being TOO obvious.