Video Marketing | 39 MIN READ

How Long Should My Marketing Videos Be? (2020 Guide)

How Long Should Marketing Videos Be?

The length of your video depends heavily on where you intend to post your video and the contents of your video. Each social media platform will require a different length video to be in line with what its users are expecting. The contents of your video also need to fit the demographic you are targeting.

The general rule of creating a video in advertising used to suggest keeping your ad under two minutes. This varies a bit now depending on your audience and where you plan to post your video. Youtube is a place where you can post much longer videos, while a site like Instagram would demand a shorter ad.

Each platform requires a different length video to reach the correct audience. There are certainly times where a longer video is appropriate just as there are times when keeping it short is best. Here is the definitive guide on how long videos should be.

How Long Should Social Media Videos Be? 

How long should social media videos be?

Social media is absolutely one of the best ways to reach an audience. 45% of the total population uses social media with over a million people joining each day. That is a huge audience that could be reached by introducing advertisement videos on social media.

Each platform requires a different length video to appeal to its users. Your ad needs to match the length of the videos the people on that platform usually stop to watch. It also needs to match the production quality users are used to seeing which will mean you need to hire professional videographers to increase the production value. 

Keeping all the most important information in the first five or so seconds of your video is the best way to make sure you are getting your message out there quickly and before they scroll away. The ideal length for an advertisement changes depending on what platform you are using. Here is the length your ad should be on each social media platform.

1. Twitter

Twitter is a site with limited characters for a reason. The users are there to read something quickly and they are not going to stop and watch a five-minute-long video. Keeping your video a length that the users will be willing to watch is important if you want your advertisement to succeed.

Twitter allows its video ads to go a bit over two minutes. That being said, you should not exceed forty-five seconds when posting a video ad on Twitter. Between twenty and forty-five seconds is the best length to get engagement without going too long and losing interest. 

2. Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world. Instagram is one of the best platforms to get engagement and advertise both in ads and on stories. Instagram gives you a full minute for your ad if you choose to go that long.

The ideal length for an Instagram ad is thirty seconds or less. This is best for the scrolling platform that has users that are not used to having to pause for long to enjoy their media. Keeping the video short and sweet on your viewer’s timeline will increase their chances of viewers watching and you getting your products out there. 

Instagram TV is a different story as the users that use it are used to longer, more cinematic ads. An IGTV ad can go up to ten minutes. It is better to make sure your ad is relevant that it is to push to fill ten minutes of screen time with an ad people will want to skip over.

Finally, Instagram live is a great way to advertise if you have someone willing to take up the kind of time it requires. If you can not find a way to talk to your viewers for ten minutes or more than this is not a good way for you to advertise. The longer you talk the more viewers will tune in and the more engagement you will get.

3. Snapchat

You get ten seconds to say your full ad on Snapchat. This is usually not enough time to put your full message in and get viewers. Snapchat is a very quick platform and its users expect ten seconds or less and quick information.

There is no point in trying to fit everything you want to say into the ten-second limit. Instead, the best way to advertise on Snapchat is giving a quick idea of what you do and then providing a link for your potential customers to follow. That way you can get some interest and see how many people are actually following your link and showing interest. 

Because there is no way to get all of your information into ten seconds it is best to provide a link or state a website to visit for more information. This provides viewers with a place to go and ads some mystery to your ad that is more likely to bring Snapchat users.

4. Facebook

Facebook allows for some of the longest videos on social media and has the sort of demographic that might actually view a longer ad. The limit in ad length for Facebook is four hours. Do not post a four-hour ad unless you truly feel your ad is interesting enough to keep people watching that long.

The ideal length for a Facebook ad is twenty-four to ninety seconds. That is absolutely the longest time traditional social media platforms allow and viewers on Facebook clearly are more willing to stop and view a slightly longer ad. This provides the time for a more traditional ad than you will find on any other social media.

Facebook Live works very similar to Instagram Live and the rules of advertising are pretty much the same. Which is to say, do not go live unless you are willing to talk for more than ten minutes so you have time to get viewers. You can go for as long as you wish and the longer you film the more interaction you will get from viewers and the more people will tune in. 

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an entirely different form of social media than the ones listed above. This is a sight for professionals looking for business opportunities and checking out what other businesses are doing. That means they are much more likely to watch an informative ad that might appeal to their company or job.

This allows for much longer ads than even Facebook users will tolerate. LinkedIn ads are best between thirty seconds and five minutes long. The length you should use depends on how much relevant information you have to present that you feel will appeal to LinkedIn users.

Do not make an ad longer just because you can. The quality of your ad matters more than the length. Making a five-minute ad that could have been condensed into thirty seconds is a waste of your time as well as the viewer’s time. 

6. Pinterest

Pinterest has become more ad-friendly over the last several years. Because Pinterest is more for quick information than sharing and posting, it is important that your ad lines up with that. That being said, your Pinterest ad should be somewhere between fifteen and thirty seconds.

