Exploring Video Length Best Practices for Social Media

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Exploring Video Length Best Practices for Social Media

It is impossible to open a major social platform right now and not see a video post. The videos range from short promotional videos on Instagram to quick trailers on Twitter and longer live streams on Facebook. Videos span a wide range of subjects and are consumed by many people around the world. Between 2013 and 2018, online video consumption increased by an average of 32% per year.

In a recent report, video completion rates rose from April to July, growing 11% year over year. This is in line with orders for accommodations from around the world and the increased number of people who have stayed at home this year.

Videos are more important than ever in marketing and this is not a trend that is disappearing as soon as possible. To get the most out of your video marketing strategy, you need to figure out which video length is best for your goals and social platforms.

General social media video best practices

These are not set rules, and we all know rules are sometimes meant to be broken. In 2019, the average global viewer spent six hours and 48 minutes per week watching videos. That’s a 59% increase since 2016. More and more videos are being published, which means you are up against a lot of content. These best practices are a great place to start if you’re just into video marketing.

Videos should be accessible

Not everyone watches videos with the sound on. Adding subtitles or turning on the auto-subtitle feature is the easiest way to ensure that your video is accessible in this area. Preview your videos to make sure they look great with or without sound.

Keep the videos short

For the most part, people have short attention spans on social media. You need to get their attention within the first few seconds. Go through your point of view quickly and concisely, don’t drag it further if you don’t need to. This general practical tip varies depending on your network and video type, as we’ll see later.

Optimize for social media

The social platform that you publish on topics. While you can post the same video on multiple platforms, it is not recommended. Every video needs to be optimized for the platform it is on.

The size of the video depends on where you want the video to go on a particular network. Familiarize yourself with the specifications for social media videos so you don’t make the mistake of including a landscape video in Instagram Stories.

Recommended video length per social media network

With video available on so many platforms these days, brands should know where to focus their efforts. In a 2019 study, 51% of social media users saw videos on Instagram, 46% on Facebook, and 50% on Snapchat.

Statistical table of the percentages of multiple statistics, including watching videos, based on the social platform

Here are the ideal video lengths based on the network.

Facebook video length best practices

Facebook offers you different types of videos. For example, Facebook live streams can last up to 8 hours. And Facebook says most people will watch other types of video until the end when they are 15 seconds long. One study found that a higher level of engagement should aim for 2 to 5 minutes.

Instagram video length best practices

Both Facebook and Instagram offer story videos. Instagram stories and reels are a maximum of 15 seconds long, feed videos are 60 seconds and IGTV videos are 60 minutes. Instagram feed videos are recommended after 26 seconds. Story videos can be strung together, but the first few seconds are critical to ensuring video playback completes.

Twitter video length best practices

Twitter’s maximum video length is 140 seconds. However, it is recommended that the videos be 15 seconds or less. According to Twitter internal data, tweets with video got ten times more engagement than without video.

LinkedIn video length best practices

The maximum length for LinkedIn videos is 10 minutes. However, the network recommends that the ideal length depends on your destination. For brand awareness and consideration, LinkedIn states that a video under 30 seconds has a 200% higher completion rate.

Pinterest video length best practices

Pinterest videos are relatively new, with a maximum of 15 minutes. The network recommends that you keep the videos at 4 seconds to 15 minutes for Pins and 6 to 15 seconds for ads. Pinterest Stories are limited to 60 seconds

Snapchat video length best practices

While the maximum video length on Snapchat for ads is 3 minutes, the network recommends that you hold it within 3 to 5 seconds if you call for action in the first 3 seconds.

YouTube video length best practices

For a video-only network, expect the length to vary based on the viewer’s preferences. There is a maximum of 12 hours per video, the longest on any network. Longer videos of 10 minutes or more have been more popular lately, possibly because creators can insert ads at that point.
Google survey bar graph showing the percentages of respondents who used video viewing services
According to Google’s internal study, YouTube has outperformed all other networks. 78% of respondents have seen a video on the network in the past 24 hours.

Different types of videos

The type of video you are going to post directly depends on the destination you want the video to have. These types also affect the ideal length of the videos. While we mentioned earlier that shorter is usually better as a rule of thumb, it isn’t always the case with videos like webinars and explainer videos.
Graphic depicting the different stages of a social media marketing funnel
Consult your marketing funnel to determine where you want videos to go. Videos in the Level of consciousness are often short, such as product tags. Videos in the Loyalty and advocacy phase are usually a little longer because they contain types such as instructions or explanations. By this point, customers are familiar with your brand and have converted so they are more likely to be engaging with longer videos.

Live videos

Going live is becoming increasingly popular with brands. Live Facebook videos longer than an hour were found to increase engagement from 0.19% to 0.86% compared to video lengths of 5 to 10 minutes. According to another study, users watch live-stream video 10 to 20 times longer than other types of video content.

News videos

News videos are one of the most popular types of videos on Twitter. It is recommended that news videos be less than 15 seconds long so that you can get the point across even faster.

Promo & teaser videos

Similar to film trailers, promo and teaser videos aim to get the viewer interested and excited about a product or service. These are usually on websites or on social media to draw attention to a new product. Due to the nature of this video, it is recommended that you keep it under 30 seconds.

Explanatory videos

Explanatory videos are usually animated and very short as they act as a kind of trailer for a company. The length should be a maximum of 60 to 90 seconds and shorter is always better here.

Videos with instructions

46 percent of global viewers use videos to learn something new. These types of videos tend to be longer, not just because of the content, but because people are looking for them right away. Three to six minutes is a good place to start, although many videos go beyond that if the information is compelling.

Product videos

Product videos are one of the most popular videos ever. This includes brief product launches, unboxing videos, and highlights.
Marketing Charts bar graph shows the best online video quality for consumer decision making
When asked about the ideal properties of a video that were important to the decision-making process, 48% of consumers surveyed said they reflect the specific products and services they own or are interested in.

Conclusion

As you can see, video lengths vary dramatically between content types and networks. While it is generally best to keep videos short, long videos still have a place. To really understand the ideal video length for your brand, you need to experiment and analyze. It has been said that people now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, but if it did, long-form videos would not be successful. As long as videos help you achieve your social media goals, their length shouldn’t be dramatic.