If you’re starting a video marketing campaign, one of your first questions is likely to be how long each video should be. The answer is: it varies. Marketing video length depends on the type of marketing you’re doing — it can encompass everything from the traditional commercial video to a more in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the company itself. However, there is one thing that is universal: a marketing video should always be as short as it can be to display the content that is necessary.
Here’s an overview of some of the basic video marketing types and how long each type of video should be. This is meant to be a guideline rather than something that is strict: when creating a video, you should shoot for these targets as a goal. With that being said, there’s no reason to stress about a video that’s a little too long or a little too short, as long as the content is all there.
Product Launch Videos (3 minutes)
Product launch videos are exciting and informative. They should begin with some of the most interesting features of the product, after which a more detailed explanation of the product should follow. As the product launch video goes on, it should usually explain how that product is going to impact the customers who buy it. How will it change their lives? How will it change the industry? The key to a product launch video is to explain what makes this product in particular special — what makes it worthy of following further.
A product launch video is intended to be more in-depth than a regular commercial, and consequently it should usually be at least a few minutes long. Once the product launch has been completed, many are going to be reviewing the video for more information about the product. The goal of the product launch video is to generate excitement and hype — and that takes time. Despite this, the most important information should still be front-loaded. If there are three things that someone should learn about the product, it should be placed within the first thirty seconds.
Commercial Videos (2 minutes)
Often cited as one of the best commercials of 2018, the Toyota Super Bowl Commercial weighs in at over 2 minutes: quite a lot for those who are accustomed to online advertising. A commercial this size neatly fits into a television break, or even the ad break on streaming media, even assuming part of it will be skipped. Many commercial videos need to tell a story in order to create emotional impact. That does take some time, usually anywhere from 1 minute to 2 minutes. However, when commercial videos are shown online, they only have about 15 seconds to really capture their audience. Most platforms will let a user skip an ad after they’ve watched it for about 15 seconds — and most users are going to do so, regardless of how captivating the ad is.
Infomercial Videos (1 minute)
Infomercials are known for being cheesy, but they have their time and place. An infomercial is a cross between a commercial and an explainer video. It informs the audience regarding what the product is and why it’s important. It tells people how the product solves a problem, how it’s used, and why they should immediately buy it. And it’s short, fast, and to the point. In the infamous Snuggie commercial, you can see exactly how efficient the infomercial is being. Instead of telling a story, the narration directly sets up a problem, the solution to the problem, and where to buy that solution.
Part of this is, of course, the nature of the infomercial. They need to be fast and cheap: they’re aired late at night and usually by startups that are currently pre-revenue. But it’s also because introducing someone to a new problem they have has to be fast and efficient. It requires enough explanation that they understand the product, but that explanation cannot be enough that they get bored.
Crowdfunding Videos (4 Minutes)
Crowdfunding videos need to be a little longer than the regular commercial. After all, you’re not just describing a product: you’re describing an investment. A crowdfunding video is explaining what a product is, how it’s going to be made, and how it’s going to be delivered to investors. Kickstarter videos are the most frequent type of crowdfunding video, but there are other platforms as well. Many crowdfunding videos include an introduction to the person or business behind the product, as well as the history of the product. The Pebble watch was one of the most successful Kickstarter projects as of its launch, and it was in no small part due to the concise, shareable video that neatly described both the product and the company.
Explainer Videos (2 Minutes)
Mint’s explainer video is a little on the short side, and that works. An explainer video is a video (usually animated) that describes how a product works. It’s usually used as a secondary touch point for a customer: a customer has already interacted with a business and discovered the product, but now they’re trying to go a little more in-depth into how the product actually works. Explainer videos should be anywhere from one to two minutes long depending on the complexity of the product. The goal isn’t to explain the product inside and out, but rather explain all of the most salient points so that a customer can decide whether that product is right for them.
Customer Testimonial Videos (1 Minute)
A customer testimonial has to be brief. By its very nature, it’s discussing the personal impact of a product or business on a single customer. It’s a very focused type of video. Going longer than a minute isn’t advised because then the video loses focus and, consequently, loses the audience’s interest. Customer testimonial videos are most powerful when they are authentic, and they feel most authentic when they are real customers using their real words to describe their situation. Companies can enhance their videos by creating an open call to their existing customers and offering their customers the chance to tell their story.
In other respects, a customer testimonial video is very similar to a commercial. It describes a problem, the way the problem was solved, and the end result of that solution. Where a customer testimonial differs is that it isn’t a hypothetical, the way that it would be in a commercial. Instead, it’s the true and intimate story of a single client and the relationship that they built with the company.
Behind-the-Scenes Videos (Varies)
A behind-the-scenes video offers a customer a sneak peek at what a company is really about. As more customers start voting ethically with their dollars, it does become necessary for brands to create stronger identities and begin displaying their values. Behind-the-scenes content can range from a full look at a company’s operations to little videos about how something is produced or how unique events that occur at their business. Because this footage varies so significantly, the length of it also varies.
GE has created a number of behind-the-scenes videos that are intended to get customers excited about their process and their technology. Their playlist on YouTube is a superb example of behind-the-scenes video marketing, as it encompasses just about any type of behind-the-scenes video one might create. These videos range in length, from 1 minute overviews of specific techniques, to videos that are 8 minutes long and really are short documentaries. This content, when matched together, creates a whole picture of the company and its goals.
Live Videos (30 to 60 Minutes)
Let’s close this with an example of a longer video. As you may have seen, most marketing videos are extremely short. The truth is, most customers don’t want to spend a lot of time watching corporate video — they just don’t. They use ad blockers, they skip videos when they can, and they are very savvy about the content they read. But there’s one type of marketing video that can engage customers for much longer, and that’s live videos. Live videos tend to be almost “show like” in nature: they’re a block of time during which customers can interact directly with a brand. Often, a live video is going to be either of a specific event, or it will involve a brand ambassador showing them what to do.
Live videos are events unto themselves, which means they usually run anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. A short live video is unlikely to be seen, because it takes some time for an audience to realize that the live video is being played to begin with. Once the live video is being played, the audience will usually trickle in throughout. At the same time, the live event also don’t want to overstay its welcome. It should be a planned show that ends when the content has been properly presented.
Ultimately, most marketing videos are going to fall in a range between 1 minute and 4 minutes. Regardless of the type of marketing video it is, it usually needs to have the most important information within the first 15 to 30 seconds. This information should also be repeated towards the end. Still, among brands, the appropriate amount of time for marketing tends to vary. It’s most important to be concise and keep the audience engaged and interested, rather than to make absolutely sure the marketing falls within a certain amount of time.