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 video length 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 correct video length will make your content more compelling, meet your viewers’ expectations, and better support your business goals.
But how do you know what kind of video to make?
In this blog post, we’ll give you a couple of hints on how to set goals for your videos and leverage different video lengths to reach your video marketing goals.
Have a clear goal in mind for each piece of video content
First things first: Before you do anything, you should map out your objectives and what metrics you want to follow to track how you’re reaching these goals.
What are you hoping to achieve with a specific video? Are you using it to build brand awareness and increase your brand’s credibility, or are you trying to improve lead conversion?
Who is the video for? Where is your audience watching videos? On social media platforms, on your website, or somewhere else?
Once you have determined why you’re producing that video, remember to agree on measurable metrics that help you follow and track your success.
Video is an excellent tool for all different types of marketing for all stages of the sales funnel, but it should never be done without a clear goal and KPIs in mind.
When setting your goals, think about:
✅ Who is this video for? What are their pain points and concerns at this stage?
✅ How will your audience watch this video?
✅ What action would you like them to take after seeing your video?
✅ How will you measure the success of your video?
Once you’ve set your goals, you can move on to planning the actual video content itself.
Let’s take a deeper look at three popular types of video content and common video marketing goals to determine the ideal length for videos in each example situation.
Video marketing goal: brand awareness
Micro-video is something worth exploring when you want to build your brand awareness.
Catering to the public’s short attention span and fulfilling the 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 in building brand awareness.
In shorter videos, it’s 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 content, we land on the type of short-form video length often seen on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as blogs, and websites.
Short-form videos are usually 1-3 minutes 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.
These kinds of videos encourage engagement on social media, boosting likes and fueling comments activity as viewers reflect on and interact with the topics covered or the questions raised.
Short videos also play a notable role on brand websites, whether they stand alone as isolated video features or complement written editorial content with live-action summaries and commentary.
They can really increase time spent on your company website by giving visitors entertaining opportunities to get involved and stay engaged.
Here’s one of Dollar Tree’s short form videos created with Wibbitz to promote engagement around (and eventually, 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 length.
Interviews with thought leaders, debates and discussions on industry topics, and in-depth case studies are 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. (Psst: Using video to guide your audience to your other content is also an excellent tactic to try!)
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 suitable 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 video lengths you’ll find on their Facebook page.