A lot of people ask us: ‘how long should a promotional video be?’. Unfortunately, there isn’t one definitive ideal length – the length of your video depends on a number of factors, including the purpose of the video, who it is for, and where the video will be distributed.
It’s a good idea to address these factors before you start shooting, as you don’t want to be trying to cut down a 15-minute masterpiece to a 2-minute attention grabber when it comes to the edit. When formulating the idea and creating the script for your promotional video, it is important to think about the following:
The first step in determining how long your promotional video should be is to ask yourself why you’re making the video in the first place. Is it to gain new customers? Are you a startup business looking to get noticed? Are you radically changing your business model? Are you rebranding or hosting an event?
Whatever your purpose is, there will be an ideal promo video length to help you achieve it. It boils down to how much you want to give away in the promotional video and how much you want to hold back in the hope that people want to learn more.
A rule of thumb for video is to keep it as succinct as possible so that you don’t lose the interest of your audience and instead leave them wanting more. For example, a teaser video, creative advert, or a ‘coming soon’ style video should be very short, perhaps less than a minute, but a reveal video needs to be at least a couple of minutes long.
Every industry has different demands for people’s time. There are some that are non-stop, while others will have peak periods of intense workloads followed by longer downtime. As the old saying goes, ‘time is money’, so promotional videos should be shorter when your audience is made up of people on-the-go or between meetings, but can afford to be slightly longer if your video is circulating during a point of slow trade.
Different people have varying attention spans. Some will only give a video 5 seconds to capture their attention before they move on, so you have to make that first 5 seconds count. Even if they are interested after this time, this kind of audience will still likely not give a video more than a few minutes of their time, so don’t draw it out unnecessarily after an impactful open.
Younger audiences tend to have a shorter attention span because most of the content they consume via social media is short and snappy. So, to reach them, your video needs to be short and snappy too. For older audiences, you probably have a little longer to draw them in, but they likely have more demands on their time, as mentioned earlier. With that in mind, keep your video only as long as it needs to be to get your message across.
Where will it be distributed?
The final criteria for determining how long your promotional video should be is where the film will be distributed. Is it just for your website? Will you be sharing it across your social media channels? Will you be uploading it to YouTube or maybe screening it an organised event? It’s also important to consider where people will be viewing your video – not many people want to watch videos on the small screen of their phones for more than a couple of minutes.
Promotional videos on social media should be the shortest, anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes in length, whereas videos on your website or hosting sites like YouTube or Vimeo can be longer if you feel it is necessary to get your message across. Screening your video at an event also affords you more time, as you have a captive audience who are unlikely to leave, but they will stop paying attention if the content is not engaging.
It may be that you can create a teaser-style video for social media, that is very short but encourages people to go to your website or YouTube to see the full film.
Hopefully, this has given you some idea of how long your promotional video should be. Although there is no definitive answer and there are always exceptions to any rule, the best course of action is to keep your video as succinct as possible, to give your audience everything they need to know, but leave them wanting more. If you need help with your promotional video, why not get in touch and see how we can help?