YouTube Video Length-Research States Shorter is Better

by admin on June 25, 2012 · 8 comments


From Marketing Charts.Com (Source below)

“While 33% of the most-engaging YouTube campaigns run under 30 seconds, only 11% of campaigns by volume run that length, per findings from a Yesmail Interactive study[download page] released in June 2012.

And although YouTube campaigns rose sharply over the 3-month study period – by about 38% to 80 across all brands (3.5 campaigns per brand) – the average campaign engagement plummeted by roughly 66%.

Yesmail’s actual engagement measure adjusts for follower size; rather than measure by sheer volume of Facebook Likes or YouTube views, actual engagement is a measure of individuals’ behavior. Thus one campaign may outnumber another in followers by 10 to 1, but its actual engagement may be far lower.

Of the top 10% in terms of actual engagement, a plurality (33%) ran under 30 seconds, while just 39% ran between 30 and 90 seconds. A further 28% ran either between 120-180 seconds (17%) or more than 180 seconds (11%).

The challenge for brands is to create video that is short enough to be digestible for the consumer, but long enough to tell a compelling story that prompts a reaction.

Despite Monday being the most engaging day for YouTube, it is one of the 3 least-utilized deployment days.”

My View:

I recently returned from the BlogWorld-Social Media conference where the clear consensus was that shorter videos ruled the internet.

The data from MarketingCharts and original sources indicates the complexity of video as to market penetration. Length, day of release, topic, views, likes and actual engagement are all mixed together. Obviously, video popularity doesn’t equal someone taking the desired action.

Like all forms of social media, we are working through our understanding as to what works. It was so simple 20 years ago where marketing had formulas that worked equally well whether you were selling a car or concept.

Social success depends on “your” demographics and what “you” are trying to accomplish. You could be building a brand where sales or actions come second to engagement. Or your company or organization may be in a live or die situation where money, contributions or membership may be imperative.

The data hints that short, funny or engaging videos that have clear call to actions work best.

Best, Len.


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Fritz Gisler June 29, 2012 at 7:21 am

It’s interesting that the commercial advertising world learned this decades ago. Any wonder why 99% of commercial TV spots run 30 seconds? Short enough to digest, long enough to tell a compelling story, and cost-effective to produce.
Television (video) is changing. We may see video and television as different, but the viewer rarely makes that distinction. The true key to engagement? Compelling content.

admin July 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

Hi Fritz: Correct in every possible way. My only concern is the money and talent it takes to create a good 60 second commercial. The vast majority of us have neither thus our videos need development and that takes time. Best, Len.

Ellen Jaffe Jones July 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I know that for advertising you’re right. In J-school, we had to do billboards with 1-5 words.

Yet “60 Minutes” captivated me as a child, and still does to this day…with quality content. Go figure. 😉

admin July 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Hi Ellen: Wow–two sentences and you summed up the issue perfectly. As someone who does 30 minute TV shows, it’s hard to practice what I preach. Best, Len.

Deepali Sathe July 17, 2012 at 12:06 am

Great article! Are there any standards by industry when it comes to online content viewing patterns? Or may be some other parameters?

admin July 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hi Thanks for the comment. Go to Pew Internet or Marketing Charts.Com for public and industry research. Just beware that all of us are trying to make sense of the data as to effectiveness. Best, Len.

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