February 19, 2021·8 min read
The rule of thumb is to keep most videos under two minutes, but optimal video length varies depending on where you share or embed it. Tips for each channel.
Most marketing videos should be two minutes or less. Generally. But the length for any particular video depends entirely on the use case, channel, industry, and where it fits in the marketing and sales funnel. The earlier the stage, the shorter. The later, the longer. Below are recommendations for nearly every conceivable scenario.
Some video stats:
- 1.How Long Should Videos Be on Social Media?
- 1.1Instagram Video Length
- 1.2Facebook Video Length
- 1.3LinkedIn Video Length
- 1.4What is the Ideal YouTube Video Length
- 1.5Twitter Video Length
- 1.6Pinterest Video Length
- 1.7Snapchat Video Length
- 2.How Long Should Video Be on Digital Channels?
- 2.1Website Video Length
- 2.2Landing Pages Video Length
- 2.3Email Marketing Video Length
- 2.4Sales Video Length
- 3.How Long Should Different Types of Video Be?
- 3.1Explainer Video Length
- 3.2How-To or Tutorial Video Length
- 3.3Demo Video Length
- 3.4Case Study Video Length
- 3.5Webinar Length
- 3.6One-to-One Sales Video Length
- 3.7Promo Video Length
- 3.8Culture Video Length
- 3.9Interview Video Length
- 3.10Thought Leadership Video Length
- 4.Video Length Best Practices
- 4.1Shorter is (Almost) Always Better
- 4.2Different Objectives Call for Different Lengths
- 4.3Track Your Efforts
- 4.4Capture Attention Quickly
Bonus: Find out how long your video will be using Vidyard’s free script timer tool.
No two social media sites are the same, so no two video lengths are the same. A YouTube viewer, for instance, may happily watch for four minutes whereas an Instagram user probably won’t give it more than 15 seconds. On top of all that, social algorithms are always being updated, so what’s true today may change. Below are tips for each channel.
Instagram Video Length
Make your Instagram videos around 30 seconds long. Although the platform gives you up to 60 seconds, the midway point is the sweet spot for Instagram’s busy, multi-tasking, often traveling audience. When it comes to video ads and Instagram Stories ads, try to cover your key message in the first 15 seconds.
For IGTV (short for Instagram TV) videos can be 10 minutes long. Larger brands can petition to have their video limit increased to one hour.
For Instagram Live Videos, hit record and just keep filming. The longer you roll, the larger the audience you’ll have the opportunity to attract. The maximum length is 60 minutes, but you can start another live broadcast immediately after, if desired. Shoot for at least 10 minutes, but longer is often better when it comes to this format.
Facebook Video Length
Successful in-feed Facebook videos tend to be 24 to 90 seconds long. Facebook videos are permitted to roll for an epic four hours, but just because you can upload Gone with the Wind doesn’t mean you should. It probably far exceeds the Facebook user’s attention span, and that’s a lot of video to produce.
On the other end of the spectrum are Facebook Stories—those user-generated videos that expire after 24 hours—which can’t exceed 20 seconds. For Facebook ads, put the juiciest information in the first five to 10 seconds, though these can also be four hours long.
Facebook Live is a great way to connect with customers in real-time. You can broadcast for up to four hours and, as with Instagram Live, the longer your live video runs, the greater your chances that people will discover it. Just make sure not to go below 10 minutes, which is about how much time it takes for people to be notified and tune in.
Pro Tip: To make your brand’s Facebook page more engaging, replace the cover photo (the large picture at the top of your profile) with a 20 to 90-second video, or swap your profile picture with a seven-second profile video or animated GIF.
LinkedIn Video Length
We recommend that LinkedIn videos run between 30 seconds and five minutes, with a maximum of 10 minutes. LinkedIn’s viewers aren’t your standard social media surfers: They’re professionals at work with more time to digest. Nearly three-quarters of business executives, almost all who are on LinkedIn, say they watch online videos every week.
If you’re running LinkedIn video ads, however, make them shorter: 15 seconds is ideal, with a maximum of 30 seconds.
What is the Ideal YouTube Video Length
Make B2B videos on YouTube two minutes or less. Though YouTube videos can run for up to 12 hours, demand for that type of content probably isn’t there for most branded content.
As for video ads, our advice is to stick to 15 to 20 seconds if you’re using pre-roll ads, or six seconds for what are known as bumper ads, which are intended for brand awareness.
Twitter Video Length
Video tweets and Twitter video ads should both be 20 to 45 seconds long. Though they can be as long as two minutes and 20 seconds. It should come as no surprise that on the platform built for brevity, people don’t linger long.
Pinterest Video Length
Pinterest videos should be 15 to 30 seconds, unless they’re an explainer or demo, in which case, longer is fine. Pinterest bills itself as “the discovery platform” and people go there for how-to answers similar to how they use YouTube. While demos on the platform can be up to 30 minutes long, yours shouldn’t be. Offer a short and sweet answer with a beautiful, pinnable thumbnail.
Snapchat Video Length
True to its name, Snapchat videos are over in a snap: 10 seconds, that’s it. Don’t try to compress your entire message into that tiny blip. Rather, give your audience an intriguing taste of what you do and leave them with a link, hashtag, or URL to learn more.
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How Long Should Video Be on Digital Channels?
Once again, there is no one video length best practice. It depends on the channel, how users behave there, what they expect, their vertical, use case, buying stage, the product, and the video format. A rule of thumb, though: If it’s cold outreach, keep it under one minute. Below are guidelines for each channel and format.
Website Video Length
The optimal length of a homepage video is similar to that of a TV commercial—30 to 60 seconds. You can go over, but only if the video is substantive. Website videos don’t necessarily need to offer complete answers, either. Homepage explainer videos that tease the value of your product but leave some questions unanswered are more likely to drive viewers to schedule a sales call.
