How long is a piece of string?
Whilst we live in an age of information overload and interruption marketing, where attention spans are getting shorter, it is important to remember one important factor: one size does not fit all.
Among the video marketing community a dogma exists that all videos online need to be 90 seconds or less. This is simply not true for all cases.
It all depends on who you are talking to and why they are watching the video.
Think about it from your own perspective, if there is something you want to learn how to do, you will happily watch well presented video that gives you the information you need to achieve your goal. If there is a riveting TED talk, you will probably watch it all the way through if the content speaks to you. Now of course, if the same information can be communicated in a shorter way your viewer will appreciate that.
TASTY OR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF?
Another consideration is how and where the audience is going to consume your video. Just because you can learn how to make your favorite cake on Tasty in less than a minute it does not mean that you won't watch the Great British Bake Off. It all depends on what the audience is looking for which we split into two basic forms:
Sometimes you just want information and other times you want to be entertained. The same is true with video for your business.
UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE
We have mentioned in previous posts (link) about the importance of understanding your audience and when it comes to the length of your video.
If you have identified your customer persona correctly you will know exactly who you are talking to, there likes and dislikes and you should produce your content for them. If it's a busy Senior Manager in a multinational corporation, more likely than not, they will not have the time during the day to watch a 20 minute video unless it is a mandatory requirement.
Take the same Manager on their train ride home and they may well watch a TED talk or last night's Jimmy Fallon show on their phone because they have the mindset whereby they are willing to be entertained.
HOW ARE YOU IMPROVING YOUR VIEWER'S LIFE WITH THE CONTENT?
When making video content always ask yourself, "What's in it for the viewer?"
Consider the content first, but always try to keep your video efficient in terms of length.
Just as you don't appreciate it when people unnecessarily take up your time, the same is true of video. Get to the point as quickly as possible and make sure the key messages stick.
Whilst there are no hard and fast rules for length, we have a few suggestions below that we follow for different types of communications that we often produce for our clients-
We haven't included e-learning in this table as we consider videos for learning to be a different beast. E-learning videos are driven by the material, if it's surgical procedures or learning compliance training, there are different rules that apply when you want to raise the viewers skill level through video. The approach is often accompanied with testing through a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Articulate to maximize their impact.