How long should our videos be?

  • 30 seconds?
  • 1 minute?
  • 2 minutes?
  • 5 minutes?

What’s best?

Here is a first approach:

A video has to be as long as it has to be.

While undoubtedly true, this is probably not really helpful as far as answering this question goes.

We all know that there are no easy answers to ‘What is best?’ question because ‘it all depends.’

So, what does the length of a video depend on?

Let’s start by establishing a few general guidelines for determining the length of a video.

First of all, it depends on the purpose of our video.

The second factor is the type of video.

Next is our audience’s expectations.

Last but by no means least is the content of our video.

All of this then has to be checked against the final arbiter: the budget for our video.

Now let’s look at a few rules of thumb.

You’ll see how the guidelines impact each of these categories.

Promotional Videos

The length of a promotional video is probably of most interest. These videos should be approximately 60 seconds long. Hopefully a little shorter but certainly not longer than 90 seconds because online attention spans are extremely short.

Above all, these videos must be snappy, right to the point, and end as quickly as possible on a Call to Action.


Content Marketing

Content marketing or information marketing videos can be 2 to 3 minutes long. Again, they have to be tight, to the point, and, above all: We have to keep them interesting.

Please, do not rely on the topic being interesting or on you being interested in the topic. Remember, our mantra is WIIFM, What’s In It For Me. This is what we have to keep in mind at all times. After all, the information in these videos is not for our own pleasure. Their purpose is to help our audience and to have them ask for more.

Now to a few videos that have to be as long as they have to be.

HOW-TO Videos

If we have to create a How-To video that is, for instance, 25 minutes long, let’s try and split it into 5 videos that are 5 minutes each. Our viewers will be more interested in a series of shorter videos than in one long video.

However, if the video has to be 25 minutes long and cannot be split up, we can introduce a Table of Content with clickable links. This makes the video interactive as the viewer can jump straight to the sections they are specifically interested in. This kind of interactivity, too, will increase the popularity of our video.


Our final example is webinars. These obviously have to be as long as they have to be, that is, as long as our content requires. Again, we need to keep the presentation tight and to the point.

Webinars should aim for 30 to 45 minutes of presentation of content plus Q&A.

Some companies offer lunch time webinars with a total length of 30 minutes including Q&A. These webinars accommodate their audience’s work schedule by respecting, on the one hand, their productive time during the workday and, on the other hand, their family time after work.

So there you have examples for different lengths of videos depending on purpose, type and content of our videos.

What type of video do you want to create?

The core of my A-Z of Video for Professional Services is to provide you with the information that empowers you to connect and build trust with your online audience; that helps you get your message right and get it out there with the most powerful online tools available; that helps you come across as a Trusted Advisor on your website and on your social media properties.

My aim is to empower by helping you to get it right: create, present and distribute effective videos. You can see all of my the A-Z of Video for Professional Services on my blog.

This article was first published on the blog.