How Long Should Your Video Be?

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Author: Charlie Staindl
Date: July 15, 2021

So you’ve got the brief: you’ve got to create a video that manages to grab people’s attention, and deliver all the relevant information, while also being entertaining enough that they watch the whole thing, and short enough that they don’t tune it out. It’s a lot to consider.

It seems like never before in human history have people’s attention spans been shorter, with the rise of TikTok’s 15-second videos dominating the cultural and advertising landscape. But at the same time, never before have we had access to so many people. Every market and demographic is available, and they’re all capable of seeing your ads when they scroll past a video of a kid playing the recorder with his nose. Still, that balance between people and time is difficult.

It’s also tricky to figure out how to use your time. Should you focus on retaining viewers, or crafting the best message possible? Should you try to get all the important information across, or provide a sense of mystery? How much should you even be investing in your marketing videos? Well, if you read last week’s blog, you’ll know the answer to that last one. But the rest are fair questions. So this week, we’re going to look at how to decide on the length of your videos, and how length contributes to the marketing potential of your film. 

Short-form videos: under a minute

To start head-first, smack into the 2020s we have the short-form video. Within that minute there’s everything from 60-second product introductions to 5 seconds of a skippable ad on YouTube. We’re seeing an increasing amount of these ads, as they multiply across social media sites, and in particular TikTok. These videos are great at grabbing the limited attention of a user, and hitting a demographic that was less likely to be searching for your product or service. They can also hit a very wide audience and are easy to implement thanks to native advertising tools built into many social media platforms.

For an established brand, it’s an easy way to introduce a new product, and for smaller brands, it can help create brand recognition and better target its audience. Just don’t rely on it for anything too complicated, and be warned – your video will need to be entertaining. Studies suggest online videos have on average 6 seconds to fully hold a user’s attention, a number that shrinks for many users who automatically skip ads wherever possible. For this style of short film, try to stand out or grab the attention as soon as you can, for as long as you can.

Great for: new product launches, quirky online ad campaigns

Avoid if: you’re advertising for more personalised products or services, or want to avoid online campaigns

Medium form videos: between 1 and 4 minutes

These films are the happy – well, the happy medium – for those looking to combine effectiveness with reach. These videos are between 1-4 minutes long, can attract both native and non-native users, and deliver both information and entertainment. And while viewers may have to search a little harder for them, they don’t need to be as eye-grabbing as a short video. These videos are also seen on social media, particularly in the form of sponsored Instagram content, but also populate websites as introductory films with information on the brand. These videos are especially effective for users that have clicked through to your website already, but who are still several steps away from making a purchase.

One key aspect to be aware of is standing out, as many brand-introduction videos can strike a similar tone and style. It’s great to take advantage of a proven formula, but ensuring viewers are aware of what makes your brand stick out is crucial to delivering their involvement with your product or service. A reliable way to avoid this would be to employ the services of the Jasper Picture Company , who have a proven history of eye-catching film campaigns. Other options include hoping the actress you hired for the video becomes famous 10 years later. 

Great for: Website homepage introductions, longer-form online content

Avoid if: You don’t have much to say (say a new burger) or have a lot of information (announcing a new structured stock policy that may deliver stronger dividends in the future but due to COVID-19 has led to temporary… you get the gist)

Long-form videos: over 4 minutes

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Lastly but not least, the long-form video. Clocking in at over 4 minutes, it’s not often you’ll find the requirements or resources to film a full-length marketing campaign, but if you apply the situation correctly, there are some outstanding benefits. Firstly, making a longer video the centrepiece of an ongoing campaign allows for easier creation of shorter and medium-form videos, providing a potentially massive return on investment. It also helps to drive a strong idea, rather than something to sell – be it family, health, or diversity. It also allows for much more flexibility on form, delivery method, and marketing style. 

The obvious downside is that longer, bigger videos usually require far heavier funding and resources. While these may be worth it for some, creating a film that holds the viewers’ attention consistently while appealing past a dedicated demographic is a tough challenge. Many of these videos are enjoyed by a wide variety of people, as many long-form YouTube videos will attest to. However, relying on internet virality is not a consistent marketing strategy. Otherwise, I’d spend every week trying to learn to dance instead of writing this blog.

Great for: full-scale campaign announcements, multifaceted advertising

Avoid if: it can be done in a shorter length, or if you want to reach a new audience more reliably

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today and find out how video is key to your marketing strategy. The Jasper Picture Company is here to help with all of your Melbourne video production needs! Book a call now so we can provide you with the best service that will ensure your content is making the most of it's time!

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