Short Videos vs. Long Videos — How to Choose

With the rise of sites like Vine, Periscope, and Meerkat, shorter videos are being used more and more for marketing purposes. Videos ranging from just a few seconds to a few minutes long can help you promote your business and build your online brand, but how do you know how long a video should be?

Getting a video’s length just right will ensure you get your message across, don’t distract your market, maintain attention and create pieces that will support your overarching marketing strategies.

A Rule of Thumb

The basic rule of thumb is that your video should be as long as it needs to be to convey your message while avoiding unnecessary content and still keeping viewers’ interested. The length of your video will depend on your objectives and what you want it to accomplish. Another determining factor will be where you plan to publish your video. Social media videos tend to be shorter while videos on blogs or websites could be a little longer.

There aren’t any set rules for determining how long a video should be, but short and long videos both have their strengths and weaknesses, which you should be aware of.

Use a Short Video If…

You are publishing to social media or don’t have much time with your market. Short videos are ideal for getting a quick message across and creating content that focuses on just one or two things.

If you use online advertising, short video spots can help your ads stand out and make your products more appealing to your market. Even video ads that are just a few seconds long can demand attention.

Short videos are also great for behind-the-scenes glimpses or quick product demonstrations.
Their strength is that they don’t require much time from your audience, so people may be more likely to watch them.

However, keep in mind that shorter videos require you to be more concise and may not leave enough room to include a lot of information or drawn-out messaging, so keep your speaking points short and sweet.

Use a Long Video If…

You have a lot of information to provide or have more time with your audience to persuade or entertain. Longer videos are great for blog posts, websites and some social media sites, like YouTube.

Videos that are three to four minutes long give you enough space to deliver longer, fleshed out messages so you can go more in depth. They allow you to spend more time delivering information or explaining topics. Longer videos are also great as entertaining pieces, which can help you connect with your market and build your brand.

Keep in mind that a common hurdle many businesses face with longer videos is that it can be difficult to keep the audience’s attention. Even though you have more time at your disposal, longer videos still need to be catchy and well scripted and maintain a pace that keeps people watching.

Choosing the right video length is a matter of determining your goals and considering where you will be publishing the piece and what your market will be receptive to. Getting the length right will make your videos more effective and help you generate a reaction from your audience.