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July 14, 2023·14 min read

How Long a Video Should Be

The rule of thumb is to keep most videos under two minutes, but optimal video length varies depending on where you share or embed it. Tips for each channel.

How long should a short video be? Most marketing videos should be two minutes or less. First outreach sales videos, under 60 seconds if you can swing it. But the length of any particular video depends entirely on the use case, channel, industry, and where it fits in the marketing and sales funnel. The earlier the stage, the shorter. The later, the longer. Below are recommendations for nearly every conceivable scenario.

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  1. Contents
  2. Quick Hit Video Length Recommendations
  3. What Are the Length Restrictions When Posting Video Content
  4. How Long Should a Social Media Video Be?
  5. How Long Should a Video Be on Different Digital Channels?
  6. How Long Should Different Types of Video Be?
  7. Video Length Best Practices
  8. How Do You Edit the Length of a Video

Quick Hit Video Length Recommendations

Bonus: Find out how long your video will be using Vidyard’s free script timer tool or get AI to write you a video script to your ideal length with the Vidyard AI Script Generator.

What Are the Length Restrictions When Posting Video Content

When it comes to posting video content, understanding the length restrictions will save you time and headaches. However, it’s important to note that these restrictions can vary depending on the social media channel you’re sharing on or the video hosting solution you’re using. Below we’ll cover specific restrictions per channel as well as the recommended video durations to garner you the best viewer engagement and retention.

How Long Should a Social Media Video Be?

No two social media sites are the same, so no two video lengths are the same. A YouTube viewer, for instance, may happily watch for four minutes, whereas an Instagram user probably won’t give it more than 15 seconds. On top of all that, social algorithms are always being updated, so what’s true today may change. Below are tips for each channel.

Instagram Video Length

Does Instagram limit video length? Short answer, Yes! But if you’re wondering what length of video you can post on Instagram, it will depend on the format of your video post and how you share it. 

As a response to the meteoric rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels are now often prioritized over photos in algorithms that you can share in-feed or on their own. The length restriction for reels is up to 90 seconds. But you might not want to make them that long for optimal viewership retention.  

Story video length: 15 seconds each and disappear after 24 hours. Instagram Live video length: 1 second to 4 hours.

For ideal engagement, aim to make your Instagram videos in-feed around 15-30 seconds long. This can be a sweet spot for Instagram’s busy, multi-tasking, often traveling audience. Try covering your key message in the first 15 seconds regarding video and Instagram Stories ads.

For Instagram Live Videos, hit record and just keep filming. The longer you roll, the larger the audience you’ll have the opportunity to attract. For a live (especially if doing some sort of demonstration) shoot for at least 10 minutes, but longer is often better for this format.

Video Length on Threads

The Threads app from Instagram is relatively new to the game as a direct alternative to Twitter. Although not video-first focused at the moment, if you want to know what length a video can be on Threads—the limit is up to five minutes.

Facebook Video Length

What length video can you post on Facebook? Successful in-feed Facebook videos tend to be 24 to 90 seconds long. Facebook videos are permitted to roll for an epic four hours, but just because you can upload Gone with the Wind doesn’t mean you should. It probably far exceeds the Facebook user’s attention span, and that’s a lot of video to produce.

On the other end of the spectrum are Facebook Stories—those user-generated videos that expire after 24 hours—which can’t exceed 20 seconds. For Facebook ads, put the juiciest information in the first five to 10 seconds, though these can also be four hours long.

Facebook Live is a great way to connect with customers in real-time. You can broadcast for up to four hours, and, as with Instagram Live, the longer your live video runs, the greater your chances that people will discover it. Just make sure not to go below 10 minutes, which is how long it takes for people to be notified and tune in.

Pro Tip: To make your brand’s Facebook page more engaging, replace the cover photo (the large picture at the top of your profile) with a 20 to 90-second video, or swap your profile picture with a seven-second profile video or animated GIF.

LinkedIn Video Length

We recommend that LinkedIn videos run between 30 seconds and five minutes, with a maximum of 10 minutes. LinkedIn’s viewers aren’t your standard social media surfers: They’re professionals at work with more time to digest. Nearly three-quarters of business executives, almost all who are on LinkedIn, say they watch online videos every week.

If you’re running LinkedIn video ads, a shorter form is better: 15 seconds is ideal, with a maximum of 30 seconds.

What is the Ideal YouTube Video Length

Does YouTube have a video length limit? YouTube videos can run for up to 12 hours, but demand for that type of content probably isn’t there for most branded content. YouTube shorts (vertical videos) can be up to 60 seconds long.

