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How long should a video be?


How long should a video be?

The other day, Gabriel Mumjiev posted a link about the value of short versus long videos online. My understanding is that short is generally better. Few people will watch a video longer than 3 or 4 minutes, if that. I also wonder whether Vine and Instagram videos are reducing that even further, to under a minute.

Another contributor to this network suggested that 10 minutes is an optimal duration.

Nevertheless, that article posted by Gabriel suggested that at least in some cases, longer can be better. In some cases, viewers like to engage with a subject in more depth. Perhaps it just depends on how engaging your video is, and how well you have tapped in to the interests of your target audience. Packaging is everything, as the website, Upworthy, has found. They manage to get significant viewership for videos of social significance, by coming up with headlines that grab people. And we should not forget, that millions of people watched that awful Kony 2012 video, even though it was around 30 minutes long.

I think one of the main problems with videos online is that plenty of organisations make them without giving much thought to their audience. Or they think that simply producing a video and sticking it up online is enough - without putting effort into building their networks and ensuring audience engagement.

Personally, the drawback to video for me is that the time I have to spend watching one is determined by the maker. It's not like text where I can speed read or skim through.

But what do you think? What is your experience with online video, and what are your thoughts about optimal length, and about how best to engage your desired audience? Brett

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