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Short vs. Long Videos: What Is The Best Explainer Video Length?


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You’ve probably heard about the amazing engaging power that explainer videos have. Now the question could be: how long should your explainer video last so as to keep the audience’s attention while also having enough time to deliver the key messages that you need? Getting to that “middle point” is not a minor challenge at all. We’re here today to share with you some gold tips that will help you understand how long your animated marketing videos should last so as to make them entertaining but also effective. Read on!

What’s The Relationship Between Video Length And Engagement?

Did you know that people’s attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish? It may sound funny and also unbelievable…but it’s a fact! People’s attention span has decreased to 8.25 seconds. This means that you have to be highly creative and have a strategic mindset so as to develop video content that is appealing enough (to persuade them instantly) and also hold their attention throughout the entire video. Is this possible? Of course, it is!

But you don’t have to take our word for it. You can see it with your own eyes in the next explainer video we created for Catan. We tried to capture the viewer’s attention from the get-go and hold it throughout the whole video. Didn’t we nail it? 

Considering that you have less than 8 seconds to generate some kind of interest in your audience, you have to pay special attention to the duration of your marketing video. In this sense, there is quite a strong relationship between video length and engagement. And it’s not we at Yum Yum who are saying this. Stats seem to prove it! Just as a reference, check out some interesting data Wistia compiled in one of their studies about different types of marketing videos.  

  • 2-minute videos can generate great engagement. If you are capable of keeping your video under 120 seconds you will keep your viewers captivated.
  • From minute 2 till 3, there is an obvious drop in terms of engagement.
  • From minute 6 to 12, you have another interesting opportunity to connect with your audience.
  • From minute 12 on, stay alert, as every minute that goes by you’ll be losing engagement from your viewers.

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Can We Talk About “The Perfect Length”?

We have just revealed some interesting data from Wistia’s study. But please don’t put yourself in a strict position thinking that every single marketing video that you develop should last 2 minutes maximum! That would be a huge mistake. Thinking that reducing your 8-minute video to last 7 minutes would be a mistake. The same thing would be transforming your 10-minute piece into a 2-minute video to meet the “perfect standard”.

Just like a TED talk video normally lasts around 15 minutes, a pitching video 2 minutes, and a video advert less than 60 seconds, each video will have a specific length based on different factors like the content it covers, the audience that is being targeted, and the overall context of the piece. Let me explain each of these elements to you:

  1. The content: video marketing is a whole world apart and offers you tons of possibilities to communicate your ideas: educational videos, explainer videos, testimonial videos, behind-the-scenes videos, how-to videos, podcasts, and so on. Just remember that the content will determine if you should go for a short or long video.
  2. The target audience: for every communication campaign (including a video marketing campaign, of course!) knowing your target audience is a must. That’s the only way you’ll be able to get to them with a tailored and effective message. It’s also important that you identify what type of action you expect them to take. Entertaining them is not the same as training them, or simply informing someone.
  3. The context: ask yourself what types of devices and platforms your audience uses to access your video content. Also, look into their expectations. All of these factors will impact the length of your video. For example, Hubspot has revealed that videos under 5 minutes are widely chosen on smartphones. Regarding expectations, the way you present the content (title, thumbnail, etc.) and the platforms in which you promote it will predispose the viewers to “expect” a short or long video.

What is the Best Length for a Video?

The best starting point is to try and keep most of your videos under the two-minute mark. However, the optimal video length for every individual piece will vary depending on a number of factors, such as its intended audience, the channel you use to distribute it, and the “format” or style you go for.

The Next Web has compiled some interesting data on the topic of formats and length:

  • Tutorials: ideal length between 45 and 90 seconds.
  • Creative commercials: ideal length between 15 and 59 seconds.
  • Crowdfunding videos: ideal length would be an average of 2.5 minutes.
  • Testimonial videos: ideal length between 60 and 119 seconds.

Here’s an example of one of our testimonial videos with an ideal length. As you can see, all the necessary information fits comfortably into a 2-minute video!

How Long Should an Explainer Video Be?

