Before this question can be answered, one would first need to understand the context around the video. To do so otherwise would be misleading, and a bit like asking if you should have animation in the video, or employ a cross-dissolve, exposure blur or straight cut as a transition between shots. Without the context it is impossible to say. To best determine the answer to this question, one would first need to consider the answers to the following; otherwise it’s bit like putting the cart before the horse.
First and foremost, what is the purpose behind your video? This answer should be crystal clear to you otherwise you would not be considering creating a video.
Who are your target audience? Certainly here, ‘Everyone’ would be an incorrect answer; you need to have a specific group of people in mind you want to target.
What is your relationship to the audience? This answer is particularly important as it will determine how interested your audience will be in your message.
How do you wish to deliver the video to your audience? If no one has given this much thought, you’re already in trouble.
What do you want to depict in the video? Basically, what is your key message?
What style and format should my video adopt?
There are numerous types, styles and uses of corporate video. Knowing what type of video you are looking for, and answering the above questions will help determine the proper length of your video. A handful of different video styles would be:
Video Case Studies
Now that you have a little more information on what to consider when planning your video, let’s take a look at some trends in corporate video.
1) On average, corporate videos are becoming shorter.
Given the growing number of web-based ads and videos, the average viewing time for corporate videos is certainly declining. Four or five years ago, three minutes used to be common guidance for a corporate overview video. In the last couple of years this has been reduced to just a couple of minutes. Today we are somewhere between 60 to 120 seconds. There are many reasons for this change:
Mobile video is accelerating – More people are watching video on a mobile device and short form video is a necessity for such platforms. Mobile is almost at the point of becoming video’s first screen.
Attention spans are declining – As more and more information competes for our attention, this trend will certainly accelerate as we continue to multi-task. People just don’t have the time to sit and watch a five minute video anymore.
Video length can be a deterrent – Most users glance at the length of a video prior to viewing. If the video is perceived as being too much of an investment of their time they will simply move on. I myself am guilty of this. We all do it, and it is a fact that is here to stay.
Online viewers drop off very quickly – Research shows that over time of a video, there is a dramatic drop-off in viewership. More than half or corporate videos are abandoned before the viewer gets halfway through, and very few are actually completed.
So the key message here is shorter is better. Unless of course it is longer, which we will explore below.
2) Some videos are getting longer.
The norm for a corporate video created today is to make it a promotional video, which talks about you. The reality is that no one really cares about you, your product, your building or people. What people do care about is their own problems. Enter content marketing.
Content marketing is gaining a lot of traction and is not about selling, it’s about providing valuable information to your customers and linking your brand to that content.
By doing this, over time you establish a relationship of trust with your prospects and existing clients, and giving the viewer content they are interested in is the first step to establishing this relationship. This is where longer form videos are better suited to this type of promotion. How-to videos, tips and tricks, industry updates – really anything that provides value and helps the viewer – is what works best.
One might argue that television advertising still works today and I would agree with you, however the reality is that some people are still too lazy to change the channel. Online is a different story. Most online viewers have their index finger perched over their mouse button just itching to click away at the slightest hint of self-indulgent dribble. So while shorter is better, shorter isn’t always best. Relevant trumps shorter every time. Relevant helpful content is where the game is won.
The following are average lengths for different types of business videos today:
Corporate Overview Videos – 1 to 2 minutes.
Online Promotional Ads – 15 and 30 seconds
Broadcast Promotional Ads – 15, 30 and 60 seconds
Product or Service Promotions – 60 to 90 seconds
Content Marketing – 1 to 5 minutes (or longer)
Very Short Form Video – 6, 15 or 16 seconds
Video Case Studies – 2 to 4 minutes
Training Videos – 2 to 30 minutes
Product Reviews – 1 to 3 minutes
Event Videos – 2 to 60 minutes
Video Length Tips
Only make the video as long as it takes to get the point across. The sooner this is achieved, the better off you will be.
The type of video, audience relationship, and purpose of the video will ultimately determine the length.
Front load your content just like you would write a press release. Most people will never get to the end of your video
Don’t include useless branding content at the start of the video.
Don’t bloat your video with message creep. Keep it to the point.
The bottom line in corporate video (and in most other forms of communications) is to get the point across as quickly as you can.