What is the Ideal Length for Web Video?

Whether deciding to plunge into the digital world of advertising or creating the next viral video hit, video length plays an important part in how long a viewer will actually watch a web video. With today’s short attention spans, it is no wonder that audiences are becomingly increasingly harder to hold on to. Here are some reasons why a shorter, more to the point video will succeed better than a video of a much longer length.

  • Studies have shown that the average attention span of a person can range anywhere from 8 seconds to a full 15-20 minutes given the context. For the sake of online video production, however, it is much more likely that a person’s attention span will hover near the 8 second mark. The reason behind this is that online video is by and large primarily for entertainment purposes. This means that the consumer is usually not going to be forced the watch the video in question. Even ads on YouTube can now be skipped after 6 seconds. If adults have such a hard time concentrating on important tasks, this makes the job of the web video maker that much more difficult.


Online Video Production

  • When making a web video for the purposes of entertainment, it is important to be short and to the point. Viewers of online video are not as likely to sit around waiting for that dramatic punch line. Unlike at a comedy club or similar venue, Internet goers are not a captive audience. They can become distracted by a new, fresher looking suggested video and click off just as easily as they clicked over. This is why it is important to capture the audience’s attention in the first 5-10 seconds of a video, even earlier if possible. Ideally, an entertaining video will be no longer than 15-30 seconds if its purpose is to merely make someone laugh. This is how these videos become viral. Statistically, videos of 30 seconds or less are far more likely to be watched all the way through. With YouTube’s new algorithm, audience retention (or how long they watch the video) is becoming more important than total views in regards to video length. So keeping a video short means it has a higher chance of being found.


  • For marketing, business, or promotional means, keeping a video short may seem like a daunting task. When trying to push a product, a business may be tempted to cram too much information in all at once. We suggest to keep business videos in the range of 2-3 minutes. That way, they are short enough to keep your viewers attention, but long enough to share the benefits of your product or service, and compel your audience to buy from you. The key to business videos is to make them want to learn more about your product on their own. In today’s day and age, being entertaining can be more profitable than being informative.


Videos that engage and excite a viewer are going to be far more successful in the digital world, but it is still important to produce quality content. Quality content delivered in short intervals will be more efficient and more successful. Learning to adapt to consumers’ needs and wants is a big part about having a successful online video production.


Do you have experience with online video production? What’s your take on the most effective length of web video? Drop some knowledge in the comments section below!


Article by Joe Forte.