Should Brands Make Videos Longer Than Two Minutes?
Videos are a great way to communicate a large amount of information to your audience. It’s incredible how much you can cover in a two-minute video – which is the preferred maximum length on most social media channels.
"The shorter, the better" is the general rule of thumb for improving video engagement on social media. Not to say there isn't a place for longer videos on social, but videos that are two minutes or less generally yield higher audience engagement. There are certainly cases where it may be warranted for your brand to make a video longer than two minutes. If your brand is in this boat, make sure you follow these essential rules before your video hits production.
Have a good reason
You may have heard that the myth that the average adult's attention span is getting shorter. As it turns out, our attention spans have not decreased, but they have evolved. We all get bombarded with an absurd amount of information every day, so we have developed a mental filter only to allow things that pertain to us. While it is totally possible to get your audience's attention for longer than a couple of minutes, you will need to have a solid strategy to pull it off.
Consumers prefer shorter videos on social media – generally two-minutes or less. If you’re making a video longer than that, you should have a damn good reason for doing it. Longer videos are usually used to cover a technical or multifaceted topic. Some brands use it to explain a process change, company culture, a community engagement campaign, etc. Make sure it's a story that your audience will want to tune in to listen to.
Keep it informative
Time is a precious commodity. People are reluctant to give it to you unless they know it will benefit them in some way, shape, or form. This should be at the front of your mind when determining how long your video should be.
Your video description comes in clutch here. Adding a quick summary in the video caption or the body of the post will give your viewers will know what your video is about before they watch the entire thing. This short and informative video description will help your viewers determine within a few seconds if they will watch your video or scroll on.
Your video should be packed with great information also. Information that tells a compelling story is useful for your audience to know and encourages your viewers to take action. These are the types of videos that people will take the time to stop scrolling and watch. You will boost viewer engagement by wasting zero time and delivering valuable, informative content.
Place it on the right channels
There are only a handful of social media platforms that will allow you to upload longer videos, so you will need to choose the right platform that your audience uses carefully. Check out this simple chart that breaks down the maximum video length on the top social media platforms:
*Select Twitter advertisers can request up to 10-minutes in promoted video length
**Snapchat business accounts can add back-to-back 10-second ads for a total of 200 seconds
Okay, the elephant in the room – Facebook really does let people upload 4-hour long videos! Chances are, your brand will never make a video near that length. Videos that are several hours long are typically Facebook Live videos that were used to record an event. After the live streaming ends, the video is uploaded to Facebook. Facebook cares about brands being able to preserve the recording of long events on its platform, so that is why the 240-minute cap exists.
When determining to make a video longer than a couple minutes, bear in mind that the length will limit where you can publish it. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter (sometimes) are the only top social media platforms that will accept videos longer than two minutes. Snapchat does provide a bit of a creative loophole, allowing you to get up to 200 seconds of video out to your viewers. Make sure your audience regularly uses one of these platforms before your brand produces a longer video!
Use an episodic format
If your brand is running a more extensive campaign that spans over some time, it may be best to consider putting your videos in an episodic format. Timing out your messages and providing chunks of video over time will help create buzz around your campaign and ensure your audience tunes in for the next video release.
Breaking your videos out into episodes can also keep your consumers from getting overwhelmed. Let's say your brand is planning on making a 60-minute video. That's a big ask, even for your most loyal followers. Instead of a full 60-minutes, try breaking it out into six different 10-minute videos. Reducing the length makes it easier for your audience to commit to, and it will leave them yearning to learn more about the story they are engaged with.
Create a short version
If a large portion of your audience spends time on a social platform that does not allow long videos, it may be worth it to create a condensed version to accompany your long video! The brief video should follow the exact format of your longer video, so your message remains as consistent as possible across all platforms.
Bonus points – at the end of your brief video, encourage your viewers to watch the more extended version. This will help increase viewer engagement for both versions of your video.
There are a time and a place for longer videos on social media. Most marketers that are experienced with video will say the golden rule is not to make your videos longer than a couple of minutes. While that is technically the best practice for marketing videos, certain situations warrant a more extended video length. If your brand has determined to make a long video (or series of videos) follow these essential rules to help ensure your campaign receives the highest engagement possible.