Landing Pages Video Length
Make your landing page videos short: 30 to 60 seconds. Studies show that one fifth of landing page viewers bounce after 10 seconds. One-third bounce within 30 seconds. Videos can help hold their attention, and can do a lot to increase conversions; simply including them increases conversions 80%.
Pro Tip: Place your video above the fold so it’s one of the first things viewers see.
Email Marketing Video Length
There’s no optimal video length for emails but in most cases, we recommend keeping it to 45 seconds or under (unless you have a highly engaged audience). Make sure the subject line contains the word “video,” which can increase open rates 19%, and the email body contains a clickable thumbnail, which increases clicks 65%.
Sales Video Length
The earlier stage the outreach, the shorter the video, generally. Cold outreach videos should be 30 seconds or under, but mid and late-stage outreach usually involves answering questions and those videos can be several minutes long.
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How Long Should Different Types of Video Be?
Make your top-of-funnel videos short and snappy—think a matter of seconds, not minutes. Window shoppers and unaware prospects typically won’t invest much time. The further you go down the funnel, however, the longer your videos can afford to be—think minutes. The optimal video length is whatever viewers are willing to consume.
Explainer Video Length
Make your explainer videos 60 to 90 seconds. These are generally top-of-funnel assets but, unlike ads, they imply some intent on the viewer’s part to learn about the product. If it takes over a minute to deliver on that answer, it’s not the end of the world.
How-To or Tutorial Video Length
Mid-funnel how-to videos should be between two and 10 minutes. By this point, you have your audience’s interest and engagement, and the goal is to teach more than it is to entertain. Or, perhaps they’re customers, and the goal is to teach them how the service or product works, in which case, they’re probably fairly forgiving. But the more you can condense your message, say things concisely, and let viewers get on with their day, the more the videos will be appreciated and perhaps even shared.
Demo Video Length
Make your demo videos two to five minutes long. It’s better to produce several smaller demos, each on one aspect or feature of the product, than one big one. It’s a lower barrier to entry for your viewers, and you can always string them together in a playlist for those who want the whole thing.
Case Study Video Length
Case study video length can vary widely, but viewers are likely mid or late-stage prospects who are apt to consume five to 10 minutes of video. You can always cut up longer video case studies into bite-sized 60 to 90-second testimonials, which are useful on your website, in email, and on social channels.
Make webinars 15 to 60 minutes long. Webinars are for deep-diving into topics and often feature multiple speakers, segments, and a Q&A. You can experiment with shorter ones, though: In the B2B marketing world, the webinine, or nine-minute webinar popularized by Jay Baer, is gaining traction.
One-to-One Sales Video Length
Sales outreach, especially to cold prospects, should be short: 30 to 60 seconds. Any longer and you’re liable to spoil their appetite for talking more. Mid- and late-stage sales outreach to reconnect with prospects who have gone cold or who have paused their evaluation, should be about the same. But if you’re answering a prospect’s question, the video can be longer. They requested it, after all.
Promo Video Length
Make your promo videos the same as traditional TV advertisements: 30 to 60 seconds. It’s a tried and true format and, if it’s good enough for the big advertisers, it’s good enough for most businesses.
Culture Video Length
Make your company culture videos two to four minutes long (think fun holiday video, or if you’re trying to attract candidates with a recruiting-style culture video, go shorter: One to two minutes.
Interview Video Length
Interview videos are a special case that can be on the lengthier side. If your CEO interviews a special guest for a fireside chat, it’s probably okay that it runs longer that most—say, six to 10 minutes. That gives them enough time to go back and forth a few times, and for the conversation to explore multiple stories and perspectives.
Thought Leadership Video Length
Thought leadership video length depends heavily on the use case, format, and content. If you’ve got a well-rehearsed, revelatory message, 10 to 15 minutes is appropriate. (That’s about the length of a TED Talk.) If you’ve only got a short, informal update recorded on your smartphone at a conference and bound for Twitter or LinkedIn, 45 seconds to two minutes is probably all you need.
Video Length Best Practices
The best practice for video length is to test and find what works for your audience. If the video will be viewed by someone who doesn’t know you, and who hasn’t signed up to view it, assume it should be less than two minutes. If they’ve requested the video, it can probably be longer.
Shorter is (Almost) Always Better
Two-thirds (68%) of viewers watch business-related videos all the way to the end if they’re less than 60 seconds, but only 25% will finish a video if it’s more than 20 minutes long. Use analytics to find out where people drop off, then edit accordingly or, at the very least, apply the lessons to future content.
Different Objectives Call for Different Lengths
Video length is dependent on the video’s ultimate goal and the target viewer’s funnel stage, and therefore a viewer’s level of investment and commitment to you. Remember too that view counts don’t necessarily equal success. Judge video success by richer metrics like signups, conversions, pipeline, and revenue.
Track Your Efforts
Use video analytics so you know what’s working and what isn’t, what changes to make to increase conversions, and your return on investment (ROI). In 2018, 85% of businesses reported using some form of video analytics, up 19% over 2017, and those using analytics tended to be more successful.
Capture Attention Quickly
If the majority of your viewers only make it halfway through your video, but the most important message is three-quarters of the way in, then they’re missing the point entirely. Get to your message quickly—ideally within the first quarter of the video.
This post was originally published on September 19, 2019. It was updated on February 19, 2021.
Chris Gillespie is the writer and founder behind Find A Way Media which helps great businesses create killer marketing content. Based in Brooklyn, Chris spent years selling SaaS technology solutions and now helps those companies craft their content marketing strategies.