The ideal length for online video

Abraham Lincoln was, for his day, unusually tall and gangly.

Once a man asked him, “Hey, Abe Lincoln … how long should a
person’s legs be?”

Lincoln answered, “Long enough to reach the ground.”

It’s the same with copy in general and online video in
particular.

Both should be as long as they need to be to get the message
across and generate maximum ROI.

TwentyThree, the maker of a video marketing automation platform,
studied over 1.5 million videos to better inform marketing and
content creation teams about preconceived video myths.

Their “State of Online Video in 2017” report found that videos
can, and should, last longer than 90 seconds if publishers want
to see higher engagement rates.

While 80 percent of videos are under 5 minutes, the short ones
drive less than a third of overall video engagement.

Mid-form and long-form videos, which are at least 15 minutes
long, drive over half of all video engagement despite
encompassing just 8 percent of all video.

The subject matter has a lot to do with how long viewers will
stick with videos.

I wrote scripts for marketing videos in the late 1970s when I was
at Westinghouse Defense and Aerospace, and our average run time
was about 8 to 10 minutes.

Yes, you can argue it was a different time with longer attention
spans.

But the footage — F-16s soaring through the air and tanks
blasting apart concrete targets with rounds — was really cool to
watch. And so people did.

I recently read an article saying the human attention span is now
less than 8 seconds.

But if you’ve ever watched a half-hour sitcom or a movie in a
theater, you know that is pure baloney.

Four hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.
Average run time is about 3 minutes.

Stansberry Research had a home run with a video sales letter
awhile back called “The End of America.”

It was one of the most successful financial promotions of the
last few years, and its running time was an incredible 45
minutes.

I’m sure the Stansberry team heard from a lot of friends and
family who said, “You’re crazy; nobody will watch a video that
long” or “Whenever I click on those things, I immediately click
away.”

But Stansberry wisely ignores subjective opinion, especially of
noncustomers. All they care about is ROI and gross revenues, and
“The End of America” made them a small fortune.

And that’s all any marketer, including you, should care about,
too. Right?

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