Short-form or long-form video content?

“How long should my video be?” is one of the most common questions we’re asked in our training sessions. The average person spends 100 minutes a day watching videos online, making them a smart investment for marketers. But, what kind of content will suit your brand? And, how do you know what video length will work best for your audience? This blog explores the differences between short and long-form videos, to help you optimise your company’s video content.

How do we define ‘long’ and ‘short’?

Traditionally, short-form video content has been seen as anything under 10 minutes, and long-form content as anything over this. However, according to a 2022 Video Marketing Report by Hubspot, marketers now agree that short-form video should last less than a minute, with the ideal length being a swift 31-60 seconds.

Long-form video content can include live Q&As or have a branded ‘documentary’ feel. These videos are costlier and more time-consuming to produce, but can be extremely impactful. Viewers typically relate to this content more easily, and your dedication to them will be evident through the level of effort you’ve put in.

Short-form videos, by contrast, are more versatile and excellent for creative marketing – especially on social media. They’re easy to consume and attention-grabbing, allowing your audience to quickly grasp what you’re trying to convey.

The meteoric rise of TikTok and Instagram reels has created another, even shorter form of ‘snackable’ content. Although these might sound like the simplest form to produce, they demand clever thinking and tight execution.

Tailor your videos to their platform

The ideal length of your video content will vary based upon where you plan to publish it and what you want to achieve. A video’s length needs to reflect its purpose. Overfilling videos with irrelevant information might seem like an easy way to boost your run-time and provide a ‘comprehensive’ view of your topic. However, in reality, this will only end up turning prospective clients off. 

On TikTok, super-short “snackable” uploads can run for a mere 15 seconds, but they outperform more ‘structured’ endeavours, often going viral. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that creating short pieces of video is easy! You should always be mindful of user demographics and preferences. In the case of TikTok, users favour authenticity and connection. Brands with a more serious or formal persona may be less suited to this platform, as its content tends to be punchy and light-hearted in nature.

Typically, content over 20 minutes performs worst for casual viewing, as less than 10% of video viewers prefer them. In a recent study by TechSmith, informational and instructional videos that were between 3 and 6 minutes long struck the right chord with clients and proved most popular. A good rule of thumb is to make your video content as long as it needs to be and don’t be tempted to pad it out (or cut it short).

The key take-away here is to be platform-specific and adjust not only the length of your videos but their style, according to what performs best and where you plan to use it.

What appeals to your audience?

Although popular with younger audiences, videos are accessible for all ages. It’s important to define and understand your audience, so you can create content that appeals to them and their needs. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Are they heavy social media users? If so, shorter video content is likely to perform better.
  • Do they value storytelling? Consider creating long-form content to appeal to those who enjoy exploring topics in greater detail. 
  • What does your company offer? Is your product or service more of an impulse buy or a long-term investment? Will people need a little encouragement before they make a purchase with you? Factors like these will influence the video content you should create.

If you aren’t sure where to start with your video content, NSDesign can help! Our Video Production for Social Media webinar will give you the skills and confidence you need to create high-performing video content. This is just one of 28 webinars developed by NSDesign covering all sorts of digital skills, delivered monthly through Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost programme. 

If you’d like a helping hand to create compelling video for your business, contact us today!

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