Ideal Insights Optimal Video Lengths Guide 2023

20 July 2023
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As technology and platforms continue to evolve, so do the preferences and behaviours of online audiences. What worked for video lengths in the past may not necessarily resonate with viewers today. It is crucial for businesses and marketers to stay up to date with the optimal video lengths for different platforms and purposes. By aligning video content with the specific requirements and expectations of each platform, brands can maximise audience engagement and achieve their desired goals.

In this article on optimal video lengths, we will delve into the latest research, industry insights, and best practices to help you navigate the ever-changing video landscape. From short-form videos tailored for social media platforms to long-form videos for in-depth storytelling, we will explore the ideal video lengths for various purposes and platforms. By the end of this guide, you will have a clear understanding of how video length can impact audience engagement and be equipped with the knowledge to create videos that effectively capture attention and drive results.

Stay tuned as we uncover the secrets to optimising video lengths in the dynamic digital world of 2023. Let's dive in and discover how the right video length can make all the difference in capturing your audience's hearts and minds.


The Power of Short-form Videos

Short-form videos have taken the social media landscape by storm, offering quick bursts of engaging content that captivate audiences in seconds. These videos are characterised by their concise format, typically lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a maximum of one minute. In an era of shortened attention spans, short-form videos have emerged as powerful tools for grabbing attention and driving engagement, especially on social media.

When it comes to optimal video lengths for short-form platforms, it's essential to understand the unique requirements and preferences of each platform. Hootsuite, a well-known social media management platform carried out research into ideal video lengths for each video placement. TikTok, for example, thrives on bite-sized content that is typically 15 to 60 seconds long. Instagram Reels, the popular short-form video feature on the platform, also recommends videos between 15 to 30 seconds in length. Whereas, Snapchat, known for its short-term nature, encourages even shorter videos, with an ideal length of 10 seconds or less. Head over to our Instagram page where you can see our own examples of quick short videos that engage with our audience.

Creating impactful short-form videos requires careful consideration of key factors. First and foremost, capturing attention within the first few seconds is crucial to hook viewers and keep them engaged. Incorporating eye-catching visuals, compelling storytelling, and concise messaging are effective strategies for making a lasting impact. Additionally, understanding the target audience and tailoring the content to their preferences and interests can significantly enhance the success of short-form videos.

By mastering the art of short-form videos and optimising their lengths for specific platforms, businesses can leverage the power of this format to deliver engaging content, boost brand visibility, and foster meaningful connections with their audience.

Long form video

Harnessing The Power Of Long-Form Video

Long-form videos offer an opportunity to delve deeper into content, providing in-depth information, storytelling, and a more immersive experience for viewers. Unlike short-form videos, long-form videos have a longer duration, typically exceeding one minute and often extending to several minutes or even hours, depending on the platform and content type.

When it comes to optimal video lengths for long-form platforms, platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn have different expectations and user preferences. YouTube, being a platform dedicated to video content, allows for a wide range of video lengths. However, it's important to keep in mind that viewer engagement tends to decline as videos exceed the 10-minute mark, around the 2-minute mark seems to be the sweet spot for this OG video platform. On Facebook, videos between 1 to 3 minutes tend to perform well, while LinkedIn's audience favours videos around the 30 to 90-second range, considering its professional-oriented user base. If you’re looking to create video ads for LinkedIn head over to our guide to help you with everything you need to know.

To maintain viewer engagement in long-form videos, several strategies can be employed. First and foremost, it's crucial to establish a strong and captivating introduction to hook viewers and generate interest in the first few seconds of content. Incorporating storytelling techniques, visual variety, and compelling narratives throughout the video can also help sustain engagement. Additionally, breaking down longer content into digestible segments or chapters, implementing interactive elements, and encouraging audience participation can enhance the overall viewing experience and keep viewers invested.

Long-form videos offer an opportunity to provide valuable and in-depth content, build credibility, and establish a strong connection with viewers. By understanding the unique characteristics of long-form videos and tailoring them to the platform and target audience, businesses can effectively harness the power of this format.

Reel 'Em In - Video Ads and Promotions

Video ads play a crucial role in digital marketing, helping businesses promote their products, services, and brand messages to a broader audience. Understanding the optimal video lengths for different types of video ads is essential to maximise their impact and effectiveness.

