How Long Should Your Video Be?

Looking for a way to boost your company’s social media presence?

Consider adding a video marketing component to your social media strategy.

You heard me – social media and video go together like Kanye and Kanye.

According to Responsive Inbound Marketing, social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined.

That is an incredible ROI (Return On Investment) for any entrepreneur’s marketing dollars.

Of course, the bigger the production budget you have to create marketing videos to promote your business, the better – but not everyone has that luxury, at least not to start.

That’s okay.

While video production takes more time, effort, and finances than writing blogs, snapping pictures, creating memes, or other familiar forms of content, your investment doesn’t need to be through the roof, either.

As entrepreneurs, we are very lucky to live in an era where we can launch a corporate video series with little more than a smart phone and good lighting.

But just because videos are easy to produce, doesn’t mean you should just start shooting willy-nilly.

You need to have a strategy.

You need to plan out your videos.

One of the first things you’ll have to do before launching a social media video marketing campaign is decide how long your videos are going to be.

Seems kind of basic, but this is important – knowing how long your videos will run will influence a lot of other creative and strategic decisions concerning your video production down the road.

In other words, size matters.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when deciding how long your business videos should be.

Shorter videos get more clicks and better engagement

The most popular videos on YouTube typically last around 1-10 minutes.

That is a huge window, and doesn’t really tell us anything about the most ideal length for social media videos, except that they should remain under 10 minutes. Ten minutes is pretty long, considering today’s online audiences have shorter attention spans than goldfish (true story, no exaggeration, research done by Microsoft).

“On an average day… we found that in the top ten most popular YouTube videos, the shortest was 42 seconds, and the longest was 9 minutes and 15 seconds. The average video length was 4 minutes and 20 seconds,” reported MiniMatters.

That said, video clicks are not as important as engagement.

Ideally, you want your viewer to stick around until the very end of your marketing video, as opposed to just clicking on the video and then quickly losing interest and getting diverted.

According to Wistia, a 4-5 minute video will retain only 60% of its audience by the end. A tighter video running only 1-2 minutes will still have 75% of its audience by the end.

Conclusion… aim to produce short marketing videos, preferably under two minutes.

Above all, offer value

While you want to go short, you don’t want to go too short.

After all, you still need to accomplish a few vital objectives in order for your business video to have impact.

First, you want to properly introduce yourself (or your business) in your video.

Next – and this is the most important part – you want to offer real value to your target audience.

Don’t make your business video too short, at the expense of providing real value.

The worst mistake you can make with your marketing video is to turn it into a sales pitch. If you do this, you will instantly lose your audience (specifically, in eight seconds or less).

The best video content fixes your audience’s problems.

Your video should address your audience’s questions, insecurities, and problems. It should resonate with them on an emotional level, and appeal to their values. It should entertain them.

Ideally, your video should also include a specific call-to-action.

A call-to-action is the part of your video where you ask your audience to do something for you. It can be as simple as getting them to subscribe to your YouTube channel or like your Facebook page.

Most calls-to-action (CTAs) happen at the end of the video, but as discussed, audiences drop out towards the end, so the sooner you can work in your CTA, the better.

Native videos get more engagement

When posting videos to promote your business on social media, it is always better to keep your videos “native”.

Native videos are videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook, for instance, as opposed to sharing a link to your video that is hosted on a different platform (such as YouTube).

Keeping your videos native is important because social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram will often give preference to native videos and that will earn you more visibility. And more visibility means more overall engagement (likes, shares, and comments).

According to a Quintly study, there were more than 4x more interactions on Facebook native videos than those shared from other platforms, including YouTube and Vimeo.

What does this have to do with the length of your business video?


You see, while Facebook and YouTube allow you to upload pretty lengthy videos, other social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, restrict you to shorter video lengths.

Specifically, YouTube allows you to upload videos that are up to 15 minutes long. If you have a verified account, you can request permission to upload even longer videos, as long as the file size is less than 20GB. This basically translates into a video length of about an hour or so, with pretty decent quality.

Facebook, on the other hand, will allow you to upload up to 45 minutes of video (as long as your file size doesn’t exceed 1.75 GB).

Meanwhile, Twitter only permits your videos to be 140 seconds long. That’s a little over two minutes.

Think that’s short? Brace yourself…

Instagram only allows video uploads that are under 90 seconds. Don’t complain, it used to be a lot shorter!

So what this all means is that you need to plan in advance where you are going to post your social videos, and make sure you work within the time limits of each platform, so that you can reap the benefits of keeping your videos native.

If your video runs too long for Instagram and Twitter, you can always edit down a shorter version for those platforms, or create a teaser video with a call-to-action to visit Facebook or YouTube to see the longer version.

Once again, the benefits of keeping your marketing videos short are evident. If you produce a video that is 90 seconds or less, it will fit on more social media platforms with less hassles.

When deciding how long your social media marketing videos should be, consider the fact that audience attention spans are dwindling, and shorter videos get more clicks and better engagement than longer videos. That said, you don’t want your video to be so short that you don’t offer your audience real value. And finally, you’ll want to be aware of the video lengths permitted for native videos.


If you’re ready to take your business blog to the next level, check out my FREE eBook, “How To Blog Like An Entrepreneur” here…