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Video Inspiration, Video Marketing

Long, short form, or micro-video? The best lengths for reaching your video marketing goals

Jun 20, 2018

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Video may be the king of content these days, but that doesn’t mean all video is created equal. Depending on your marketing goals, the optimal length for your video may range from a snippet of just a few seconds to a full clip that runs as long as ten minutes or more. Being sensitive to the right video length will make your content more effective, will meet your viewers’ expectations, and will better support your business goals. We took a deeper look at three popular types of video content and common video marketing goals to determine the ideal length for each situation.

Video marketing goal: Brand Awareness

According to our latest report, more marketing videos are created for the purpose of building brand awareness than any other use case. And to reach this video marketing goal, micro-video has become a go-to for brands these days. Catering to the public’s short attention span and fulfilling demand for better, quicker content has led video storytelling to get straight to the point. Micro-video content (typically between 5-10 seconds long) is particularly effective when it comes to building brand awareness. These ten-second videos make it easy to give viewers a glimpse of your brand, whether that’s with stunning visuals, snappy storytelling, or a quick hook to inspire viewers to learn more.

Video-focused platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have championed this popular wave of micro-video. Brands can catch attention with well-designed teaser videos that promote new releases or events and drive traffic to longer content or further information. Soon, a devoted social following transforms into a dedicated brand audience. And social video stories allow brands to share behind-the-scenes sneak peeks that inspire curiosity and constantly bring new viewers and fans into the fold.

This vertical Snippet video created by Care.com is perfect for reaching their baby and animal-loving followers on Snapchat and Instagram Stories:

 

Video marketing goal: Audience Engagement

Searching for the happy middle ground between catchy micro-videos and longer thought leadership content, we land on the type of short form video often seen on YouTube or, these days, Facebook. Short form videos are usually no more than a minute long — snappy enough to hold the average viewer’s attention, but substantial enough to wade into more meaningful storytelling and deliver value in the span of the video itself.

Short form videos of this kind encourage engagement on social, boosting likes and fueling comments activity as viewers reflect on and interact with the topics covered or the questions raised. Short form videos also play a notable role on brand websites, whether they standalone as isolated video features or complement written editorial content with live action summaries and commentary. They increase time spent on a brand’s website by giving visitors entertaining opportunities to get involved and stay engaged.

Here’s one of Dollar Tree’s short form videos created in the Wibbitz platform to promote engagement around (and hopefully, sell) their jumbo sports mugs – complete with colorful product images, happy Twitter user reviews, and a friendly talking head:

 

Video marketing goal: Thought Leadership

Sometimes telling the full story demands a longer video. Just ask Instagram – the app known for its micro-video stories just launched YouTube competitor IGTV, which now allows brands and influencers to upload videos up to an hour long. Interviews with thought leaders, debates and discussions on industry topics, and in-depth case studies are all examples of video types that lend themselves to longer, more robust storytelling forms. Have you noticed that most TED talks run between 10 and 20 minutes? When thought leadership is your primary video marketing goal, longer video content isn’t just appropriate, it’s necessary. Maybe your founder is elaborating on your startup’s mission by telling the company’s origin story. Maybe some viral news just hit your industry and your company has decided to take the bull by the horns and address the story head-on. Maybe you used all those ten-second and two-minute videos to guide your viewers to an in-depth presentation about your company’s newest product or a groundbreaking invention.

This video marketing goal justifies a long form video. We often hear that the average attention span of today’s viewership demands no more than a few seconds of content a time, but that’s not always true. Your devoted fanbase, loyal customers, and even prospective new clients are all examples of viewers who want and even expect to see more from the brands that interest them. Don’t shy away from telling the whole story in videos that run long—just make sure you’re telling those longer stories for the right reasons, in the right formats, and on the right platforms.

The long form videos created for SimilarWeb’s Insights series (like this one below) are chock-full of interesting data and topical industry knowledge – and tend to last a bit longer than the rest of the videos you’ll find on their Facebook page.