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How long is too long?

With today's constantly changing platforms, algorithms, formats and audience behaviours - it's no wonder this is a popular question.

Always thinking about your audience is a good place to start when addressing this ever-evolving subject of length. Who are they? What are their needs and habits? Where are they watching your content? What platforms? Why are they watching it? What are they doing while they watch it? Are they a passive or active audience?

Captured Audience (presentation/induction): 3-7 minutes

Before we deep dive into the list of ideal social length times, it is good to remember videos are used in real life situations! Yes, it still happens! But it doesn't mean your video can be boring. Having a 'captured' audience is the perfect opportunity to really move your audience emotionally and effectively deliver the message you want to convey.

Social media video length times

Video is a must in the world of social media marketing. Full stop. It far outplays any other kind of post. Just have a look at the top reasons people even use the internet. Video is in the top 4. But how long is long enough?

Hootsuite's guide to the best lengths for social video posts are:

Instagram Video: 1 minute

As of 2021, Instagram combined its main feed videos and its IGTV platform into a new format simply called Instagram Video. The maximum length that will appear on your Instagram grid is 1 minute, although viewers can still click through to finish watching videos up to 15 minutes long. Short and punchy, with arresting visuals that passive scrollers can’t ignore.

Instagram Stories: 15 seconds

According to Hootsuite's Digital 2022 report, Instagram Stories take up 72.6% of the app’s total ad reach, so it’s imperative to keep people engaged. The maximum length for Instagram stories remains 15 seconds per slide. If you need to use multiple slides, don’t exceed 7. Be sure to include a call-to-action or other relevant info on each slide.

Instagram Reels: 15 – 60 seconds

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok. Unlike stories or grid posts, Reels are specifically tailored to viral moments and quick-hit videos. Before you start shooting, you manually select a runtime of 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds or 60 seconds. No matter what length you choose, the sweet spot with Reels happens within the first few seconds. If you can grab your viewers’ attention immediately, they will likely stick around for the whole thing.

Best Facebook video length: less than 1 minute

Facebook’s maximum video length is 240 minutes. But that doesn't mean you should use it.

For viral content, Facebook recommends videos that are less than one minute or stories that are less than 20 seconds in length. But that doesn’t mean long videos perform poorly. Instead, they suggest that 3+ minutes is best for episodic web series, developing stories and live streaming. Videos need to be over 3 minutes long to qualify for in-stream ads.

No matter what the length is, Facebook’s algorithm loves native video content. That means you should always upload videos directly rather than sharing a YouTube or Vimeo link on the platform.

Best TikTok video length: 7 – 15 seconds

From the app’s growth to its content within, everything about TikTok is fast. With that in mind, you want to make sure you convey as much information as possible in easily digestible bites. Last year, the app expanded their maximum video length from 1 minute to 3 minutes, and more recently 10 minutes. But you should still aim for brevity.

Best Twitter video length: 44 seconds

You should aim for videos around the 44-second mark — just enough time to grab users’ attention without overstaying your welcome. In fact, a quick Twitter video can also serve as a trailer for a YouTube or Vimeo link that includes a longer version, if needed.

Best YouTube video length: 2 minutes

YouTube is the gold standard for video content on the web, and you’ll find videos of all shapes and sizes throughout.

Your ideal YouTube video length will depend on your end goal. Looking to monetize with YouTube ads? The minimum requirement is 10 minutes — which is a good number to aim for with longer vlog content. If you’re hoping for smaller-scale viral attention, then it’s best to stay around the 2-minute mark. Keep the internet’s dwindling attention spans in mind at all times.

Best LinkedIn video length: max 30 seconds

LinkedIn is more business-oriented, and their video lengths are also down to get the job done. Videos that are 30 seconds or under boast a 200% lift in completion rates (meaning users watched the whole thing instead of clicking away). That said, they also reported that long-form videos could drive just as much engagement as they tell more complex stories. So think carefully about the content that you are sharing. If you think your audience will engage and you have engaging content, then you can post longer clips; just keep them under 10mins.

Best Snapchat video length: 7 seconds

It’s right there in the app’s title — keep it snappy! For normal posts, the maximum video length is 10 seconds, so you’ll want to stay around the 7-second mark.

Best Pinterest video length: 6 – 15 seconds

There are two main kinds of videos: Video Pins and Pinterest Stories. Video Pins can run from 4 seconds to 15 minutes, while Pinterest stories have a maximum runtime of 60 seconds. Keeping posts between 6-15 seconds is the sweet spot.

Clipo often creates multiple video packages for clients, including videos edited in different lengths and aspect ratios for tailored platform delivery.

Please get in touch if you have a video project in mind and want to discuss what might be possible for you.


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