How long should my web video be?

urlOne of the common questions we get asked is “how long should my website video be?”  The majority of web videos we do is for the purpose of marketing a business.  We call these “web spots” because they are like commercials but don’t necessarily follow a TV commercial outline.  The other type of video would be an instructional video.  These are created not to sell or convince the viewer of a product or service, but to rather instruct them on a process that may or may not involve a product at all.   These can be as long as necessary to get the information to the viewer so they can come away from the video with a decent amount of knowledge.  So let’s focus on the marketing video.

The main type of marketing video that should always be first considered is an overview video that explains your business, product, and/or services.  These are typically placed on the home page of the site, especially for small businesses.  I won’t get into what exactly the content of the video should be, I’ll save that for another post.  What we need to know are the statistics; out of the total viewers, how many and at what point do they stop watching?  Vidyard.com created this graph based on their viewers to showcase, at a high level, the drop off trends that have been occurring:

graph

0:00-0:30

From this, we see that at 2 minutes 90% of the people who started watching your video are no longer watching it.   Even at 30 seconds, the length of a typical TV advertisement, about HALF the number has stopped watching.  This DOESNT mean you should only stick to 1-2 minutes, because the 10% that watched to the end have bought into the video enough to see it through.  These are likely your converted customers.  They actually want to see what else you have to say…and you should offer that.  This should also tell you that the most important part of your video, the part that convinces the viewer to buy into your business or product and seriously consider becoming your customer, comes at the beginning of the video.  The first 30 seconds should be the dazzle in your video.  This takes precedence over content because keep in mind that details about your business and product can easily be found on your website.  Redundancy is futile in a video.  What you need is to dazzle your viewers and do it within the first 30 seconds.  

0:30-2:00

Here you can start tapering off the dazzle and elaborate on those points in more detail.   Start with the first point and elaborate, then move onto the next.  You want the viewer who has been sold within the first 30 seconds to keep watching.  Don’t just repeat what was said before, but rather solidify the points to make the viewer convinced that what was said in the first 30 was actually true.

2:00-3:00

The final minute is gravy.  You can continue to elaborate if needed or perhaps add something unique and different about you or your business that wasn’t important enough to make the first 30 seconds.  If you feel like a call to action like a percentage off if they mention this video would help, then add it toward the end.  Also again don’t waste any part of the video with graphics that display hours or contact info.  Though that is important for a TV spot, this information should already be on your website and adding it to the videos is redundant.   Even if you share the video on social sites like Facebook, people would rather click on your business page or a post link before they will write down information from the video.

So as you can see the ideal marketing video for your website should be 2-3 minutes, and should follow the above content distribution tips in order to keep your viewers watching and convert them to customers.  Keeping the important aspects at the beginning and moving the less important details toward the end will help you get your drop off numbers as low as possible and give you reassurance that the content structure is at its optimized efficiency.  Now you just need to make sure the content and production values are there, that you trigger an emotional response, and entertain your viewers.  We’ll cover that on a future post.

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