Marketing videos vary in length, from short-form to medium-length and long-form videos. The length of your video can impact how long your viewers stick around to watch your content.
We looked at data from 1.1 million videos uploaded to the Wistia platform to share what we learned about how people consume content. Plus, we give you our recommendations for how long different types of videos should be if you want to maximize your engagement!
Let’s talk about the differences between short-form, medium-length, and long-form content.
In our book, short-form content can range from super-short-form videos under 60 seconds to videos up to five minutes in length.
Medium-length videos are five to 10 minutes in length.
Anything longer than 10 minutes we’d consider to be long-form.
From our research in our 2023 State of Video Report, most of the videos created in 2022 were super short-form videos under 60 seconds. These short-form videos and those between five and 30 minutes remain the most popular to create year over year.
However, businesses also invested in creating long-form videos in 2022. Videos above 30 minutes saw over 11,000% growth over the past decade compared to 36% growth for videos under 30 minutes.
In our exploration of length vs. engagement, we wondered, “Do viewers consider length when they decide to watch or leave?” We wanted to find out.
We expected engagement would decrease as video length increases. In other words, we expected people would watch more of a 1-minute video than a 2-minute video. But we also imagined that increasing a video from 1 minute to 2 minutes — a difference of 1 minute, but 100% longer — would have a much more significant impact on engagement than the jump from 10 minutes to 11 minutes — a change of one minute, but just 10%.
We expected that the relationship wasn’t linear. We predicted we’d see an exponential decay like the one below:
So what did our data tell us? Here’s what we found:
We mentioned that super short-form videos under 60 seconds are the most popular to create. Well, it may come as no surprise that they also receive the highest viewer engagement.
Need some ideas for super short-form videos? Here are some ideas:
- Social media videos: Create bite-sized content you can share across your social media channels such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok.
- Help center videos: You could also create videos for your help center or videos that answer a frequently asked question that are under 60 seconds.
- Video voicemails: You can use video voicemails to encourage prospective customers to book time on your calendar to talk more about your product or service.
After one minute, every second counts. This is where the exponential decay kicks in, but don’t let that frighten you!
For videos up to five minutes, audiences will watch at least 50% of your video on average.
There are many different types of videos you could create for your business that run between one to five minutes. Here are some ideas:
- Product explainer videos: These are a great way to help new and potential clients get a feel for your product and understand why it’s a great fit for their needs.
- Promotional videos: If you want to build hype for an upcoming webinar, conference, or event, you can create a short and succinct promotional video that’s between one to three minutes.
- Sales presentations: Video can be a sales secret weapon. Record a sales presentation with a webcam and screen-recording tool like the one in Wistia. Aim for up to three minutes so you can give yourself enough time to get into the right level of detail, answer all questions, and finish off with a call to action.
Videos longer than five minutes see a steady decrease in engagement.
Videos five to 30 minutes have an average engagement rate of 38%.
Here are some ideas for videos between five to 30 minutes:
- Testimonial videos: These can be indispensable for building trust and winning over new customers. They generally fall within the five to 10-minute window.
- Internal training videos: If you’d like to scale your internal onboarding process, video can help you do just that! Feel free to go as in-depth as you need with internal training videos. These can run five to 10 minutes long, and there’s less pressure to make these super polished since they’re used to communicate basic information to your employees.
Long-form videos that exceed 30 minutes have the lowest engagement rates. However, there’s a good chance you have some high-quality leads viewing your content!
Videos between 30–60 minutes have an average engagement rate of 26%.
We also found that 16% of viewers will stick with you to consume more than an hour of your company’s video. We think that’s pretty neat!
Here are some ideas for long-form videos:
- Live events and webinars: These are some of the most effective ways businesses can engage their audiences. We recommend webinars run 30 minutes to an hour, with the final 15 minutes reserved for a question and answer session.
- Video podcasts: If you’re creating podcasts for your business, consider video recording your podcasts, which might draw in an audience who’s interested in both watching and listening to your podcast.
You can feel confident relying on the video engagement rates we mentioned in this post because they’re consistent year after year! If your video beats these benchmarks, you’ve got an eye-grabbing video on your hands. If your video comes in under these benchmarks, try editing out moments where you see your audience engagement drop off.
Regardless, be sure to analyze your viewer engagement (with heatmaps in Wistia). That way you’ll know what’s resonating the most with your audience. We also recommend A/B testing your videos!
The ideal length of the videos you create depends on the content, the context, and the viewer. However, it’s also safe to assume that your viewers have short attention spans and plenty of distractions. When in doubt, make your content shorter!