It’s one of those pesky questions that come up when you first decide to make a video for your business: How long should it go for?
One 2016 study found 80% of businesses thought video ads were a very important part of their marketing plans useful in grabbing the attention of their market and acquiring more clients.
Another study found 60% of people said they would prefer watching a 20-30 second video about a company rather than reading about it.
The answer depends greatly on the message you are trying to get across and the media you are using to get your brand noticed out into the market place.
Take the results of this recent research from the US on YouTube video ads which neatly dovetails with our experience.
Three versions of an ad were trialled: a 15 second, a 30 second and a 2 minute plus version of an ad with the same message.
The shortest version featured a voice-over and a few scenes with the product appearing at the six-second mark before ending with the brand’s logo and tagline.
The short length was though to make the 15 second version less skippable without sacrificing the narrative or the brand effectiveness.
The 30-second cut allowed for more detail and story dimension, and included more scenes for video to draw viewers in, yet was still relatively short.
The 2-minutes plus long-form version added a greater degree of richness particularly to the final scenes allowing for a more layered story.
To the author’s surprise (but not ours) it was the long form version which proved be stronger. The 2-minute ad achieved far more views than the 15-second ad, while it was the 30-second ad which was the least skipped.
The 15-second ad version was the most skipped.
The 30-second ad had the highest view-through rate (VTR), in fact it was 30% higher than that of the 15-second spot.
Time isn’t everything!
While run time is an important consideration, it’s actually the information you want to get across and the way you structure the story which is the most important.
The first 5 seconds in a video is the most vital; it’s your chance to hook the viewers, engage and intrigue them enough to make them want to watch more.
If your message is relatively straightforward, a simple ‘raise a question, provide an answer’ coupled with eye catching creativity will keep your viewers hooked.
However, if you need to set the context, provide more detailed information and then match your brand’s promise with a complex offer, you should really aim for a longer video.
Over a decade’s experience of working with a range of clients at Visual Production Agency has taught us these simple rules:
No matter which length is right for you, we recommend you speak with us first before getting too far down the creative road.