Is 3 the New 10? Finding the Ideal Brand Video Length

By James Kwon

Nowadays businesses are becoming significantly more aware of the struggles between uploading detailed video content and the human attention span.

We’re all aware that the internet has drastically changed our attention and retention spans over the past few decades, people are “constantly logged on” as my Dad says.

Instead of reading a book people unwind with a few hours of social media.

Instead of telling your friends about that cool thing you did why not snapchat it to them in real time?

With everyone and everything suddenly in the palm of your hand thanks to those handy smartphones everyone over the age of 6 seems to have, it’s no wonder humans are adapting their behaviors and mentalities to keep up with the digital age. So, in the spirit of adaptation, here are some thoughts on locating the ideal brand video length.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge supporter of the digital era. I’m “logged on” just as often as everyone else. But working for a digital marketing agency where producing quality video content for our clients is my job, I’ve begun to notice just how much our shortening attention spans are affecting the work we put out.

By using Hubspot and Wistia to track our video engagement we were able to see that longer videos, between 5 to 10 minutes, were receiving significantly less engagement than videos that were on the shorter side, between 1 to 3 minutes.

So what does this mean for companies who have great stories to tell, but are having a hard time telling them within the time allotted for our tiny human attention spans? It means they need to adapt! Gone are the days of detailed, ten minute videos. In order to grab viewers attention and maintain it, videos need to be eye catching, fast paced, and fun!

Trust me, I know how hard it can be to cut down a quality ten minute video to something more manageable for the masses, but I’ve also seen the analytics and data doesn’t lie. Consumers are twice as likely to stay on your video until the end if it falls between that sweet spot of one to three minutes. That means that it’s twice as likely they’ll click on your call to action at the end of the video and turn into potential clients.

So how do we do it? How do we take a topic we know so much about and boil it down to a few minutes of key information AND make it interesting?

We discipline ourselves.

When planning out your video set a time limit that your video HAS to fall under. Doesn’t fit within the time? Cut things out. Another great way to do it is to divide your ten minute video up into a video series. People are way more likely to watch five two minute videos than one ten minute video. It seems less intimidating to watch small bunches of content than one long video.

In 2012, Wistia did a study which showed that audience engagement drops off significantly the longer a video goes on, even given the difference of one to two minutes. However, it was noted that videos between one to three minutes maintained most audience attention and saw the most results.

Between that study and our own analytics, I feel pretty confident when I say that it’s time to start cutting down, people! Grab your viewer’s attention in a shorter video and then hit them with all the longer details later on.