Like a good elevator pitch, an effective explainer video should be short. But how short? While you might only have 15-seconds in an elevator, you usually have a little more freedom when crafting your message for an online audience. And while I’ve certainly watched some longer videos that can hold my attention, too many web videos are losing viewers before they even get to the point.
I’ve always recommended to clients that 60-seconds is the sweet spot, the perfect crossover of content and viewer attention spans. While the majority of time I’ve based this off of personal experience and past mistakes, I now have statistical evidence to help prove my point.
Wistia recently published an article titled Does Length Matter? It Does For Video: 2K12 Edition. Reading through it, I found an interesting graph and was able to make a pretty connection between the data and explainer videos.
By trimming the graph (right), we can see a drastic drop in the percentage of the video viewed as video length increases. Now we’ll have to make an estimate of roughly 70% viewed for a 60-second video, which compares to the 2-minute’s 65%. That’s a 5% difference in the average duration watched.
5% may not seem like much, but as Bill Nye would say, “consider the following:” on average a viewer is watching 42 seconds of a 60 second video (70%) and 78 seconds of a 120 second video (65%). So if you create a 120 second video, viewers will skip as much content (42 seconds) as they would watch in a 60-second video. That’s a lot of content going to waste (not to mention the time and money you spent producing it!), and more often than not, it’s the important stuff – like your pitch and call-to-action.
There are two important things to take away from this little analysis. First, shorter is better. You need to make sure your video is long enough to convey your message, but there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get it done in 30-60 seconds. In general, the less time your video takes to watch, the more of it people will watch. Second, get to the point. If viewers are dropping off around 65-70% of the way into your video, shouldn’t you talk about your company early and often?
What do you think? Is 60 seconds the best length for an explainer video? How much does it depend on the content and audience?