This is one of the questions our clients ask most so we decided to dedicate an entire post to the topic to break it down in detail.
If you’re looking for one simple “coverall” answer, an explainer video should be 60-90 seconds. But, there are other possible exceptions depending on your business needs.
By the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll know what’s the best explainer video length for you; 60 seconds, 30 seconds, 2 minutes, or maybe even something else entirely.
What’s The Ideal Length For An Explainer Video?
Having been in the media production industry for years, we’ve been students of any research that helps us serve our clients better. We also have hundreds of videos to provide our own in-house analysis. But the thing is, I couldn’t show you any one specific source on the internet that proves what the ideal length is for an explainer video.
Some research states the ideal length for explainer video is up to 30 seconds. Others say 60-90 seconds is the sweet spot. And others still make a case for 2 minutes.
The truth is, 30 or 60 seconds isn’t a big deal if your explainer video is an hour and a half long. But when the length is 60-90 seconds, every second counts.
So why are the stats all so different?
I think that many people putting out these numbers have forgotten the one basic and fundamental truth — marketing videos are simply a form of communication.
So, the same as it is in everyday life, people most often listen to what you have to say when they know you or trust you. It’s hard for anyone to hear your first message as a newcomer.
So how do we get around that?
Companies create 60-90 second explainer videos because they should prepare, attract, and then send the message.
To tie it in with familiarity, these 60-90 second videos gives the time to hear all parts of that. Videos less than thirty seconds are basically, “I already know and love you, so let’s skip the intro and just tell me what’s new.” And for videos 2 minutes and longer, it’s like whatever the person is saying is must-know information you can’t live without.
We’ve looked at this from every angle, and you may be surprised that the ideal duration depends on the purpose of the video, and what stage your company is in.
Let’s break it down, starting with if you’re a new company.
How Long Should My First Explainer Video Be?
If you are a new company, one of your main goals is to get the word out. To do this, you need ample time to prime the audience and get/keep their attention. The best length for this case is 60-90 seconds.
Remember, no one knows about you yet; your explainer video needs to be long enough to introduce your brand and cover several points, without being too long that it gets boring.
This is the most popular length, so let’s take a look at how long each stage of your video should be.
How Long Each Stage Of Your explainer Video Should Be.
The Problem (5-10 seconds)
Modern attention spans are short. If you spend too much time on a long opening, viewers will move on. That’s it, and you don’t get a second chance. Viewers need to understand in just a few moments if what you’re offering appeals to them.
The Solution/Value Proposition (5-10 seconds)
After the customer is engaged is the perfect time for a company/logo reveal along with your business solution.
You should tell about your main value proposition here; keep it short enough to maintain interest and keep people watching.
How it Works/Benefits Your Customer Will Get (30-50 seconds)
Here’s where you get the bulk of your message across. If you do everything right, you’ll have a solid chunk of time to talk further about your product and all the ways it will make your customer’s lives better.
But still, focus is key; don’t list every detail. We recommend one main point and 3-4 sub points.
Always remember, your viewer is doing research and watched all your competition’s videos as well. You’re in a race, and need to stay sharp.
Keep focused on your main message, the key feature that makes you better (or different), and your most valuable benefit you want stuck in their memory.
Call to Action (10 seconds)
Always, always, always make it crystal clear at the end of your explainer video what exactly you want your customer to do next. You’ll want your logo or brand front and center here again as well.
The Myth of the Perfect Explainer Video Length
We analyzed all the data by Wistia, Animoto, Hubspot, and others, and they all say the same thing: Never go over 2 minutes, and never go under 30 seconds.
This isn’t entirely true.
Those are all great companies, but none of them actually create explainer videos.
If you actually go and search for explainer videos from some of the biggest production agencies in the industry, you will find plenty of examples under 30 seconds and over 2 minutes.
And yes, those can work in the right circumstances.
Keep reading to see how!
When to Go Real Short – Up To 30 Seconds
As we’ve mentioned, your explainer video needs to be long enough to cover all your necessary info. For that, you generally need 50-60 seconds not including the hook and CTA.
But there is one occasion when videos shorter than 30 seconds work perfectly. But it’s not going to be your main or first explainer video. Let me explain.
If you’re a company with a lot of followers on social media or a brand that’s a household name, you don’t need to prime viewers or spend time engaging their emotions. Brands like that have already spent millions getting people to recognize and react positively to them.
For example, brands like MailChimp or Ahrefs don’t need to spend time breaking the ice before explaining new products. They can get away with showing a product for 14 seconds and then flash the logo.
But this is about the only time a shorter explainer video could work.
What about longer videos?
Explainer Videos Longer than 2 Minutes
Shorter explainer videos are great for announcing new features or persuading people to visit your homepage to learn more.
What if your new feature or product takes a lot of time to explain how it works and how it can be used? In this case, you absolutely can create a long video breaking down every aspect or feature.
This type of long-form explainer video can be screen recording, live video with animation, or all of those together.
The idea here is that the total package you’re creating is ultimately fascinating to watch even at the 5-10 minute length. And, of course, if you are the next Apple, the sky’s the limit.
Remember the Steve Jobs’ presentations?
People watched, hypnotized for hours until the last second, hoping for even more!
But you better have an amazing product or service if you want to pull that off.
Okay, I Get It. So One More Time, How Long Should My Explainer Video Be?
We’ll make the conclusion super easy.
One last time, if you’re a new or relatively unknown company, your explainer video should be right in that 60-90 second sweet spot. Short enough to keep people engaged, and long enough to cover your main message capped with a call to action.
And of course, if you have an audience that you know is happy to hear from you, you also have the option of a video less than 30 seconds or more than 2 minutes.
If you’d like to chat with us about figuring out the rest of the details, don’t hesitate to reach out any time.
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