As brands begin to recognise the value in video content, our timelines on social media have become ever more populated by this medium.

And as consumers, we love it. In fact, according to HubSpot, 78 percent of people watch online videos every week, and 55 percent view online videos every day.

Despite the popularity of video content, in today’s hyper-connected digital world, for a brand it can seem almost impossible to capture the attention of the consumer.

The buzzing and flashing of distracting notifications promise instant gratification to their owners, leading them to check screens and change apps every two minutes or so.

Unfortunately, this has diminished the human attention span so much so, that now some studies even claim it’s shorter than that of a goldfish.

And thereby lies the challenge for today’s video marketers; to create content that captures this diminishing attention.

But how?

It’s no longer enough to create one format of video content and hope it performs successfully across multiple social media platforms.

With the extensive range of platforms now available to share video content across (and each with their own native video specifications), video marketing now requires a multi-pronged approach.

It requires careful consideration of the audience of the platform in order to determine the length of the video.

With vast experience creating video content for a variety of clients from a range of industries, we’ve grown to understand which video lengths and formats seem to work best on different platforms.

We also asked the opinion of Matthew Flanagan, senior social media community manager at Sky Bet (for whom we create regular video content) to share his opinion on what timings work best across their different social channels.

Facebook

According to multiple studies, videos for this platform should be no longer than two minutes in length. BuzzSumo analysed 100 million Facebook videos and found content around this was found to get the most interaction. Engagement was shown to fall off sharply after the two-minute mark.

Short videos that are fun, informative, and easily understood without sound tend to be the best performers on Facebook. Be mindful that videos on Facebook will autoplay without sound, so appealing visuals that make sense without audio is essential.

According to Flanagan, Sky Bet’s Facebook account is primarily used for longer pieces of content as opposed to Twitter. The optimum time frame they aim for is between 3 minute 30 seconds and 5 minutes.

 

Twitter

For this platform, it seems that video content is used by brands as a way to tease full-length content found either on their website or YouTube video.

For Sky Bet, the preliminary use of Twitter is to drive traffic to the full edits on YouTube. Video content on this channel tends to be approximately between 30 seconds and 90 seconds.

“We’ve found that our followers are less inclined to watch longer pieces of content on this channel, and audience retention results show this,” explained Flanagan.

YouTube

This platform lends itself to more in-depth content such as video blogs, how-to tutorials, and product demos.

As YouTube is a platform for video, the audience here will be more likely to engage with longer-form content from your brand. 

“Quite often the length of Sky Bet’s YouTube edits depends on how strong the piece is. We normally aim for around six minutes, but if the content is really really strong and have footage in abundance, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be up to 20 minutes long.”

“Average watch times show this. We’ve seen on some of our YouTube content that the average watch time is over four minutes long. This compares to Facebook where we would aim for around ten seconds.”

Instagram

With this platform, you are limited to video content of 60 seconds. Research from HubSpot suggests that 30 seconds is the ideal time frame, with videos averaging at this length receiving the most comments.

More than any other platform discussed, Instagram is primarily about the visuals, so ensure your videos are visually stunning in order to grab the attention of viewers scrolling through that overcrowded timeline. 

Furthermore – as Flanagan notes – there is becoming a shift from the Instagram feed to Instagram stories. More and more brands are leveraging this feature for things such as daily updates, behind the scenes footage, Story Polls, displaying user-generated content, and more. So jumping on the vertical video hype is vital for all brands. 

There we have it – JMP UK’s guide to social video length.  Keep our above tips in mind to optimise your video marketing efforts across each social media platform, so you can really make your brand stand out from the crowd.