This blog post is part of a series that I wrote to give how-to tips to clients and potential clients.
How Long Should a Video Be?
One question that comes up often in video pre-production meetings is, “how long should this video be?” A knee-jerk reaction would be “as short as possible,” given how small the typical attention span is today. But let’s explore this issue a little deeper.
First, keep in mind that not all videos are the same. Some are promotional, while others are educational. The average time someone is willing watch a promotional video tends to be short. Let’s face it, nobody likes to be on the receiving end of a sales pitch. So the key with promotional videos is to grab the audience up front, keep things moving along, and wrap it up as quickly as possible.
That advice also holds true with educational videos, but most viewers will stick with an educational video for a longer time if they are finding the content to be useful and informative.
When I was a journalist, the saying we often used around the newsroom was “write it for what it is worth.” That meant a story with a lot of substance should get more ink, while a less-meaty story should get less space. I think that rule works well with video too.
If the content is high quality and of high value to the target viewer, the video can run longer. For example, a well-produced video that provides several pieces of expert advice – not commonly known in the business – could run four or five minutes and achieve a high completion rate. A video that is less informative should aim to be shorter – perhaps two minutes or less.
Having a freelance editor involved in the production process is a great way to ‘write it for what it is worth.’ An editor with an outsider’s perspective will be able to give you valuable feedback on your video’s content and how long to expect your target audience to watch.