Avoid Viewer Drop Off: Why Video Length Matters

Posted on 11/09/2017 by Daniel Matel-Okoh

Video length can be the difference between 1,000 views and 100,000 views. You may have created high quality and interesting content, but if your video is too long, viewers might bounce before even pressing play. Attention spans vary from platform to platform, so specific social media outlet and type of video you are creating will need to be taken into consideration when determining the optimal length for your content. Is it too long? Too short? Just right? We’ve broken down the ideal video length for each platform to help you avoid viewer drop off and keep your viewers engaged.

Why Video Length Matters

Gaining someone’s attention and holding it an extended period of time is harder than it’s ever been. As more social media platforms begin to shift their strategy and adjust their algorithms to highlight video, there is more video content than users know what to do with. In addition to cutting through the noise, attention spans have also suffered over the years. Since 2000, the year in which mobile use began skyrocketing, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. In fact, studies now claim that the average human attention span is shorter than a goldfish (9 seconds). Leveraging this information is important because you want to produce content to not only capture an audience’s attention but keep them engaged as long as possible.

Ideal Video Length For Each Platform

A common pitfall that many creators fall into is posting the same length video across all of their social media channels. Although there are many benefits of cross-promoting, each platform offers users a different viewing experience, so you must cater the length of your content to fit their specific needs.

Instagram

For Instagram, videos that received the most engagement were on average 30 seconds long. Instagram is a very visual platform and likes to keep things short which is why it caps all video content at 60 seconds. In fact, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, so users tend to scroll through their feed on Instagram faster than any other platform. Expect a sharp drop in engagement every second longer your video runs past the 30 second mark.

  • TIP: If your videos are longer than 30 seconds, consider creating a brief “trailer” to post to your feed. Include a call-to-call within the video itself or the description prompting users to click the link description to watch the full video..
  • TIP: Time-lapse and videos that consistently loop back and forth such as Boomerang videos are very popular on Instagram, so try experimenting with those.

Twitter

Videos can be extremely effective on Twitter and are 6x more likely to be retweeted than photos and 3x more likely than gifs. A study done by Blog Spot determined the ideal video length for Twitter to be 45 seconds. Just like Instagram, users are accustomed to processing content that is short and quick to the point. Your videos should be constructed with this in mind.

Facebook

Facebook continues to be a great platform for video with over 8 billion videos being watched daily. Unlike Instagram and Twitter, Facebook offers creators a platform where viewers are willing to watch longer content. The top performing videos on Facebook were between one and two minutes long, with engagement dropping off significantly after the two minute mark.

  • TIP: Facebook auto plays videos and surprisingly 85% of users never put the sound on. Make sure your video can capture your user’s attention and convey your message without sound.
  • TIP: Facebook algorithm gives special preference to Facebook Live videos, use this strategy to take your content to the top of the News Feed.

YouTube

Unlike the other platforms, users are coming to YouTube specifically to watch video content, so YouTube videos tend to do best when they are two minutes long. This leads to more in depth and long form content, such as tutorials and vlogs, finding success. It is important to note that engagement levels tend to drop off from 70% at the two minute mark to 53% at the six minute mark but, they then stay consistent from the six minute mark to the twelve minute mark. So if your video is on the longer side don’t worry about having to cut it from ten minutes to eight minutes, as this won’t make too much of a difference.

  • TIP: Continually switching to new frames and animating your videos graphics is a great way to keep your audience engaged.
  • TIP: The best place for a call-to-action on a YouTube video is around the 30 second mark.

Keep these tips in mind when you’re trying to create that next viral hit but remember–– above all, quality content is the most important factor. It doesn’t matter if your video is 15 seconds or 15 minutes, if it’s not interesting and engaging no one will watch it. After you’ve created great content (with the ideal length) you’ll want to make sure you protect it with Vydia.