Home > Video Marketing > How long should a marketing video be?

How long should a marketing video be?

This is a question that we get asked all the time: “How long should my marketing video be?” There is no single correct answer, but there is a basic logic formula to follow: the length of your video is directly related to the expectation of the viewer. A non-technical analogy would be a billboard on a freeway. It needs to communicate a clear and powerful message in just the few seconds the driver can look at it while driving by at 70mph. On the other hand, if I ask someone for more information about what they are selling, I’m willing to spend more time reading it.

Audience Attention Span for VideosStatistically speaking, within our own system the average time viewers spend watching videos is 83 seconds. However, the webinars our customers have uploaded skew the number to the high side. The median time viewers spend watching videos our customers have uploaded is 30 seconds. While the image is slightly dated (December 2008), TubeMogul did an interesting study that is still relevant today. The chart suggests a significant drop off of viewership as the video gets longer. The major takeaway here is to have the most relevant information as early as possible.

So how long should a marketing video be? The answer is that the earlier in the buying stage your viewer is, the shorter the video has to be. Let’s look at three basic stages of a marketing cycle and how they represent different viewer expectations.

1. Generate awareness / get their attention. Similar to a television commercial, this attention grabbing, brand identity building video should be roughly 30 seconds in length. Your goal is simply to let the viewer know you exist and operate within a particular industry or niche. These videos are great for YouTube and other video sharing sites whose primary benefit is not to convert, but help build awareness.

2. Get them interested. As you move from building awareness to generating interest, your prospect is probably looking to learn more about what you do. You now have their attention and need to clearly and concisely communicate your value proposition. As long as you keep them engaged throughout the video, you probably have 45 to 90 seconds to make your point. These company overview, high-level demos, and executive “vision statement” videos are great to place throughout your website.

3. Help them make their decision. This final stage of marketing (before the prospect becomes a sales lead) is your chance to stand out. Provide customer testimonials, in-depth product demos, or even thought leadership videos to help your prospect understand why you are better than everyone else in your space. While shorter videos are always preferred, as the prospect invests more time in getting to know your organization they are also willing to spend more time watching your videos. Testimonials, demos, and educational videos can be up to 2 to 5 minutes in length. The goal of these videos is conversion, so make sure your video has a web-to-lead form nearby. While some organizations require a viewer to input information in order to watch a demo or white paper, we believe at this stage in the process it makes more sense to provide the information freely and motivate action during or after the video. There is no need to turn them away before they learn why you’re different.

The most important issue to remember is the goal of each video. Whether you are getting your prospects attention, generating interest, or motivating a decision, the length of the video should be appropriate to the use-case, as well as the distribution mechanism. For example, while YouTube can be wonderful for branding, it lacks the ability to motivate your viewers to convert. Furthermore, as video use-cases get more specific for particular industries, length and distribution mechanisms change as well. For example, a recruiter would never want to put a candidate video on YouTube, while a hotel might want to have video integrated into software they are already using.

Video is proving to be the most powerful form of online communication, best of luck!

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  1. Adam
    January 10, 2011 at 8:02 am

    As a clarification, the data from the Vipe system is for the past 30 days.

  2. January 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    In my years of marketing online I have used video a great deal to sale as well as to make instructional how to videos.

    The length of your video will vary depending on it’s intended use.

    For the sake of marketing I have found that videos between 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length work best.

    When promoting or marketing something using video that’s longer than 4 minutes you will usually see a drop in the amount of time a person spends on your site watching it unless you have something that is niche specific which is totally new and turns that niche upside down

    To give an example:

    if I’m using a picture slide video for a house I’m selling most people will watch it for around 2 minutes, anything longer and I will start to see my viewing numbers fall.

    If I were to make a video on how to find local private lenders in your area, what to say to them and how to put your presentation together so your rate of success is better and this video ran 25 minutes, I’m sure this video would have a higher watch rate than the house selling video because I’m showing investors something that may be new to them or something they don’t know how to do.

    I could use both for marketing depending on what I’m trying to accomplish or I could use either as a mentor/training program.

    The key is being very clear on what you’re trying to accomplish with the video as well as your target market.

    As an overall rule I would say stick with videos no more than 4 minutes tops.

  3. February 8, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Very useful as I plan my first video clip.

  4. Adam
    February 8, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Susan – check out our new video platform http://www.vipecloud.com. Likely more relevant for you if you are doing video marketing.

  1. January 10, 2011 at 9:22 am
  2. January 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm

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