How long should your marketing video be?

July 9, 2019 / By

Video is one of the best marketing tools available (and now, with affordable, easy-to-use video editing software, it’s available to pretty much everyone). Videos are an engaging form of media, but how do you make your content stand out to viewers, and how long do you have before they start tuning out? Consider this: After one minute, 5% of viewers stop watching videos, but after two minutes, that number jumps to 60% of viewers who stop watching. How do you determine how long your video should be? Here’s a general guide to how long your marketing video should be.

15 seconds or less

While it seems like 15 seconds hardly counts as an actual video, this quick, bite-sized format became popular with the rise of social media channels like Vine (which no longer exists), and later on, big players like Instagram, Snapchat, and now Tik Tok. In fact, Vine users mastered the art of creating share-worthy video stories in only six seconds. Today, you’ll find seconds-long videos frequently popping up in your social media feeds. Looking to do an explainer video? If you keep it under 15 seconds long, it has a 37% higher chance of being shared than if it were any longer.

30 seconds to one minute

These videos are the most likely to be viewed in their entirety (our attention spans are pretty short these days), but they also don’t leave a lot of time to get your message across. If you have just one message or idea to share, and you want it seen by as many people as possible, 30 seconds to a minute is the best length for your marketing video. That’s enough time for a short customer testimonial, a brief bio on one of your founders, a creative ad, or a sneak preview of a new product. 

One to three minutes

This is where you can take a little more time to get your message across. One to three minutes is short enough to keep your viewers’ attention throughout the video (make sure it’s engaging!) but long enough to deliver a more detailed message. Product overview videos are generally about this long. If you have a big announcement, like adding a new product feature, aim for somewhere in the middle—two minutes is a safe bet.

Three to five minutes

Tread carefully here. Some say four minutes is the ideal length for a YouTube video, but keep in mind that the most popular videos on YouTube tend to be music videos. It’s possible to produce an engaging, creative marketing video that’s more than three minutes long, but it can be tough and often, unnecessary. But if, for example, you’re launching a new product or project that asks customers to pay a little more, then it’s acceptable to spend three to five minutes pitching it. That’s because viewers tend to want a little more information before they open their wallets, so you can get away with longer video content. Tutorial videos can also be done well within the three-to-five-minute range. The key is to find balance and make sure your content is engaging from start to finish. If your tutorial is too dry and boring, you’ll lose viewers instantly. On the other hand, if you demonstrate something too quickly, your video won’t be helpful and your bounce rate will be high.

Five minutes or more

This is generally a space you want to avoid or use sparingly in your video marketing rotation. There’s rarely a good reason to create a video this long for marketing purposes, unless you already have an engaged audience waiting for content they find valuable. A webinar, for example, will probably be longer than five minutes. More often than not, someone who registers for a webinar already knows about your product or service and is circling the bottom of the sales funnel. Later, you can repurpose the webinar recording into shorter videos (think 2-3 minutes) and offer them to new prospective customers in a variety of ways.

Remember, no matter how great your video is, length is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to user engagement. If you’re able to make your video shorter, then it’s good practice do so. Shorter videos are almost always more likely to be viewed and shared than longer ones.