One of the hardest things for our clients to figure out is how long their video (or videos) should be. Often we’ll be asked right off the bat for a three or five minute video. While that sometimes may make sense, most of the time a video that long isn’t the right approach.

Instead of starting off with a set length in mind and then basing the video on that requirement, we always encourage our clients to begin by figuring out the purpose of their video and who their target audience is. Those two factors will often dictate how long the video needs to be.

Most of the videos we make fall into one of three categories, each with a different purpose:

1.     Promo Videos: These videos are designed to get viewers excited about your app. You can think of them like a movie trailer or teaser video. They show the main highlights in a fast-paced, engaging way, without really going into much depth. This category also includes most video ads.

2.     Demo Videos: Here the purpose is to show a bit of how your app works to help viewers decide whether your app will meet their needs. This type of video is best for viewers who have expressed some interest in your app (like people who are already on your website) and want to see it in action and know what it does. These videos strike the balance between an ad and a tutorial and have both a marketing and educational purpose.

3.     Tutorial Videos: These videos are for people who are already committed to your app or product. They may be current users, or people who are seriously considering buying it (particularly for more expensive apps). These videos educate viewers on a specific function of your app and walk them through how to do it.

As you can see, each of these styles of videos serves a different purpose and some will be longer than others.

Promo videos are typically going to be watched by people who aren’t familiar with your app. This may be their first introduction to it, so it’s important to keep your video focused on the most exciting features and benefits. We recommend keeping the length between the 30 and 60 seconds so that your audience is engaged enough to stick through until the end. Shorter promo videos (15-30 seconds) may also be appropriate for advertising platforms.

Demo videos, on the other hand, can be a little bit longer because your audience will already have some interest in your product. They may be watching this video on your website, one of your Social Media channels, or in an e-mail you sent them. No matter how they found your app, the important thing is that they have sought out more information about it, so it’s safe to say they have some interest in it. That means you can go into more detail in this type of video (as compared to a promo video), while still keeping the focus on the features and benefits and keeping the visuals engaging. A typical length for most of the demo videos we create is in the 60 to 90 second range.

In our experience, we have found that this length is a great balance between giving viewers enough information so that they understand the app and ensuring that they stay engaged for the duration of the video. Once the viewer is engaged and curious, you can create additional videos to educate your users or highlight other remarkable features.

There are instances where longer videos are warranted. An audience who is already familiar with and invested in your product may welcome tutorial videos that can be up to a few minutes long. These videos are best for complex apps where you have a high volume of customer support enquiries, or if your app/product is expensive enough that potential customers might want to do a lot of research before deciding to purchase it. These videos give viewers a step-by-step guide on how to use your app (or a particular feature of it) and are suitable for an audience who wishes to learn more about your product and are prepared to invest the time to do so.

Typically, we recommend creating a set of multiple tutorial videos that cover different features rather than one long one on your whole app. This way, viewers can pick and choose which videos to watch, and it’s easy for them to go back to a particular video to re-watch something if necessary.

While there are other factors to consider when deciding on the length of your video, such as where it will be shown, it is also good to keep in mind that the majority of viewers prefer short videos. Videos can be a great tool as long as you know what you are using it for. By focusing on your target market, distilling your information to the essential points, and identifying your core purpose, your short video can be powerful enough to acquire, convert, and retain your customers. 

We'd be happy to answer any questions you have about your video possibilities -- please Contact Us to start the conversation.