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Video Length

November 15, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I posted a while back about a company running a very lengthy video on Facebook, arguing that 11 minutes was just too long for that space.  Turns out I was sort of wrong, at least according to some research done by Unruly Media and reported here at reelSEO:

What’s the Ideal Length for a YouTube Marketing Video? A look into Video Duration vs. Social Sharing

The average length of the top 10 marketing pieces on YouTube is a whopping 4 minutes, 11 seconds. Let me say that again – the most watched marketing pieces were over 4 minutes long. I made the argument that 30 seconds is about all users will give – how is it that these very long videos are drawing viewers by the millions? The research indicated that the best, most popular ads developed an emotional connection to the user. By engaging their emotions users developed a closer connection to the brand and kept them watching long past what one might have expected.

I don’t take this to mean that the emotions brought up have to be tear-jerking sadness or angst, because if it did the fundraising piece I mentioned should have fit that bill.  Clearly there’s more to it – the emotions can run from sadness or other downer emotions, or they can be energetic and vibrant. What I think distinguishes the successful emotion-driven long pieces and the unsuccessful remains a question of understanding your audience and applying the emotions in a way designed to draw the right attention. The 9 minute shoe commercial they reference hits the right notes for their audience – loud cars and music, screeching tires and explosions.

So again, I seem to be partially correct that longer videos will not work for the average audience – UNLESS – you have put a lot of thought into how you will develop and sustain people’s interests over the lengthier video. As the article points out, 30 seconds really isn’t a lot of time to tell a full story, so if you need longer go ahead and do it. The key is to keep your viewers engaged for as long as necessary – the first thirty seconds, the last 30 and as many minutes in between that you need have to maintain the emotional level needed to make sure they stay with you.

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