Video Length Matters

Animated Explainer Video Series

Stun and awe! Length matters! .. although we have a feeling this isn’t news anymore. Video engagement drops with time, indeed, but when exactly is that? What are some variables that affect this metric? We will talk about these and a few other variables in this post.

Why do we need to talk about video length?

User attention span is at a premium and video is the one place where it’s easier to measure and adjust this metric. Most video platforms such as Vimeo, Facebook, Youtube already offer detailed analytics about viewer retention and all sorts of detailed correlations with demographics, conversions, time spent on your website after watching a video etc. These are the perfect tools to measure the efficiency of what you are putting out.

To make things harder, in the race for new ways to attract attention, all social media platforms are constantly gearing towards video and towards different aspect ratios and resolutions. Consequently user focus timings also go up and down. What worked in 2018, might not work anymore with the upcoming Instagram horizontal feed.

[ subscribed to stay tuned to changes in platforms]

Take for example the 2016 Wistia engagement graph which states that videos up to 2 minutes long get the most engagement.. Well, nowadays, Instagram won’t even let you upload videos above 1 minute in length.

Platform matters when it comes to video length!

By now you probably figured out that you can’t get away with the same content posted everywhere. While you might have some results posting the shiny new website explainer in your instagram story campaign, you are definitely not making the most out of your budget when viewers in the metro wanted a quick ig fix and they got bored by intricate howto details.

Visitors on your website already showed interest in you when they came in so they will watch a longer 1-2 minutes video, but the social media skimmer will most likely give you at most 3 seconds to convince them that they can spend an additional 10-15s on your content before they swipe the feed again. If we bring up snapchat, then you will be astonished to learn that their recommended video length is 3 to 5 seconds.  WAIT WHAT?? 3-5s video with a voiceover call to action and a huge message to start off with. That’s the ideal Snapchat video ads best practice.

Marlin Motion

We work with marketers and user acquisition experts to make social media ads


Are you sending videos via email? Oh, yeah! You can go crazy there with attention span. Not really, but you can still get a bit more time in to say what you have to say. Email marketing with *personalised* video content is picking up because it adds a new dimension to our traditional boring emails. It also catches the user at a more personal time when he is more likely to consume your content once he has opened your email.

Demo videos are great to be sent out via email. If you make them specific enough that the viewer understand what problems you are trying to solve for him you can start piling up minutes in that content, but please try to limit to 4-5 minutes at most and try not to ramble through too many topics.

Marlin Motion

Our tutorial videos strive to be short and to the point


In a nutshell, if you are in a sprint with superfast social media ads or cruising along with a nice explainer, make sure you load the most information in the beginning. Different social media platforms have different millisecond best practices for ads while for explainer videos this is somewhere in the first 30 seconds and don’t go over 2 minutes. Marlin Motion strives to stay around the middle 1 minute mark for most explainer videos and 2 minutes for demo/tutorial videos, but hey, it’s nobody’s rule, we will adapt to the target audience and the message being explained.

Bonus Tip: Set expectations You can’t, expectations are already set in the mind of your viewer: `get me interested NOW, or I’ll move on and don’t care about your video`. To gauge that, we made a user survey with the following question:

In order to promote ourselves we are trying to make a video that you will like, how long do you think it should be?
A) Make it as short as possible
B) Make it shorter than A)

Guess what the most popular answer was!
Marlin Motion looks closely at what you are trying to promote/explain/sell and takes care of all the details to required to optimise your video for your goals. Get in touch to start learning about your company’s motion profile with the help of Marlin Motion

We make videos

Product and app videos that convert the right attention