Best Practices: Video Length

Updated August 28, 2018.


Video marketing tells a story about a company, product or service. When you think about the greatest storytellers, you probably think about the lively and interesting manner they speak in. What you may overlook is their concision. They pick their words carefully, and say only what absolutely needs to be said. Every sentence and every detail moves their story forward.


Video marketing is all about storytelling, and just like those great storytellers, you don’t want to get bogged down in unnecessary details. Say what you need to say, grab and maintain the attention of viewers, and get out.


That doesn’t mean every video marketing effort needs to be super short. It should be as long as it needs to be – just no longer.




The length heavily depends on your message and the medium you are using to distribute your video. In a 2018 study by HubSpot, they revealed that the optimal length for an Instagram video is 30 seconds, Twitter 45 seconds, Facebook 1 minute, and Youtube 2 minutes.


A few more helpful stats:


  1. After one minute, only 5% of viewers stop watching videos, but 60% will stop watching after two minutes. (VideoGuru)


2. The average retention rate for videos over 30 minutes is only 10%. (VidYard)


3. 95% of consumers believe a video should be less than 2 minutes long. (Wyzowl)




Comparing successful short and long videos:


As the human attention span gets shorter and shorter, it’s clear that we collectively prefer videos that get their message across quickly. Take, for example, this animated Youtube pre-roll video Green Buzz Agency created for Capterra. It’s well known that most people opt out of pre-rolls as quickly as possible, but this 40-second video racked up over 1.4 millions views. The funny, unique approach to a software advertisement made Youtubers stick around, and GBA successfully communicated Capterra’s message in well under a minute.



In contrast, this documentary Green Buzz Agency created for the Make-A-Wish foundation’s 2016 fundraising gala is 11 minutes long. For the subject matter and the event it was made specifically for, this is a great length. That amount of time is needed to explain the details of Nitin’s condition as well as show all of the amazing things he got to do on the day of his wish. In those 11 minutes, viewers create an emotional connection or attachment to Nitin that may make them more inclined to donate to the cause. The video wasn’t rushed because that would’ve been inappropriate for the occasion.



The night the video debuted, the Make-A-Wish foundation raised nearly $700,000. They had never seen so much fundraising success in one night.


A Youtube pre-roll ad for a software company and a documentary about a cancer patient to debut at a gala will obviously be very different lengths. That doesn’t mean, however, that both videos weren’t concise. All of the details included in those two videos were necessary and included for a reason.




Brevity forces creativity and ensures that every second and every word counts. Since marketing videos typically don’t have a captive audience, you’re competing for a viewer’s attention with countless other stimuli. So when you’re editing your next video, consider your message and the channel through which you want to distribute it to decipher an appropriate length.

Alanna Goodman is the marketing and communications intern for Green Buzz Agency.





Andrew David contributed to this post.

  • John Orr

    Because a headline sells a newspaper, because as Hemingway wrote, the line he cut cut was the son of the father, but it carried on.was supposed to have carrried on to the next line.
    And as a Boxer will tell you, the best message is hit em betweem the eyes,

    John Orr.

    December 1, 2013 at 5:46 am

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