Many Pinterest ads are used as more of a tutorial than on any other social media platform. If you are doing an example video it can go for longer than thirty seconds to show the whole process. This is a very popular ad format on Pinterest that seems to do well with their viewers. 

Your demo video could be up to thirty minutes long, but try to keep it short and sweet. Remember that a lot of Pinterest has to do with aesthetics and make sure any still image you place on your ad is pretty to look at and very pinnable. That will increase engagement on this information and aesthetically focused platform.

7. Youtube

The longest ad you can put on Youtube is twelve hours. Do not put a twelve-hour ad on Youtube unless you are trying to make a joke that you think your customers will appreciate. Unskippable ads on Youtube are one of the most profitable ways to advertise and are a good way to get most of your information across before the viewers can click away. 

An unskippable Youtube ad can be up to twenty seconds long which is enough to get the main idea of your ad across. Your ad can obviously be longer than that, but make sure you put the base of what your ad is in the first twenty seconds so viewers will have to see at least that part of your ad. Be aware that the more interesting and engaging the beginning of your ad is, the more likely it is people will continue to watch the rest of your ad.

If you have a skippable ad or a True-view In-Stream ad, you will have five seconds to get the viewer’s interest before they are allowed to skip. That is not a lot of time, but it can be enough to state what your ad is going to provide your viewer and allow them to get interested. The better you do at gaining interest in the first five seconds of your ad, the more likely it is your viewer will stick around for the rest of your ad. 

How Long Should Video Be For Digital Channels? 

The ad length on digital channels changes as much as they do on social media. It all depends on what your audience is willing to view. If your audience is looking for something specific they are probably not going to want to pause to watch a long ad. 

There is not a one size fits all for customers any more than there is for websites. It all depends on the channel and the viewer. Just like in social media, the general rule is to keep your ad under a minute.

1. Landing Page Video

The first rule to ads on landing pages is you should keep your ad above the fold so it is the first thing your customer sees. The second rule is to keep your ad short and sweet. No one goes to the landing page to watch an ad so make sure yours is quick enough that your viewer has no time to get bored.

It is unlikely your customer is going to be willing to watch an ad on a landing page for over thirty seconds. An interesting video that can hold viewers’ attention is the best way to keep them watching and sell your product. You should keep your ad between thirty and sixty seconds.

Making your video a minute long requires getting a viewer’s attention quickly. A fifth of viewers will click off within the first ten seconds of an ad. Your ad needs to capture attention quickly and be able to hold it for a few seconds longer to be considered successful. 

2. Email Marketing Video

Email marketing is difficult as your ads will likely end up in the spam folder. People do not usually appreciate receiving ads in their inbox. That is why it is important you make it clear your ad is a video they will want to see.

Putting video and an interesting offer of description in the subject can draw the eye and get you more views. Inside the email, you want a thumbnail that your recipient can click to watch the video and a link to your website. This will increase interest and give you a better idea of how your email marketing campaign is going.

Most importantly, keep it short and informative. An email marketing video should not exceed forty-five seconds and all of that time should be used to give your recipient relevant information. No one wants to open an email and be treated to a long video that takes a long time to get to the point, make sure you are not sending out that email.

3. Web Site Video

Advertising on a website is very similar to a television commercial in length. You can have a website ad that is up to a minute long. The secret to this is making sure it facilitates interest and leaves the viewer wanting to know more information. 

Scrolling through a website and encountering a video is not usually unwelcome so your video is allowed to be a bit longer. This is because viewers will be more willing to watch a whole video and in finding out more information than they would be if they perceived your ad as inconvenient. This is the reason a website ad can be up to a minute long and provide open-ended information that leaves the viewer wanting to know more. 

These videos can tell of the importance and value of your product and then offer more information on your website. They can also show some of the good work your company has done to showcase the investment your customers would be making. A website ad is very much like a television commercial and can be treated similarly.

4. Sales Video

The length of your sales video depends heavily on how deep into the sales process you are. If you are on a cold sale, keep your video short and informative. A cold sales video should not exceed thirty seconds and should only contain relevant information.

On the other hand, if you are deeper into the sales process you are probably going to be answering more questions than you would be at the beginning of the process. That allows for videos that can last for several minutes as they provide answers to common questions and more in-depth information. If you have a relationship with the people you are selling to, you can tailor a video to the sort of company they run and the sort of information you know they need in order to go into business with you.

A sales video is very personal to each type of sale. If you are trying to go into a sale cold it is best to keep your video short. A longer video can be used for clients who you have a more established relationship with and who have had time to form questions.

How Long Should Videos Be By Type?

Each type of video requires a different length to get it just right. An informational video is likely going to be much shorter than a video demoing your product. This keeps your client from getting overwhelmed but also gives you time to provide all the information your client will need. 

The length of your video should never go longer than your consumers are willing to watch. It should also not be repetitive and long for the sake of taking up time. Keeping the entire video compact and informative is the most important part of any type of video.

