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How Long Should Your Explainer Video Be So it Doesn’t Lose Engagement?


When you develop an explainer video, you have to, on one hand, make it highly engaging and attractive so as to quickly grab your audience’s attention (there are lots of competitors struggling for a place in their minds!). But at the same time, you need enough time to deliver your key messages that will position your brand and product well. In this context, you could be asking yourself: ”how long should my explainer video be so it doesn’t lose engagement?”. In today’s blog post we have compiled some useful tips. Read on!

Video Content: The Connection Between Video Length And Engagement

Did you know that the average attention span has decreased to 8.25 seconds? Getting people’s attention and interest is not an easy task. Hence, you have to focus on developing highly engaging video content that catches their attention from the very beginning and keeps it all the way through. And hey…if this seems too challenging, at least you should make them remember something about your video, which is also quite ambitious..but not impossible!

If we consider that the average attention span is really short, it’s vital that you focus on how long your marketing video should be. In fact, there are several reports that refer to the connection between video length and engagement. For instance, check out some of the most remarkable highlights of a study carried out by Wistia, one of the most popular video hosting platforms on the web.

  • Videos that are up to 2 minutes get huge engagement. If you keep your video under 2 minutes your audience will stay entertained.
  • Between 2 and 3 minutes, they’ve found that there is an important drop in engagement.
  • From minute 6 to 12 you have a good opportunity to connect with your audience.
  • Pay attention from minute 12 on, since engagement starts to drop…

Is There An “Ideal” Length?

Now that you have Wistia’s data in mind, you could be thinking that every single marketing video should last 2 minutes to be the most engaging, attractive and memorable video ever. Wrong assumption! The length of your marketing video depends on many different factors, such as the type of content you want to promote, the target audience you’re aiming to, and the overall context.

The worst thing you could do is cut down your 8-minute video to 7 minutes because it won’t make a large difference in terms of engagement. Similarly, shortening your 10-minute video to make it fit with the 2-minute standard could also be a mistake. This is because you would be acting deliberately based on some (useful but generic) stats, instead of analyzing your specific needs.

Can you imagine a TED talk video of 2 minutes? Useless. Can you picture a pitching video of 10 minutes? Ineffective. How about an advertising video of 5 minutes? Worthless. Remember then: everything depends on the content itself, who will watch your video and in which context. Let’s review these factors in detail:

The type of content

The video marketing world offers you a wide range of possibilities to meet your specific needs: animated marketing videos, educational videos, behind the scenes videos, tutorials, webinars, and more. The type of video content you develop will define the length it will have. The reason why might be obvious: some types of videos demand more minutes and some others can be solved with the blink of an eye.

The target audience you aim to

This is another important factor that will impact the length of your video: who are you trying to reach and what type of action do you want them to take? Make sure you have a clear idea on this. Educating your audience is completely different than just entertaining them, or trying to sell a product.

The context

Some other contextual factors also play a key role in how long your video should be. Take the time to analyze the type of devices and the platforms your target audience would use to access your video content, and which general expectations they have. For example, the renowned Hubspot has shared some useful stats that reflect that videos that are shorter than 5 minutes are mainly chosen to be seen on smartphones. When it comes to social media, the ideal video length on YouTube, for instance, seems to be 3 minutes. Regarding expectations, try to understand and meet your audience’s needs: the title you use (the way it’s written, what it is about, etc.), the thumbnail that represents your video, the platforms in which you spread your video, etc. are all important factors that will make your audience think that the video will be short…or long.

Standard Video Lengths: Some General Data

So far, you know that depending on the type of video content you develop you will have to “meet” a specific length. In this matter, The Next Web has revealed some interesting information about some popular video formats and the ideal length each one should have. Check it out!

  • Tutorial videos should be between 45 and 90 seconds. Making them longer than this will make the viewer feel like the content demands more time and concentration to be assimilated.
  • Creative commercials should be between 15 and 59 seconds. It’s not a secret that commercial ads have to be short to be effective and meet the market standards.
  • Crowdfunding videos can last 2.5 minutes on average. When people watch this kind of video, they already know that they’re about to “learn” something and that it requires a little more time.
  • Customer testimonial videos can last between 60 and 119 seconds. In this case, the viewer is also well predisposed to invest a little more time in what the speaker has to say, as they have a genuine interest in the product/brand the speaker is talking about. Watch this example:

The Moment Of Truth: How Long Should Your Explainer Video Be?

