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Video Marketing: How Long Should Your Videos Be?


In today’s blog post, we’re talking about video marketing in 2021.

And if you haven’t heard yet video is kind of… awesome.

Just listen to some of these statistics…

Video ads are the number one way consumers discovered a brand they later purchased from. (Animoto)

95% of video marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service. (Wyzowl)

video marketing

And at our agency, we often get asked a lot questions like “What kind of videos should I make?”

Or “How long should my videos be?”

…and so that’s why in this post, we want give some suggestions around video marketing length for 2021.

So we’re going to go over two specific points, and then we’ll share some recommendations.

Why Are People Afraid To Do Video Marketing?

So our first point is around a big mistake we see people making when it comes to video marketing in general.

And this is thinking your video must have high production quality.

Ok, too many people think they need a high quality, grade A, Hollywood-like video production.

And doing something like that is very difficult because it requires a lot of resources.

Because of that, many people believe the barrier to entry is so high that they never decide to do any video marketing.

But that is a big mistake.

You don’t need a huge production set to make good videos.

One of our clients generated thousands in purchases and sales with a video that took very little time to produce.

video marketing

Here’s the video, check it out.

So as you can see, the video is relatively simple and still generates great results.

In fact, the video that is embedded at the top of this post was done solely by one of our founders.

So the key take away in this first point is this: don’t let the fear of video quality stop you from getting started.

Most people can get away with taking video footage straight from their smart phone.

How Long Should Your Videos Be When Used for Video Marketing?

Your video length should be determined by the problem + the platform.

(Video length = problem you’re solving + platform you’re publishing to)

Okay we’re getting a little deep here but it’s necessary because we’re tired of blogs and people just giving out a generic or arbitrary video length limits.

In fact, when you google “how long should video be”, you’ll get a recommendation that your videos should be 2 minutes or less.

And while it’s still a fairly decent recommendation, it doesn’t take into consideration other important factors.

So let’s break those down.

Factors to Consider to Determine How Long Your Videos Should Be

1. Problem

You need to be in tune with your audience’s problem because the only reason that anyone will want to watch your video is because you’re helping solve a problem or question they have.

Really think about “why” people are there watching your video.

Maybe they want to be entertained.

Maybe they want to learn something new.

Maybe they want to discover new products or services.

It’s up to you to determine what their problem is and make a video around it.

Now the scope or complexity of the problem, should determine the video length.

So let’s say someone has a problem and is trying to decide what t-shirt to buy next.

That is much less complex than someone who let’s say is in the market to buy a new car.

Because cars have so many unique specs and features, you’re going to need to present more information.

And hypothetically, need longer explanations. Which is why most car dealerships have salesmen.

But you can also accomplish that through video marketing.

In short, your video should be just as long as it needs to be in order to get your information across and not a minute longer.

Attention spans are short. And by designing your videos to be valuable all the way through, you’ll be more likely to keep viewers engaged.

Ok so we’ve determined what problem we’re solving with the video, now the next part of this video length equation is the platform.

2. Platform

Certain platforms can hold attention longer than others.

For example, users who are on TikTok or Snapchat will be accustomed to watching very short videos.

Whereas on platforms like YouTube, people are used to watching videos for much longer.

And if you can get people to commit to joining a live chat or a webinar, then you can get people to watch videos for even longer periods of time.

So let’s look at some general video length recommendations for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

This depends on a few factors. First, we’ll break it down for organic Facebook videos and then Facebook video ads.

Now a Facebook organic video is a video posted on your Facebook page without any advertising spend.

Facebook insights have been recommending and sharing that “videos get shown organically to more people when they’re at least 3 minutes long.”

But do all your organic Facebook videos need to be 3 minutes long?

Well if you are looking to tell long form stories or breaking down complicated concepts, then it likely is.

If you’re in the business of entertaining and creating binge worthy content, then creating videos at least 3 minutes long is likely a good idea as well.

However, it’s still important that you focus on your video’s message rather than the duration. And Facebook recommends this as well.

Publishing a video 3 minutes or longer on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean you will get more reach, because Facebook’s algorithm rewards engagement over duration.

So if you are keeping viewers engaged and commenting, then you will likely reach more people by getting a boost in their algorithm.

If you want to reach more people on Facebook, then you can pay to promote your videos.

Each time that someone watches your video for 3 seconds or more, Facebook will charge you for a view.

When advertising a Facebook video, cut to the chase and get your main point across as early as possible.

When you pay to promote a video as an ad, you’re showing up in the feeds of viewers that may not necessarily know who you are or be looking for your content.

So keep it short.

Let’s break things down for the feed and IGTV since currently, Instagram stories and reels have restrictions on time limits that force you to make your videos short.

Now videos in Instagram feed can be up to 1 minute long before transitioning into an IGTV video.

But we suggest keeping videos shorter than a minute.

Why? Because according to HubSpot research, videos that are on average of 26 seconds receive the most comments on Instagram.

video marketing

But why is this?

For one, people are used to scrolling quickly through their Instagram feed and stopping to watch a long video is going against some muscle memory.

Also, since you can’t rewind, some people may just move on if they miss a part of the video.

So how long should a video be on IGTV?

Well Instagram made IGTV for long form video. They really wanted a place where users can enjoy longform content and form a deeper connection with their favorite brands and people.

So we’ll have to fall back on the general rule. Your IGTV video should be as long as it needs to be in order to get the point across.

The main difference between YouTube and platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is that people on YouTube WANT to watch videos.

They are searching for video content instead of scrolling through the feed on other social media platforms, so they are prepared to watch longer videos.

It’s important to know that YouTube’s algorithm rewards videos with more watch time by showcasing them in search results and recommendations.

So uploading longer videos does give you a leg up when it comes to watch time, but only if your videos are engaging and viewers actually stick around.

But clearly on YouTube, you have many more opportunities for storytelling, or jokes, or just entertaining skits.

They key is to keep users engaged.

We’re actually finding more YouTubers recording longer videos and those longer videos tend to rank higher in search results.

But try to avoid too much fluff.

On Twitter, your videos can be as long as 2 minutes and 20 seconds — matching the number of characters that a tweet can be.

But Twitter users are accustomed to short updates so we recommend keeping your videos shorter.

Originally, Twitter had a 30-second limit for video uploads.

Although it’s been extended, we’d still recommend staying under 30 seconds for this platform.

What we do is create short teaser videos and link people out to longer-form content on YouTube or on Facebook.

There you have it! Some general guidelines on how long your videos should be.

Tips to Help Your Video Marketing

Now since you’ve made it this far, we got some bonus tips to help you with your video marketing in 2021.

As we’ve explained, video engagement is key for reaching more people.

Remember, video engagement is mainly measured by how long people are watching your video and if they are creating conversations around it by sharing or commenting.

So here are our tips!

1. Go Live 

When you go live with an audience, you instantly have a better chance of engagement because you can directly talk to your audience.

Instead of wondering what they may view as valuable, you can answer their questions and create conversations in real-time.

This is a user easy way to get a boost in engagement.

2. Save the best for first

Put your best screenshots and clips at the beginning of your videos to capture attention and get people to watch.

3. Optimize for sound off

85% of the people on Facebook watching video are watching with their sound off.

Perhaps they are in a public place, or just enjoy the experience better without audio distractions.

Either way, we like to add close captions to all our videos so people can follow along with the sound off and for videos with people not in the camera, you can do text stories.

Hopefully those tips help.

Lastly, here’s what our setup and equipment look like.

(vid footage)

But if you think you don’t have enough time to produce videos on your own, LYFE Marketing offers video production services too.

Simply contact us here so we can better discuss your needs and how we can help you.



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