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How Long Should Your Video Be In 2021


2020 and even early 2021 has already seen some changes in the way that people are consuming media. In general, people are consuming more than ever, but they’re also consuming it quickly. They want small, digestible nuggets of information rather than full-length shows. And that can affect how long your video should be in 2021, though the intricacies and nuances of this are a little different. So, let’s start with some well-known statistics about video length and then dig a little deeper.

On Average, Most Videos Should Be About 4 Minutes Long

Statistically, videos in 2018 were about four minutes long, and that’s remained standard for some time. People tend to want to watch shorter videos. Four minutes is about the amount of time it takes to introduce a problem, solve that problem, and come to a general resolution. In fact, even that might be a little too long; think about the fact that an average commercial is about a minute and thirty seconds. You can tell a story in that time.

Most people are going to shoot for a “shorter is better” philosophy when it comes to a video. Once the video is shot, take out everything that isn’t necessary to tell the story, and that’s what you want to present to the viewer. But that doesn’t mean that all videos should be four minutes (or even a minute long) and it doesn’t mean that shorter is always better. There will always be other considerations that need to be made.


Your Content Controls the Length of Your Video

First, different types of content will have different lengths. An explainer video is going to be short and sweet. A behind-the-scenes video might be a similar length. But a training video or a tutorial is going to be longer.

What really matters, ultimately, is content density. If your video is trying to explain three things, it should do so quickly. If your video is trying to explain thirty things, it may need longer to do so — but you should also question whether you really need to explain thirty things.

Commercials tend to be a little under or a little over a minute in length. But a “Meet Our Employees” video might be longer, as might a “Case Study” video. If you’re trying to explain more complex topics to your audience, you need to let the moments land. Don’t rush the videos necessarily; silence and pauses can be critical, too.


Your Buyer Journey Also Impacts Video Length

Early on in the buyer journey, your audience will have less patience. Nothing personal, they just get inundated with a lot of content all the time. You need to impact them with short, sweet videos that just explain a little about your business, products, and services.

But as the buyer journey progresses, they gain patience. They’re more interested in your products and services and they want to know more. Toward the end of your buyer journey (and even after, when they’ve already made a purchase), they’ll be interested in longer videos. When you’re re-targeting an audience that has already purchased from you, you may be even more successful in getting them to watch longer media.

And that, in turn, encourages them to purchase from you. The more they engage with your business, the more they’ll feel the relationship grow. The more the relationship grows, the more likely they will be to continue the buying relationship.

Videos Are Getting Shorter with Every Passing Year

In terms of trends, you should be aware that video is getting shorter and shorter. There’s definitely an emphasis on shorter media online, because people have more time commitments to meet, and less time for something they think of as advertising, marketing video, or frivolous entertainment. This underscores the importance of brevity, especially in 2021. That being said, you should still consider when your videos might need to be longer.


Front-Loading Your Video’s Most Important Content

Even with a-minute-long video, there are a lot of people who will only watch the first ten seconds. You have those ten seconds to grab them. You also have those first ten seconds to impart the most information possible about your business. You want them to know who you are, what you do, and something about the tone of your business. These are the things that are going to occur to them later, when they encounter you again.


Your Analytics Will Tell You the Full Story

Ultimately, it’s your analytics that will tell you whether you’re reaching your audience or not. Your analytics will tell you whether people are bouncing off your videos or whether they’re staying to watch the whole thing, and that tells you whether you need to shorten or lengthen your videos. Every audience is different, every industry is different, every company is different, and every video is different.

No individual, no matter how skilled or experienced, can tell you the exact right length of your videos; that’s going to be trial and error. What you can do is make an educated decision and then listen to your analytics from there.

The average amount of legs a person has is less than 2. Statistics aren’t always relevant when making decisions. Though videos average about four minutes long, that doesn’t mean that your video should be about four minutes long; in fact, it tells you very little. Statistics are best for long-term trends and comparisons.

We know that, in general, videos are getting shorter. Briefer is almost always better. But how long your video really needs to be is going to largely depend on the type of video and your audience. Once you start digging deeper into your analytics, you’ll be able to see what videos are becoming more popular, and you’ll be able to see what content really works for you. Until then, you can ask the professionals.

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Article by Joe Forte, owner and producer at D-Mak Productions, a Scottsdale video production company specializing in producing corporate, commercial, digital and branded media content.