If you’re thinking about developing an explainer video, it’s likely that you know the true essence of this type of content. This cool animated marketing video aims at delivering a business idea in a fast, persuasive and alluring way, by making use of catchy visuals and animations. To put it simply: they explain, in just a matter of seconds, what the company does, how they can help customers and why they’re the best alternative in their niche.

Due to their specific characteristics, (and remember that we said “true essence”…“just a matter of seconds”) this type of video has to be short. Don’t forget that the idea is to pass out a strong, solid and inspiring message that can encourage your viewers to take action in the direction you want. You have to give them a compelling reason for why they should pick you out as their vendor!

Obviously, the type of animated marketing video you produce, the field in which your company acts and the stage of the buyer’s journey for which it’s made for will define the specific length of your animated video. But, from a general point of view, and based on our wide experience in video production, here’s the truth: the ideal length of your explainer video is between 60 and 90 seconds. Neither less, nor more. That’s the perfect length you need to pass out your key messages, keep your viewers hooked in front of the screen, and persuade them to take the next step in the direction you want, without losing engagement.

How Can You Increase Engagement In Your Explainer Video?

Considering that you only have 60/90 seconds to include all the relevant information (while also being entertaining and persuasive) here we have some useful resources that will certainly help you to get the most out of those precious seconds. Here we go!

  • YouTube Cards can help you lead your viewers to take action in the direction you want. They add a good dose of interactivity and are a very helpful resource to grab your audience’s attention and guide them to take the next step.
  • Including a compelling and strong Call To Action (CTA) is also a great alternative. If used the right way, they can help you attract your audience’s attention and encourage them to do a specific action. Don’t miss these killer tips to learn how to add effective Call To Actions to your explainer videos.

These two resources will certainly help you to avoid dropped views while increasing engagement. But of course, the performance of your video can also be affected by some other factors, such as a bad script or the low quality of the overall footage.

Always try to follow these tips in order to get the best quality in your script in the entire video:

  1. Include the problem you’re trying to solve in the very first few seconds of your video. This will help you quickly grab your audience’s attention as they’re looking for a specific solution to their needs.
  2. Make sure your explainer video is customized to meet your marketing goals and target audience’s needs. This will make your viewers feel connected with the story that is being told and will consequently enhance their trust and confidence towards your proposal.
  3. Aim for the best quality standards: quality in every single detail of the video production process is what will lead you to a highly attractive, engaging and memorable video.
  4. Give your marketing video the specific length it demands. Just as a reference, 160 scripted words in English is equal to one minute in video or so. Hence, if you aim for making a 90-second video, you will need 240 words in your script. If you want to get some useful tips on scriptwriting, feel free to download our eBook on How to write a script for an explainer video”.
  5. It’s always better to hire a professional an explainer video production company than to use a template video, some software that you may find on the Internet or some template videos that you may have on your computer. A talented video production company has all the knowledge and skills you need to get to a highly effective marketing video that gets the best ROI!

At Yum Yum, for instance, we have many years of experience in explainer video production and have worked for many companies and startups from different industries and sizes. So feel free to get in touch with us and we will be glad to help you out with the development of your next explainer video.

In Summary

It seems that videos that are 2-minute long get huge engagement rates. But does this rule apply for every single type of video? What if you need some extra time to pass out your key messages or to educate your audience? Be careful, as the video length goes hand in hand with the engagement you’ll get from your viewers.

Regarding explainer videos, in particular, they have a particular idiosyncrasy and need to have a specific length. At the same time, you need to follow some basic production standards to make sure you enhance its engagement in order to get the ROI you expect.

We hope the tips in this article have helped you get to a highly effective marketing video!

Finally, take a look at our video marketing resources to get interesting tips and information about scriptwriting, video SEO, and more!


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