So, you want to add video to your marketing plan. Almost as soon as you sit down with your team and start the discussion, someone invariably asks, “How long should the video be?” The conversation might go something like this:
“Commercials are 30 seconds, obviously that’s a good length.”
“15-minute TED Talks are popular, maybe the longer the better?”
“Tasty recipe videos are 3–5 minutes. Everyone loves those!”
“I googled it—Wistia says 2 minutes is the perfect length.”
You’re left wondering how all of these can be right … and also wrong. Truth is the ideal length is different for every video, and determining it depends on a lot of variables. What are we trying to accomplish? Who is the audience? Why are they watching? Where are they watching? And so on.
To help you understand how and why videos can be successful in a wide range of lengths, take a look at a few scenarios where Street Level Studio’s video production team let the length of the video naturally evolve from the strategy behind it.
Scenario 1: Video for social posts
Content is going to be way more important than length in a social post, but it still matters. Think about your own experience on social media. When you’re scrolling, videos have a couple seconds to grab your attention or not. If the first 5 seconds are engaging, it won’t matter if it’s a 30-second ad or an 8-minute TED talk. But, as you’re watching, if it starts to feel a little long, you’re likely to check the clock. You might carve out a few more seconds to finish a video, but you probably won’t stick around for 5 or 10 more minutes.
Street Level Studio’s client Blomberg wanted to drive awareness via social channels using video to spotlight key product features and benefits. Blomberg is an internationally known home appliance brand focusing on premium, compact products for urban builders. A jazz soundtrack was chosen to align with their sophisticated target audience and draw the viewer through the quick video. Watch the upbeat 30-second video here!
Scenario 2: Video for any outlet
Sometimes you just know you need video marketing and you need it everywhere. Maybe it will be a commercial, perhaps a social post, shown at a meeting, or even the headlining content on a landing page. It’s great to have options with marketing materials. But creating versatile collateral can be tricky. The video should share enough information to gain interest, but not show the viewer everything. In these situations, the video itself can become the call to action— directing viewers to your website, sales reps, or brick-and-mortar location to “seal the deal.”
Canon Solutions America needed a video to tease the introduction of a revolutionary new product featuring proprietary technology. Initially, the video would be created for a by-invitation-only event to highlight product benefits without revealing what the product looks like. Our team felt this was the perfect time to create a video similar to a movie trailer. After the initial event, it could be distributed across multiple platforms and continue generating buzz. Opting for a medium-length video not only afforded the client multiple opportunities to build anticipation in advance of the product release but also kept production costs low without sacrificing any relevant or intriguing content. What are you waiting for? Watch the teaser video here!
Scenario 3: Video for trade shows or showrooms
At trade shows, you’re trying to create a brand island in a sea of bright lights and attention grabbers. Likewise, in a showroom, your brand is not only competing for attention with several other brands but also with POP displays and promotional deals. In these environments, a longer video with smaller segments might be the most appropriate way to speak on the brand’s behalf until a face-to-face, in-person connection can be made.
Beko is a huge global home appliance brand relatively new to the US market. To promote their advanced technology and emphasis on empowering healthy family living, Beko needed an introductory video that could stand out in crowded retail environments and appliance showrooms. Effectively communicating their brand values, showcasing unique product features, and telling their story required a longer video. Driven by text animation that encourages viewers to read content while digesting visuals, the video offered a variety of ways to learn about the brand and increased the likelihood that viewers would retain the information and gain confidence in a brand they probably hadn’t heard of before coming into the store. “Meet Beko” and watch the video here!
The last word
There’s no denying we’re a society of shrinking attention spans (which means we probably should have cut this blog shorter)! It’s important to use the golden rule of marketing: Keep it short and simple. Don’t show 10 minutes when 3 will do, but don’t cut to 1 minute when 6 is not only appropriate but also beneficial.¬ While it’s true what Wistia’s data says—the video length sweet spot is 2 minutes—don’t forget that content, intention, placement, and value to the audience are the real key drivers of viewer engagement. And that takes as long as it takes.