Video Length vs. Audience Retention Graph

All things considered, the optimal length for an explainer video sits around the 90 seconds mark. Remember, explainers have one key goal: to deliver a business idea or message in just a matter of seconds – and do so in an alluring, persuasive, and compelling way.

It stands to reason, then, that these types of videos have to get straight to the point or risk losing their effectiveness. Since your focus is to provide a helpful solution to a viewer’s pain point, you have to do it before they lose interest in what you have to say. You can’t waste any time.

Of course, the specific length of each individual explainer can vary depending on different factors; the type of animated video you pick out, your company’s niche, the stage of the sales funnel for which the video is made… But even so, and based on our experience, we can say that there is a sweet spot for animated marketing videos, length-wise, between 60 and 90 seconds. In that amount of time, you can deliver your message effectively without losing engagement.

Here’s a great example! An explainer video we created for our friends at Branch, a mobile linking platform.

How Long Should a Social Media Video Be? YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram Video Length

Have you heard people saying “context is everything”? Well, that has never been truer than when talking about ideal video lengths for social media.

You see, every platform is a world apart. Not only do they allow different durations, but also the viewer’s length preferences vary significantly from one network to another. They even differ within the same platform, depending on the type of video.

So… how long should a social media video be?

There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Still, it’s safe to say that on certain platforms some lengths bring about more engagement than others. Let’s take a closer look:

Instagram Videos

This platform is meant for visual content, which is arguably the fastest type of content to consume. Maybe that’s the reason why short videos are more effective on this network than long videos. How short? It depends on the feature:

  • The optimal Instagram post video length is below the 30-second mark. To be more precise, according to Hubspot, 26-second video posts trigger the highest engagement.  
  • The Instagram story video length is up to 15 seconds per card. You can spend as many cards as you like to make a longer video, but it’s better to use less than 3. In other words, your video should last 45 seconds at most.

YouTube Videos

YouTube’s algorithm favors long videos since they make viewers spend more time on the platform. That’s why, nowadays, the average YouTube video length is about 10 minutes.

But this doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to create a long video! It’s no good filling your 2-minute video with fluff just to make it last longer. Viewers may abandon it and dislike it, and it still wouldn’t rank high on YouTube’s SERP. 

So, it’s hard to determine the best length for YouTube videos. The ideal duration depends on each specific audience and video type. We’ve talked about some formats’ standard lengths before, so click here to refresh your memory!

Facebook Videos

Facebook offers different types of video features, and each one of them has a distinct ideal video length. Let’s check them out:

  • Facebook organic video posts generate the highest engagement when they are about 90 seconds long. 
  • A Facebook story video can last up to 20 seconds.
  • A  Facebook video ad length should be less than 15 seconds, whether appearing before another video or in the news feed. The shorter the video ad, the higher the completion rate.

Why are Short Videos More Effective?

Because short videos tend to have higher retention rates, which leads to better performance from both an SEO and engagement standpoint. The shorter a video is, the more chances viewers will stick around until the end – which is the same as saying that fewer people will leave mid-video.

Most search engine algorithms are tweaked to prioritize content with high engagement rates, and incidentally, the more people watch your video, the better chances your message will reach them and that they’ll decide to share the piece.

Of course, these aren’t all the dynamics in play as far as video effectiveness and length there are – an extremely short video will help you little if your message is not being conveyed effectively! But, it does suggest that, within reason, the shorter you can make a video, the better it’ll tend to perform.

Video Lenght Best Practices

Here are some general practices that can help you shorten a videos’ runtime:

  • Research your audience ahead of time: find out the type of content they enjoy and use it as a guide.
  • Start strong: suspense is great for Hollywood, but online people prefer content that goes straight to the point.
  • Focus on a single idea or key concept: use the rest of the time to expand upon it.
  • Avoid dead-air time: your videos’ editing should be snappy and fluid to keep viewers’ engaged.
  • Don’t try to cram everything in a single piece: if your topic is extensive, a video series might be advisable.

How Can You Keep Your Audience’s Attention?

There are some tips and tricks you can implement to avoid viewer drop-offs in your explainer video. Check out these useful resources that will help you get the most out of these 60/90 seconds!

