25 August 2019
Fourth Instalment of the Video Blog
More and more people are becoming accustomed to streaming TV shows and full-length movies online. What length plays well for YouTube videos these days? And how does the appropriate length differ for the different types of videos your organization may be considering putting online?
Will this be a 30-second video? 60-second? A minute plus? 5 minutes? You may be thinking: “how can I know the length of the video until I script it out?” And trust me, I hear ya! But the reality is, without using some type of time parameters, your video will likely end up too long and potentially unfocused.
Remember, your idea should only be as big as the time it has to unfold, so putting restrictions on your concept will only help to make it stronger and more effective.
This will also help you avoid frustrating situations, like forcing yourself to cut a two-minute script down to 30 seconds (which is like torture, btw).
If you’re not sure how long your video should be, you’ll want to consider these factors:
• Your goal (i.e. — brand awareness, clicks, etc)
• Where the ad will appear (i.e. — TV, social media, website, etc)
• Overall budget (i.e. — shoe-string, low, mid, high, unlimited, etc.)
For example, if your goal is to promote your holiday sale, a 30-second ad is probably enough to get your point across. However, if you’re trying to move your audience to tears, you might need a 1.30, or even 2 minutes+ to get the job done.
To get a gauge, think back to the direction and tone you’re aiming for. Next, check out existing videos that use a similar tone and see how long they are, as that may help guide you (for example, if all the videos are at least one-minute long, that may be a good starting place).
The second thing to consider is where the ad will appear.
For example, 30–60 second commercials are very common for cable TV, while longer-form videos are more common online. And then there’s online ads takeovers, Facebook/Instagram video ads, pre-roll ads, etc, all of which have their own set of restrictions and best practice guidelines.
It doesn’t matter where your video is appearing, you just want to make sure you’re taking placement into consideration when planning it all out.
Lastly, there’s your budget. If you’re on the lower end of the spectrum, you’re likely only going to be able to afford one cut (or one version) of the video, which is why so important for “getting it right” the first time. If you’re on the higher end of the budgetary spectrum, you may be able to cut many different versions (i.e. —90, 60, 30, and 15 sec spots) which will give you more wiggle room when it comes to things like video placement, reworking the storyline with different focus/angles, etc. Once you’ve settled on duration, it’s time to think about what your video will look like.
When you first sign up with YouTube, your account will be limited to videos under 15 minutes, until the account has been “verified.” Once “verified,” you can post any video that doesn’t exceed 20GB. Practically speaking, this means that hour-long keynote speeches and training sessions from your annual conference are well within reach! If encoded properly, the videos will still look excellent even if not at the absolute highest quality resolution.
Here’s what we think about the best length for different videos on YouTube:
• Favor short videos. If you can make it shorter and make all the same points, do so.
• Make sure to start off energized, and get the important stuff in. Your audience will start to disappear over the length of your video. Wistia reported that for a video of 4-5 minutes, fewer than 60% of your viewers will still be with you–against 75% for a 1-2 minute video.
• Don’t hold your call to action to the end, especially for longer videos. Consider a clickable annotation that appears in the first few seconds
• Think about breaking your longer videos up into digestible bits. Training in particular lends itself to this. Instead of making a single video that shows a long process, make a playlist that links pieces of the process for a coherent whole. That makes it easy to learn your process in digestible chunks suited to current attention spans. A speech that is clearly delineated into sections with different subtopics will break up well into smaller pieces, too. Side benefits to this break-up are an increased number of video assets and most likely an increased number of views for videos on your channel.
• On the other hand, don’t ruin a great speech by breaking it up. If a speech has been designed as a single continuous speech, keep it as is and allow the audience to sit back and experience the full impact.
Nexonta Technologies Inc.
On to the Next Level