Patience is in short supply nowadays. It’s no secret that with the growth of media technology’s role in our lives, attention spans have deteriorated. Collectively, our attention spans have gone from 12 seconds on average down to eight seconds within the past few years. If you are a brand making video content, you need to capture the viewer’s attention within that short window.
Video content has become the most engaging form of media. Over 80 percent of internet traffic by 2021 will be video, but it’s safe to say that video has already taken over. Viewers watch more than 500 million hours of video on YouTube daily, and 85 percent of US internet audiences watch videos online.
Given these shorter attention spans and video’s increasing popularity, the logical conclusion for brands is to use short-form videos. However, it’s not that simple.
How long should your video length be? Short-form or long-form? The question you should really be asking yourself is, “What are my goals for this video?”
Your type of video content, its platform, and its audience are the primary players when deciding the length of your videos. A series of longer videos may be more effective at getting your brand message across, but if you don’t partner them with the right platform, people may not watch them.
Both short and long videos can have value for your brand if you determine the right goal. Let’s take a look at when short-form and long-form videos are appropriate for your brand’s video marketing strategy.
Considering Short-Form Videos?
Short-form videos have become the talk of content marketing over the past few years, but what exactly defines a short video? A short video is anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds long, although six-second micro-videos have become popular on platforms like YouTube and Snapchat.
These videos are short enough to hold the viewer’s attention span but long enough to tell an engaging story and provide the viewer with valuable information. Here are some factors in determining whether you should use short-form videos in your video marketing strategy.
Audience Is Social Media
Short-form video is tailored primarily for the mobile viewing experience—short, instantly engaging, and customized for the platform. This makes it perfect for social media sites, since they integrate directly with the mobile user experience.
Time comes at a premium on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat due to users’ quick scrolling through content. HubSpot discovered that 26 seconds was the ideal video length on Instagram, 45 seconds for Twitter, and about one minute for Facebook.
This video length is long enough to hold a user’s interest to raise brand awareness, encourage any leads into the sales funnel, and also entertain current customers. For a great example of video that engages the viewer while also educating them, see the Kaiser Permanente commercial “Find Your Words.”
Overall short-form videos are good if you are trying to work with short attention spans. These shorter videos tend to have a higher completion rate, which means people are less likely to scroll past your videos without watching them especially on Facebook.
Easier to Remember and Repurpose
One major advantage of short-form video is that it makes you refine your branding message. If you cannot get your message across in a short amount of time, then your message may not be memorable enough.
Scale is also a big benefit of short-form videos. You can create short videos based on your existing content or even create new content by documenting behind the scenes experiences of your business.
Turning your written content into video content can help viewers remember up to 80 percent of what they see, compared to 20 percent of content they read. Many content marketers and brands love short video content because it performs better in video completion rates and getting the audience to remember the brand being advertised.
Considering Long-Form Videos?
Shorter videos have gotten a lot of good press, but they certainly are not the only option. Actually, long-form video content (anything longer than two minutes) may be the better option if your goal is more views and engagement. Wochit reported that in 2017, longer videos on Facebook received 79 percent more shares and 74 percent more views than short videos.
Long-form content can separate you from your competition, especially since average engagement with a four-minute video versus a 10-minute video is not significantly different. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have been emphasizing long-form video since early 2017. Google has also started ranking longer videos higher in its search engine results. Long-form videos may help you increase the SEO visibility of your brand’s website.
If you are trying to tell a longer story that explains your brand’s message, then long-form video may be the best choice. It allows you to delve deeper and explore a more nuanced narrative. Documentaries, interviews, how-tos, product demos, and educational videos are great examples of this format.
Long-form videos can also help build brand awareness, engage audiences, and inspire emotional reactions. Intel’s “Meet the Makers” video series is an excellent example of this. Stories like the Intel engineering team racing to create virus-proof tablets for doctors combating the recent deadly Ebola virus outbreak are emotionally engaging. When viewers don’t realize they’re watching a marketing video, brands know they’ve hit the sweet spot with their long-form video content.
Can You Have Both Short and Long Videos?
Deciding between short-form and long-form videos can be a difficult task, but sometimes the answer is both. Consider trimming in-depth, longer videos into bite-sized pieces you can more easily share across social media platforms. You don’t have to choose between the two as long as you repurpose your videos for each platform.
Tell an engaging story, and lay off the branding. Consumers want their brands to be authentic. Branding is often unavoidably impersonal, but stories introduce a human element that makes people care about your brand.
Are you confident you can tell an engaging story that gets your brand’s message across in a 30-second video? If not, maybe a longer video is necessary to connect emotionally with the viewer.
Just remember: Nab the user’s attention within the first few seconds. Once you’ve nailed this, it may not matter what length your video is!