  • Call To Actions: CTAs are a useful resource to keep your audience’s attention and lead them through the sales funnel.
  • Captions or Subtitles: Most people watch videos without sound, especially on their cell phones. Adding captions or subtitles to your video can make it more understandable and engaging even when muted.

These useful resources can help you keep your audience’s attention and interest. But if your marketing video does not perform as you expect, there might be some other reasons behind it: a poor script, or maybe a bad quality video in general.

In order to get the most out of your marketing video, always try to follow these guidelines:

  1. Include your audience’s pain points at the very beginning of your video so as to quickly grab their attention. Make it in an interesting, clear, and direct way.
  2. Work on a custom video. This will make a huge difference in terms of engagement and memorability. If you customize the characters, landscapes, and backgrounds of your video, you will set up a strong emotional connection with your viewers (they will feel that the story was specially made for them).
  3. Make a high-quality video. Treat your video with dedication, focus, and detail in every single stage of the video production process.
  4. Give your marketing video the right length. Just for you to know, 160 scripted words in English represent around one minute of video. You will then need 240 words for a 90-second video. We invite you to get our free eBook on “How to write a script for an explainer video” for more useful information on scriptwriting.

How to Choose an Explainer Video Company That Suits Your Needs

Leaving your explainer video in the hands of a talented team is one of the best decisions you can take for the sake of your video marketing campaign. They can make your video the ideal length and make a huge difference in its quality and performance.

As you can see, selecting a professional video company is a make-or-break decision, and as such, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have to consider many factors before making this kind of choice.

But don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together some essential aspects you should bear in mind when choosing the company that will take care of your explainer video:

  •  Quality and Expertise: Don’t pick out a video company before checking out their portfolio! See if their style and their works’ quality suit your business. 
  • Communication: The video company you choose should be able to receive your input and inform you of how the production process is going. Go for a company that can ensure a smooth communication flow throughout the whole process.
  • Customization: Pick out a company that can create an original video meant for you and your audience. Template pieces may not convey your brand’s authentic feel.    
  • Feedback: Former clients’ opinions can speak volumes about the way a company works. That’s why it’s always useful to check out reviews, testimonial videos, and general feedback about a video company before making a choice. 
  • Price: This factor depends greatly on your budget. But keep in mind that cheap video production services often use templates, so the price you pay may reflect in the video’s quality and customization.

At the end of the day, the video company you go for should guarantee your satisfaction during the production process and with the final result.

How Yum Yum Videos Can Help with Your Explainer Video

At Yum Yum, there’s nothing we enjoy more than seeing our customers satisfied with their customized explainer video. That’s why we always focus on their needs, balancing our creativity with their marketing requirements.

The next reel contains some of our favorite works. Now, if you want to check out more great videos, you are welcome to stop by our portfolio anytime! 

Modesty aside, we are proud of the way we handle our projects, and for a bunch of good reasons! Just check out some of the things that put us a step ahead from other video companies:

  • We provide our clients with an integrated marketing strategy that can take their business to the next level.
  • We create fully customized animated videos, making sure of meeting the client’s needs and expectations.
  • We provide one of the best qualities in the market. After all, we can’t help to be detail-oriented people!
  • We offer the best price-quality guarantee.
  • We are an experienced video company, having worked with firms from over 20 countries. In our portfolio, you can find the videos we created for well-known brands like Wal-Mart, DocuSign, Fox, Red Bull, and McKesson, to name a few. 
  • We like to be there for our clients! We are always available for listening to their feedback or clearing up their doubts.

So, if you need help with your brand new animated video, feel free to drop us a line.

Conclusion

According to some studies, it seems that the ideal video length is 2 minutes. But does this mean that every single video that you develop should last 120 seconds? Of course, there are some important considerations you should bear in mind to make it highly engaging and also effective (ultimately, you want to achieve your marketing goals, right?). And you also have to remember that the length of your video will depend on several factors.

Talking about explainer videos, in particular, there is a right answer between “short” and “long”. And if you complement it with some of the best practices in the explainer video production process (just like the ones we mentioned in this blog post) you will certainly get amazing results. All hands on deck!

Finally, take a few minutes to surf our video marketing resources section, in which you’ll find different eBooks, slides, infographics, and videos for your interest!

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