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


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 have 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!

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.  

  • Videos that last 2 minutes 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.

Can We Talk About “A 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 cutting down your 10-minute video to last 2 minutes 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 what? On different factors: the content, the audience that is being targeted and the overall context. 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 depending on the content of your video, its length should differ.
  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. If we talk about social media channels, specifically about YouTube, the ideal length on this platform should be 3 minutes. 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.

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Popular Videos Formats And Their Ideal Lengths

Regarding length, we said that it all depends on each video, ok. But of course, there are also some general standards for some “popular video formats”, and The Next Web has compiled some interesting data on this:

  • 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.

Explainer Videos: Short Or Long?

Explainer videos are characterized by some unique features: they are short animated videos with one specific goal – delivering a business idea in just a matter of seconds. Is that all? No! They aim at doing this in an alluring, persuasive and compelling way, by leveraging the amazing power of imagery and animations.

With this in mind, and considering that these types of videos have to get straight to the point without losing their effectiveness, you can assume that they shouldn’t be long. And you’re right 🙂 If the idea is to give your audience a helpful solution to their pain points before they lose interest in what you have to say, then you can’t waste too much time.

Of course, the length of your explainer video could vary depending on different factors: the type of animated video you pick out, the field in which your company works and the stage of the sales funnel for which the video is made. But, despite this (and based on our experience), we can say that there is -indeed- an ideal length for animated marketing videos: between 60 and 90 seconds. In that amount of time, you can deliver your key messages with effectiveness without losing engagement. Watch this example:

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 these 60/90 seconds!

  • YouTube Cards: they give you the chance to add interactivity to your videos and encourage your viewers to take the step you want them to take. So, you gain in two ways: engagement + conversions.
  • Call To Actions: CTAs are another useful resource to keep your audience’s attention and lead them through the sales funnel. Don’t skip these tips to learn how to include Call To Actions in your explainer video.

These two 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 represents 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.
  5. Work with a professional explainer video production company who can assist you and orient you through the whole process. Picking out a talented team will certainly assure you with the best marketing results!

At Yum Yum we have many years of experience developing animated marketing videos with high commitment and focus. We think that the best way to get to a highly effective marketing video is by putting an eye on every single detail of the video production process. That’s why we also develop 100% custom videos. If you need help with your brand new animated video, feel free to drop us a line.

In this video you can learn a little bit more about us:


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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