Video Length: When Size Matters
Selecting the right length of video matters immensely. You can’t run a 2 minute ad as a pre-roll and expect people not to click “skip ad” unless you hook them. You also can’t rely on shorter ads that refrain from delivering the pertinent information. For internal videos you have the viewer wanting to pay attention but you need to find the happy medium that engages their attention for optimal learning. Editing your videos to the best time length is something that needs to start before scripting. You can always shoot extra footage but you need to have a confined slot for everything to fit in.
The key is engagement. The video must capture the viewer’s attention and drive a need for them to watch. There are some television programs that are so engaging I get angry they are limited to half hour spots but that is a byproduct of well scripted programming. With average programming, including ads, the engagement value drops exponentially as time progresses. Viewers will notice the program then lose interest almost immediately. Once the first minute has passed, almost all viewers will become disengaged unless they are captivated by interesting content.
The sweet spot for information ads seems to be 2 minutes. Aim at 90 seconds and give yourself the leeway for editing to be creative with a few seconds. It’s like a game of shuffleboard where you can’t go over the 2 minute mark. After the 2 minute mark, engagement drops by 10% a minute. There is a level off effect at the 8th minute as viewers are interested enough to continue.
When videos need to provide more information than a simple advertisement can, the range 8 minute range is ideal, this could be 6-15 minutes. These ranges are for focusing on content. Testimonials and research metrics. Something that is not merely to convince somebody to become a click statistic but convert to a sale or convey some form of information for further inquiry.
If your video has more information than can conveniently be crammed into 15 minutes, go for it. You already have their engagement so far and viewers will want to know what happens next. In fact, there is a slight increase in viewer engagement around the 18 minute mark. This could be a psychological result from watching so many sitcoms where the end of the story is approaching and they are ready for a climax. If you are making an internal training video then provide a break around the 15 to 20 minute mark. For customer based viewing at this length it is a feasible idea to add a link for them to continue viewing at a latter time from the point they dropped off. You want them to be engaged as fully as possible with the content or you would have made it shorter in the editing so providing a break or a way to watch later without repeating information or scrolling through the video manually. Allow this break to pop up every few minutes or leave it as a possibility on the side so you can track exactly when viewer engagement drifted.
For any length of video, great content is the key. Viewers will watch a video as long as they are engaged so make the length organic. Knowing your target audience and studying their attention levels will help to know the ideal length.