Make B2B videos on YouTube for two minutes or less. However, you can go longer if they’re how-to or educational videos. Just ensure you add video chapters to your content. Not only is this a better viewership experience, but it’s also great for SEO.  

As for video ads, our advice is to stick to 15 to 20 seconds if you’re using pre-roll ads or six seconds for what are known as bumper ads, which are intended for brand awareness.

Twitter Video Length

Video tweets and Twitter ads should be 20 to 45 seconds long. However, they can be as long as two minutes and 20 seconds. It should come as no surprise that people don’t linger long on the platform built for brevity.

Pinterest Video Length

Pinterest videos should be 15 to 30 seconds unless they’re an explainer or demo, in which case, longer is fine. The site bills itself as “the discovery platform,” and people go there for how-to answers similar to how they use YouTube. While demos on Pinterest can be up to 30 minutes long, yours shouldn’t be. Offer a short and sweet answer with a beautiful, pinnable thumbnail.

Snapchat Video Length

True to its name, Snapchat videos are over in a snap: 10 seconds, that’s it. Don’t try to compress your entire message into that tiny blip. Rather, give your audience an intriguing taste of what you do and leave them with a link, hashtag, or URL to learn more.

TikTok Video Length

The length of TikTok videos has increased in recent years to accommodate longer-form storytelling and content sharing. A TikTok video can be up to ten minutes, which is useful considering more brands and creators making TikTok videos for B2B.

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How Long Should a Video Be on Different Digital Channels?

Once again, there is no one best video length. It depends on the channel, how users behave there, what they expect, their vertical, use case, buying stage, the product, and the video format. A rule of thumb, though: Keep it under one minute if it’s cold outreach. Below are guidelines for each channel and format.

Website Video Length

The optimal length of a homepage video is similar to that of a TV commercial—30 to 60 seconds. You can go over it, but only if the video is substantive. Website videos don’t necessarily need to offer complete answers, either. Homepage explainer videos that tease the value of your product but leave some questions unanswered are more likely to drive viewers to schedule a sales call.

Landing Pages Video Length

Make your landing page videos short: 30 to 60 seconds. Studies show that one-fifth of landing page viewers bounce after 10 seconds. One-third bounce within 30 seconds. Videos can help hold their attention and can do a lot to increase conversions; simply including them increases conversions by 80%.

Pro Tip: Place your video above the fold so it’s one of the first things viewers see.

Video Email Length

There’s no optimal length for video marketing emails or sales video emails, but in most cases, we recommend keeping it to 45 seconds or under (unless you have a highly engaged audience). Try adding the word “video” to your email subject line to see if it increases open rates.

How Long Should Different Types of Video Be?

Make your top-of-funnel videos short and snappy—think in seconds, not minutes. Window shoppers and unaware prospects typically won’t invest much time. However, the further you go down the funnel, the longer your videos can afford to be—think minutes. The optimal or best video length is whatever viewers are willing to consume.

How Long Can a Vidyard Video Be?

Before we jump into length recommendations for different types of video, we often hear a question: How long can a Vidyard video be? If you’re recording a video with Vidyard, you can record up to 30 minutes if you’re a free user and up to an hour on a Pro plan. For users on a Team’s plan or above, you can record for any limit you need! If you’re uploading a video, it’s based more on the maximum file size, which is 20GB.

What Vidyard Package is Right for You? Free, Pro, Teams, or Enterprise? Compare and find the right package. Compare Plans

Explainer Video Length

Make your explainer videos 60 to 90 seconds. These are generally top-of-funnel assets, but, unlike ads, they imply some intent on the viewer’s part to learn about the product. If it takes over a minute to deliver that answer, it’s not the end of the world.

How-To or Tutorial Video Length

Mid-funnel educational videos or how-to videos should be between two and 10 minutes. By this point, you have your audience’s interest and engagement, and the goal is to teach more than it is to entertain. Or, perhaps they’re customers, and the goal is to teach them how the service or product works, in which case, they’re probably fairly forgiving. But the more you can condense your message, say things concisely, and let viewers get on with their day, the more the videos will be appreciated and perhaps even shared.

Demo Video Length

Demo videos are the most popular type of video used for both video marketing and for sellers. Make your demo videos two to five minutes long. It’s better to produce several smaller demos, each on one aspect or feature of the product, than one big one. It’s a lower barrier to entry for your viewers, and you can always string them together in a playlist for those who want the whole thing.

Case Study Video Length

Case study video length can vary widely, but viewers are likely mid or late-stage prospects who are apt to consume five to 10 minutes of video. You can always cut up longer video case studies into shorter videos or bite-sized 60 to 90-second testimonials, which are useful on your website, in email, and on social channels.

