One of the most common questions asked by clients is how long should a corporate video be?
The short answer to this question is that it should be long enough to serve it’s purpose – no shorter and no longer.
Corporate video is also an umbrella term which embraces a wide range of different types. Consequently, the optimal length for a corporate video will differ depending on what kind of video is being made. (See this article for more detail on the different types of corporate videos).
At one end of the spectrum we have short social media videos like GEICO’s unskippable ad which delivers its marketing message in just five seconds – and thus avoiding the infamous “skip” button. At the other end of the spectrum you have promo videos like Neil Blompkamp’s seven minute mini-movie for the release for HALO 3.
Halo 3 Short-film
Of course, saying “it depends” is not particularly helpful if you trying to optimize the length of your video. To help provide more concrete advice in this guide we’ll look at some of the key studies to help you determine the best length for your corporate video. At the end we’ll provide some recommendations based on the findings of these studies.
One of the most interesting studies into the best length for a corporate video is Wistia. As one of the leading third party video hosting platforms Wistia had millions of data points to work with.
The study first looked at on average how much a video was watched depending on the length of that video. The difference between the average amount viewed watched was significant depending it’s length. For a video that was shorter than thirty seconds on average most people would consume 80% of the video.
If the video was longer than one hour the average percentage consumed dropped to about 25%. Superficially that might suggest that shorter is always better. However, what if you cannot convey all of the information in thirty seconds? Also, it is common sense that the longer a video the fewer people will watch it to completion, if for no other reason than time constraints.
In the second study Wistia looked at both audience engagement and how much of the video was viewed compared to the length of the video. One of the more interesting findings from this study was that with longer videos audience engagement tended to drop off very sharply. However, following this initial drop engagement declined at a much slower rate. This suggests that people decided relatively early on whether they want to watch a video to completion. It also suggests you may want to put your key messages at the start of the video. You can then expand on these for the remainder of the video for audiences that want more information.
In 2012 PEW Research conducted a study which looked at the most popular length for YouTube videos. This study was primarily designed to compare the difference between videos on traditional news broadcasts with their online equivalent. However, it does suggest that longer length videos on YouTube may be more popular compared to those which are shorter.
The study found that the median length for the most popular videos on YouTube was 2 minute and 1 second. The same study showed that half of all videos on YouTube studied were less than two minutes and 29% were under one minute. This is important because if your goal is to have your video be shared, it may be necessary to go for slightly longer content. Only 2.7% of videos that were longer than 15 minutes were considered among those which were most popular.
These findings are corroborated by a 2012 ReelSEO study which showed that the top ten most shared videos for a YouTube video was 4 minutes and 11 seconds. This is not to say that making a video longer in itself will increase shares. Few people will be willing to sit through a traditional 4 minute commercial. But, a longer video does allow creators more space to create a compelling video which is in turn more likely to be shared.
edX Engagement Findings
The edX study conducted by Computer Science researchers at the University of Rochester looked at the engagement rates for educational videos. The study examined videos which were hosted on the edX educational platform. The study compared average engagement versus the length of the video. One of the most interesting findings from the study that engagement was optimized around the 6 minute point. Most students would watch a 6 minute video in it’s entirety. After this engagement dropped off sharply. For videos which were longer than 12 minutes students on average only spent three minutes watching them.
So how does this apply to corporate video? One of the most common types of corporate videos are training videos. When designing training videos you typically want to maximize the amount of information that can be delivered while still maintaining retention.
Online animation video company Animoto surveyed their consumers about their ideal of length of different types of corporate videos. For customer testimonials videos 73.8% said that they preferred them to be 60 seconds or less. Only 5% said that they liked to see customer testimonial videos of 3 minutes or longer. Similar findings were found for about us company videos. With about us videos 70.5% said they liked these videos to be under 1 minute. Only 6.8% wanted to see an about us company videos which were longer than 3 minutes. For product demonstration videos customer’s stated that they wanted to see more in depth content. 13.5% said that wanted to see product demonstration videos shorter than thirty seconds. In comparison almost 60% wanted product demonstration videos to be longer than one minute.
- Slightly longer videos (2 minutes+) are often more popular on YouTube than shorter videos. Corporate videos looking to be organically shared may need to be longer length.
- For corporate training videos a length of no longer than six minutes may be ideal to ensure maximum engagement with the content.
- People want longer, more detailed product demonstration videos (1 minute+). For about us and customer testimonials the general consensus is shorter is better.
- Viewers typically decide within the first minute if they are going to watch the rest of the video. It makes sense therefore to put the key messages at the start of the video.