Video length… Does size matter?
Well, in this situation and this situation only, smaller is better. When you’re considering the optimal video length on Instagram or Facebook, the shorter and denser you can make your message, the better.
Why? Well, the longer your video, the more likely your customer will be to lose interest and click away. The same is true for students, medical patients, and the average viewer as well!
To us, nothing demonstrates this better than a video in a series that we made for Dr. Susan Love about the cancer treatment process. The video in question? A short educational piece on “Chemo Brain”—you can watch it below.
Our Rule of Thumb: Keep It Short
In a recent study, Vanderbilt University found that viewers would turn off any educational video over the length of 6 minutes more often than not.
Other key takeaways included:
- The median engagement time with 9-12 minute videos was ~50%
- The median engagement time with 12-40 minute videos was ~20%.
Therefore, any instructional video over 9 minutes was not worth the effort of educators.
And these stats were for people who were watching videos specifically to learn. They weren’t just any Joe Schmoe or other random person surfing YouTube on their lunch break.
So, we can safely take the amount of time that Vanderbilt considers long enough and cut it down to a third of the length!
So, what video length do we recommend for your marketing materials?
Aim to keep your general marketing videos under 2 minutes and set a max of 3 minutes total (but even that’s pushing it). If you can get your videos below 30-60 seconds, that’s even better. This rule-of-thumb goes for most awareness campaigns, IGTV videos, landing page videos, and Facebook videos.
You can see this in action with the video we made for Susan Love. The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is committed to educating its patients. However, it’s a struggle to educate patients who have bad memories.
So, even though this video covers a heavy topic, it clocks in at around 3 minutes to help memory retention.
When Does Keeping Your Video Length Short Not Work?
Still, thanks to Vanderbilt, we know that the audience we’re aiming for can enjoy 6-9 minute educational marketing videos. So, when is it okay to wax on a little longer?
Our rule-of-thumb can be broken only when we know that our audience is actively trying to educate themselves. We’ve broken down situations when it’s okay to go into overtime by genre below.
Tutorial videos come into play when your prospect starts to explore and educate themselves before they make a purchase. They could be checking these out for lots of different reasons, including instructions, a detailed overview of what is included, and to get a sense of how easy your product will be to use.
So, how long should your tutorials be to make sure you cover everything thoroughly?
Aim for 2-9 minutes for a truly in-depth tutorial of your product.
A demo video can take the form of many things. You can create an unboxing demo, a use-case demo, a real-world demo, and more, often in collaboration with an influencer. If you work with an influencer to get a review, the video length will likely be out of your hands. However, if you produce an in-house demo independently, aim to keep it between 2-4 minutes long.
Demo videos don’t contain as much information as tutorial videos, so your customers are less likely to stick around.
If you have a lot to demo, consider making a playlist or video series like our work for Susan Love.
In the end, we produced 30 3-minute long informative videos to address their second pain point. Dr. Susan Love had so much information to convey that we could’ve made a feature-length video with the data we had. Instead, we broke their story down into easily digestible chunks for Dr. Susan Love’s patients to absorb more easily.
Hiring or Culture Videos
These videos are normally made to take to job fairs and live on “about us” pages. Anyone watching them will be invested enough to sit through a little bit more. So, you can feel comfortable extending your video’s length to 4 minutes.
This is another excellent kind of video to put on Instagram and Facebook as well. Culture videos or company explainers are great additions to your company’s outward image.
So, what should your video length on Facebook and Instagram be?
Try for 30 seconds to 4 minutes.
Thought Leadership Talks or Technical Messaging
What’s a thought leadership message or a technical message in video marketing?
This is how we like to refer to videos like Ted talks, guest lectures, public speeches, and other, more public, and in-depth forms of presentations.
Because it’s harder to control how long these videos last, it’s possible to get a 30-minute recording of you speaking to an audience.
Now 30-minutes is way too long. Instead, cut the video down into 5-9 minute chunks to minimize your viewer’s mental fatigue.
So, What Can you Learn From Dr. Love?
All told, the videos you create should be short, punchy, and impactful. The more you can create videos like Dr. Susan Love did, the more impact you’ll have on your target audience.
The proof is in the proverbial pudding as well. Rip Media Group was able to address the pain points that Dr. Susan Love was experiencing and, as a direct result, her patients were more well-informed and happier overall. Dr. Love’s foundation was also thrilled with the videos they received.
Want to start educating your audience with the right video length? We would love to help. Just reach out and start a dialogue!
Your story starts here.