Ideal Webinar Length

Live webinars are typically up to 60 minutes long but aim to keep them 25 minutes or less for optimal viewer retention and engagement. Over 30% of marketers leverage on-demand webinars as a video marketing strategy. You could keep the full length of your live webinar when you post your on-demand, but editing it down to just the highlights will be a much better experience for viewers. If you can edit your on-demand webinar content to under 20 minutes, it could net you nearly 60% more viewer retention.

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How Long Should a Sales Video Be?

Sales outreach videos, especially to cold prospects, should be 30 to 60 seconds short. You’re liable to spoil their appetite for talking any longer. Mid- and late-stage sales outreach to reconnect with prospects who have gone cold or who have paused their evaluation should be about the same. But the video can be longer if you answer a prospect’s question or send a video proposal.

Pro tip: Add video chapters to your longer-form sales videos so your viewers can easily navigate through the content.

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Promo Video Length

If you’re wondering how long should a promo video be, you can approach the same as traditional digital and TV advertisements: 15 to 60 seconds. It’s a tried and true format; if it’s good enough for the big advertisers, it’s also good enough for most B2B companies.

Brand and Culture Video Length

Make your company culture videos two to four minutes long (think fun holiday video, or if you’re trying to attract candidates with a recruiting-style culture video, go shorter: One to two minutes.

Interview Video Length

Interview videos are a special case that can be on the lengthier side. If your CEO interviews a special guest for a fireside chat, it’s probably okay that it runs longer than most—say, six to 10 minutes. That gives them enough time to go back and forth a few times and for the conversation to explore multiple stories and perspectives.

Thought Leadership Video Length

Thought leadership video length depends heavily on the use case, format, and content. If you’ve got a well-rehearsed, revelatory message, 10 to 15 minutes is appropriate. (That’s about the length of a TED Talk.) If you’ve only got a short, informal update recorded on your smartphone at a conference and bound for Twitter or LinkedIn, 45 seconds to two minutes is probably all you need.

FAQ Video Length

The right length for FAQ videos is finding the sweet spot between answering all your top questions and retaining your viewer’s attention as much as possible. As a general rule of thumb, aim to answer four to six questions in your FAQ video and keep the total length under 10 minutes. Adding chapters for each question or breaking each question into a shorter video will help with engagement and retention.

Video Length Best Practices

The best practice for video length duration is to test and find what works for your audience. If the video will be viewed by someone who doesn’t know you and hasn’t signed up to view it, assume it should be less than two minutes. If they’ve requested the video, it can probably be longer.

Shorter is (Almost) Always Better

66% of viewers watch business-related videos all the way to the end if they’re less than 60 seconds, but only 22% will finish a video if it’s more than 20 minutes long. Use video analytics to find out where people drop off, then edit accordingly or, at the very least, apply the lessons to future content. Another way to retain and engage more of your view is to consider adding chapters to your long-form video content. You can increase that retention, and your content is easier to discover and consume.

Average Engagement for Different Lengths of Video

Different Objectives Call for Different Lengths

Video length depends on the video’s ultimate goal and the target viewer’s funnel stage, and therefore a viewer’s level of investment and commitment to you. Remember, too, that view counts don’t necessarily equal success. Judge video success by richer metrics like signups, conversions, pipeline, and revenue.

Track Your Efforts

Use video analytics so you know what’s working and what isn’t, what changes to make to increase conversions, and your return on investment (ROI). The average click-through rate (CTR) on a video call-to-action (CTA) is 3.21%, video analytics like viewer retention, engagement, and drop-off rates can help you further optimize your video content and know exactly where to place your video CTAs to get the best engagement.

Capture Attention Quickly

If the majority of your viewers only make it halfway through your video, but the most important message is three-quarters of the way in, then they’re missing the point entirely. Get to your message quickly—ideally within the first quarter of the video.

How Do You Edit the Length of a Video

You should now understand the ideal video length for best viewer retention across platforms and channels. But you may now be asking yourself, “How do I shorten the length of a video if it’s too long?” The great news is, it’s easier than ever before. Many of the social platforms and video creation tools come with built-in editing features if you need to trim or make basic edits to your content. However, paid and free video marketing tools are becoming more ubiquitous, so everyone can be a creator and editor.

Check out the tutorial below on how to use CapCut from the Sales Feed team if you want to see one of these tools in action.

CapCut Video Editing Tutorial Vidyard video thumbnail - click to play
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This post was originally published on September 19, 2019. It was updated on July 14, 2023.

Chris Gillespie

Chris Gillespie

Chris Gillespie is the writer and founder behind Find A Way Media which helps great businesses create killer marketing content. Based in Brooklyn, Chris spent years selling SaaS technology solutions and now helps those companies craft their content marketing strategies.