social networkz

"How long should my video be"


This is a subject that's very well covered across social media, LOTS of "research" showing what the attention span of video viewers is, telling you how long before the average viewer will click away from your very expensive video. It seems this figure is getting shorter every time a new "study" appears. Pretty soon your 2 minute video is going to look like the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy - if you haven't engaged the viewer by the first time they blink then all is lost!

Much of the information out there is badly researched or is presented entirely out of context. If your audience is teenagers on Snapchat then yes you probably DO have a shorter time to capture their attention, but if you're targeting adults or a business audience then your video doesn't always have to be quite as short. What's my evidence for that you ask? Well to start with then just take a look at TED Talks These are videos that can last as long as twenty minutes and they are just basically presenters on stage. They get millions of views and people actually watch them all the way to the end! I often see so much good content end up on the cutting room floor because the client is convinced that the video should be a short as possible.

I have a "hobby" YouTube Channel with over 10 million views, Flying Machines TV this consists of a number of shorter films and a few 60-70 minute documentaries. The most watched clip on my channel lasts just 26 seconds, but the second most watched, with over a million and a half views, is 60 minutes long! While the average watch time on this is just under 10 minutes a reasonable amount of people watched the whole film, and this is a film of an airshow without any story.

There are many ways to keep people's attention on a video but for me the key one is story, people love compelling stories especially when told well, after all humans have been storytellers for thousands of years so it's in our DNA. When I make a film I aim to have a strong beginning, a clearly defined middle and a good payoff off at the end, this applies whether I'm making a two hour film or a 20 second web commercial. This "three act" structure is the device that movies, theatre and literature often use and it's something that viewers are very used to.

It's also more impactful if you can provoke an emotional response from the viewer, that's why so many TV commercials are designed to make you laugh or cry, that's something that's not always possible to do but you'd be surprised how often it's possible to do that in a film about something comparatively mundane. This is one of the big advantages of engaging us creatives to tell your stories for you.

There are plenty of other tricks that we can use to make sure you message gets across, even if the viewer does switch the video off after a while - strong messages at the start, a summary of your message in the first 30 secs of the film followed by more detailed content in the later stages. You can even make a short "trailer" to link people through to the full film which has more detail.

The mistake people often make is NOT using content that could be very useful to an engaged buyer who will happily sit through longer content to get the information they need. That's why having a great video content strategy in place can really get the most value out of video production. If you'd like to talk about that or any other aspect of video production then feel free to contact us.