What’s the first thing you do when you see a video as you scroll through your Facebook feed? I’d guess that you first check the length of the video to decide whether or not it’s worth the time to watch it. Even if you do press play, how often do you actually watch the entire video?
Only 52% of viewers actually watch a video all the way till the end. If a video is under 60 seconds, that number jumps to 68%. These days, it’s hard for marketers to hold the attention of consumers- small bites of consumable information are what people seem to crave right now- as a result, marketers are tailoring content to consumers’ short attention spans.
While the long-standing “2 minute” rule is still a good guideline to go by in regards to your video length, it’s important to tailor each video length to the specific platform on which you are posting the video. Odds are, someone is more likely to watch a 4-minute long video on YouTube, but only last a minute if the same video is on Twitter.
How Long Should Your Videos Be?
In a nutshell, your video really should only be as long as it needs to be in order to convey the message you are intending. The video should be engaging all the way through – providing information that is valuable or that tells a compelling story without any “fluff.”
Facebook videos can technically be up to 240 minutes long, but let’s be honest, nobody wants to watch a 240 minute video on Facebook. On Facebook, videos organically get exposure on a news feed when they are at least 3 minutes long. That doesn’t mean that all of your videos need to be 3 minutes long – you want to focus on the message of the video rather than time limits. The video itself is what captures interests and sparks engagement, not the length of the video.
Some other things to keep in mind when creating a video for Facebook: use eye-catching imagery early on in the video as the first few seconds will automatically play as viewers scroll through a newsfeed. In these first few seconds, it is crucial to include only the information you need to get your point across.
Instagram essentially has three different options for posting videos: Instagram Feed, Instagram Story, and Instagram TV (IGTV).
Videos posted in your Instagram feed can be up to 1 minute. That being said, Instagram is now set up so that if a video is posted to IGTV (more on IGTV below!), a 10-15 second preview will also show up in the regular feed. According to Hubspot research, videos that are, on average, 26 seconds receive the most comments on Instagram. Similar to Facebook, people are scrolling quickly through their Instagram feed and may not want to stop to watch a long video.
With Instagram Stories, each video uploaded directly to your story can be up to 15 seconds, but you can also post a longer video that will be broken up over multiple 15-second Instagram Story scenes. Statistics say that a story with 3 “parts” tends to be the most engaging.
Instagram TV (IGTV)
IGTV was designed with long-form videos in mind, so like Facebook, your video should only be as long as it needs to be in order to get the point across. Previews of your IGTV video now show up in the Instagram feed, and users must then tap “Keep Watching” to watch the rest of the video.
Originally, Twitter had a 30 second limit for video uploads, but it has now been extended to as long as 2 minutes and 20 seconds. However, since Twitter users are used to short updates, it’s usually best to keep your videos on the shorter side. You could always consider creating short teaser videos and linking out to the full video on another social media platform like YouTube.
The audience for YouTube is different from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter because users turn to YouTube specifically for video content! As a result, viewers are prepared for longer videos as they are not aimlessly scrolling through a feed. Similar to Facebook, YouTube rewards videos that have more engagement (watch time) and will feature them more prominently in search results. 6 to 8 minutes is usually the ideal length of a video on YouTube, BUT if you can get the information across in less than 6 minutes, avoid stretching the video out with filler content.
While we do live in a fast-paced, ‘results NOW’ world, a benefit of longer videos is that they can build loyalty and create engagement with your brand on social media – as long as you make sure you are optimizing the videos for the correct social media platform to maximize your views and engagement. When a viewer spends more time watching your video, it typically means the content resonates with them personally, increasing their interest in your company. Video content can help your target audience get to know your brand, create that personal connection and establish that long-standing loyalty!
Here at SocialKNX, we know that different social media channels may require different strategies. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you break your content into byte-sized pieces that get shared across the social media universe!