How Long is a Piece of Video?

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How Long is a Piece of Video?

| Video Content | December 09, 2014

As well as price, one of the questions we are often asked is what is the ideal length for an online video. It’s very subjective in that it depends on so many factors – the audience, the content, the tone, its environment. We could go on. But a common misconception is that it’s also about budget – it’s not. A 1 minute film can cost just as much (or little) as a 30 minute film.

Budget will only come into play when looking to be efficient as filming days tend to be more expensive than editing days. See our last blog on that here… http://www.thepeloton.tv/general/price-everything-value-nothing/

There is an increasing amount of research on this subject. The commonly accepted view is that 3 minutes is the optimal time for an online video (we think this is a very misleading assumption). However, we work on some IT content and that can be as long as 15-20 minutes because it offers the detail that audience wants.

That last point demonstrates that length of video is dependent on audience information requirement. Below we will look at all of the types of films that we have been asked to produce and give guidance on what sort of time can be recommended. To re-iterate: audience; content matter; tone and environment are all deciding factors…

  • YouTube Trueview ad: 5 seconds. Why do people put 30+ second ads on YouTube? Everyone skips them!
  • Impact/ad style: no more than 75 seconds. Part of the requirement is that it needs to grab the user quickly so that they stick with the story. Non-committed browsers look at countdown clocks. Less than a minute left, people will tend to stay with you.
  • Animations: no more than 90 seconds: this is B2B, not Wallace and Gromit. Useful information relayed over a short time will keep the viewer hooked. Any more than 90 seconds left on the clock and they will soon be gone.
  • Broadview/teaser: 2 mins: It’s an ideal time to get your message across to a senior and time-poor audience. Keep it short, clear and highlight the need to look further into your content. If you’ve got a lot to say, chapterise it and make the other episodes available for viewing easily.
  • Case study/feature: 3 – 6 minutes: If your user has pressed play on these, they are interested in what you have to say. Offer more information, this is where you demonstrate either ‘thought leadership’ or your ability to solve a problem.
  • Interview films: 4-15 minutes. Finance and technology requires expert advice and opinions. Interviews are part of this and your viewer will stay to the end. It beats a white paper and offers the viewer critical information to enable them to keep on top of the issues that their roles entail.

Again, this is all subjective and, dependent on the requirement, we might turn all of that wisdom on its head. The best way to see the kind of length you think works well for your film is to watch other similar films and see what suits. You are a viewer and no different from any other viewer so let your instincts guide you here.

You have been watching…



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