The key to making a video ad is keeping it as short as you feel is okay. Shorter is almost always better in advertisements. If you can get all the relevant information into a shorter time frame, do that instead of dragging it out. 

1. One-on-one Sales Videos

This is the video you will be showing when you are trying to quickly explain what you are selling and why your customer should buy it. This video should be quick and informative with no extra fluff added. The purpose of a one-on-one sales video is informing and setting up a foundation for sales.

This type of video should not exceed a minute in length. It is a very short introduction to your business and what you are selling. After that, most of the selling is going to be answering questions and explaining the key points of your video in more depth. 

The only time a video in this setting should be longer than a minute is if your client requested more information in a later meeting. Then you may show a longer, more in-depth, video that answers questions. This is to keep a dialogue of questions and interest going instead of boring them and answering everything they could ask with a video instead of a conversation.

2. Promo Videos

Think of your promotional video much like a commercial or radio advertisement. It should be about a minute long, maybe a little less, and interesting. You want something in there that grabs clients and makes them take notice.

This is a format that many big companies have been using for years and it has been proven to be quite effective. You want your video to be short and snappy so that it is memorable but not boring or too much information all at once. This is likely a video your customer will be seeing at the start of your working relationship and you do not want to overwhelm them.

Video editing should be used to get a video to your desired length with all the information you feel is needed in a promotional video. This will allow you to fit everything you need into a shorter time span. It will also allow for higher production value.

3. Explainer Videos

An explainer video is often used after your client shows some interest and asks for more information. This is a quick video that explains what you do in a bit more detail but still not enough to be overwhelming. The purpose of keeping this sort of video short is to allow for a conversation that will provide a human connection for your client. 

This video can be anywhere from a minute to ninety seconds in length. This span of time is enough to expand on information without getting dry or taking up too much time. It also allows your clients to form more questions as they gather information.

The purpose of this video is to be informative. There is no reason to try and make this video entertaining so much as simple and to the point. This should be a quick, clean video that answers questions and gives information.

4. Culture Videos

This is a video meant to show how fun your company can be. This is often used to bring in new employees or show customers how well your business runs. A culture video is meant to be short and fun.

This should not exceed four minutes and might be better kept even less than that. It needs to be shot by professional videographers so that production value is high and you can show how great your company really is. Film parts of the holiday party or company retreat to fill this video with fun and gain interest.

5. Demo Videos

A demo video should be exactly as long as it takes to show the process you are trying to demonstrate and not a second longer. This can be anywhere from two to ten minutes in length depending on the difficulty of what you are teaching. Any longer than that can be overwhelming and often has too much filler and not enough information.

These videos should be separated into short videos for each separate topic so none of them get too long. This will keep the demos short and informative as well as making sure you stay organized. 

6. Tutorial Videos

This video will be very similar to your demo video except it will be a step by step break down that might take a bit longer than just showing what you are doing. This video can go up to ten minutes but should not be less than three. This allows time for clients to follow along without feeling rushed or confused.

A tutorial is going to take up more time to film than a demo as you will be breaking down each step as you perform it. Make sure every step is clear and easy to follow before you present this tutorial.

7. Case Study Videos

A case study video is going to be a bit longer at maybe five to ten minutes. This allows you to get all of the information and facts without it being too squished together. A video like this will be used on clients you have spoken to before to keep them updated on your studies and what your company is doing. 

 These can always be edited into smaller clips to send separately if you feel that would be better for your clients. As long as you keep them factual and easy to understand. 

8. Interviews

An interview video is going to be to show what you do and why you do it. This video should be very introductory and informal. It will last anywhere from five to fifteen minutes depending on what you feel your audience will stay entertained for.

This is meant to start up a conversation and engage people who already know about the company. It should not be a very serious video as it is meant to be a conversation topic more than anything.

9. Webinars

A webinar is likely going to be the longest type of video you do. This is for clients who know what you do and have already had an introduction. It will be anywhere from fifteen to sixty minutes of information.

This is for getting deep into the previously mentioned topics. It will often involve multiple speakers for different topics and will break down subjects to their bare essentials. This is the most advanced form of advertising and is only for clients you already have and people who want a lot more information. 

Conclusion

Professional video lengths for advertisements are important. The best way to make sure you are reaching the people you want and holding interest is to make sure your video is the right length. This will show you care about the content you put into the world and your clients time.

Keeping your videos short and informative is the best way to use your ad time. Longer ads are often ignored and skipped through, especially if they are posted on a platform that values brevity and quick scrolling. If you are using a longer ad make sure your video warrants it and your audience are prepared for it. 

Go forth and conquer your video marketing, Ladies and Gents. If you need guidance on your video strategy or need videos produced, contact our team of award winning producers and strategists.

Darren Durlach

About Darren Durlach

Darren is a film director and co-founder of Early Light Media, a video production agency based in Baltimore. He enjoys writing about storytelling, filmmaking, and video marketing to help organizations communicate more effectively with their audiences.

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