The length of your video ad will depend on its desired placement and audience. If we look at platforms like Youtube where you get ads before and during your video content there are ideal video lengths for these. For example, when it comes to pre-roll ads, which are typically shown before the main video content, shorter durations are recommended to capture viewers' attention without interrupting their desired video experience. Optimal lengths for pre-roll ads range from 5 to 15 seconds, as this time frame allows for concise and impactful messaging.

Mid-roll ads, on the other hand, are inserted during longer video content, providing an opportunity to engage viewers who are already invested in the content. For mid-roll ads, video lengths between 15 to 60 seconds are common, striking a balance between capturing attention and providing valuable information.

However, if your placement is going to be on social media, like Facebook or Instagram it’s best to stick to the same optimal lengths that we spoke about above so they sit seamlessly into the everyday viewing experience and are not skipped because viewers lose interest. When it comes to TV ads the best length is 30 seconds as studies show that over half of TV ads are this length.

To create engaging and memorable video ad campaigns, it's important to grab attention from the start, deliver a clear and compelling message, and evoke emotions that resonate with the target audience. Incorporating storytelling elements, captivating visuals, and a strong call-to-action can help drive engagement and conversions.

When adapting video lengths for different advertising platforms and objectives, it's crucial to consider the platform's specifications and audience preferences. For instance, YouTube allows for longer video ads, while platforms like Facebook and Instagram tend to favour shorter formats. Adapting video lengths based on the specific objectives of the ad campaign, such as brand awareness, lead generation, or product promotion, is also important to ensure alignment with the desired outcomes.

Live stream

Going Live: Live Videos and Webinars

Live videos and webinars are powerful tools for real-time engagement and interaction with audiences. Understanding the optimal video lengths for live streaming and webinars is essential to keep viewers engaged and deliver valuable content effectively.

When it comes to live streaming on platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live, the optimal video lengths can vary depending on the nature of the content and the audience's preferences. Generally, shorter live videos ranging from 10 to 20 minutes tend to perform well as they maintain viewers' attention and provide concise yet impactful content. However, for more in-depth or educational topics, longer live videos ranging from 30 minutes to an hour can be appropriate, allowing for a deeper exploration of the subject matter.

To keep live viewers engaged throughout the broadcast, it's important to have a well-structured and engaging format. Incorporate interactive elements such as Q&A sessions, polls, and viewer comments to encourage participation and create a sense of community. Use compelling visuals, dynamic storytelling, and a lively delivery style to maintain energy and captivate the audience's attention.

When hosting webinars, the optimal video lengths can vary depending on the content and objectives. In general, webinars aim to deliver valuable information and insights within a reasonable timeframe. Optimal webinar lengths typically range from 30 minutes to an hour, allowing enough time to cover the topic comprehensively while respecting the audience's time and attention span. However, the length can be adjusted based on the complexity of the topic and the level of engagement desired.

To ensure effective webinars, focus on providing valuable and actionable content, engaging the audience through interactive elements like polls and live chat, and offering a clear structure with key takeaways. Plan and rehearse the webinar to maintain a smooth flow and avoid unnecessary delays or distractions.

Once Upon a Time… In The World Of Video

Storytelling is a powerful tool in video production that allows brands to connect with their audience on a deeper level. Understanding the optimal video lengths for narrative-driven videos, brand stories, and testimonials is crucial in effectively conveying the desired message and captivating viewers.

When it comes to narrative-driven videos, the optimal video lengths can vary depending on the complexity of the story and the platform it will be shared on. Shorter narrative videos are often ideal for platforms like Instagram and Facebook which favour short-form video content anyway, as they capture viewers' attention quickly and maintain engagement. However, longer and more elaborate narratives, such as short films or documentary-style videos, that allow for a more immersive storytelling experience are best for platforms like YouTube or for brands to use as central brand videos.

Brand stories and testimonials aim to create an emotional connection with the audience while showcasing the values and impact of a brand. The optimal video lengths for brand stories and testimonials typically range from 1 to 5 minutes. This duration allows enough time to build the narrative, highlight key aspects of the brand or product, and share compelling testimonials from satisfied customers. Keeping the videos concise and focused ensures that viewers stay engaged and absorb the essential messaging.

To captivate viewers and evoke emotions through storytelling, various techniques can be employed. Start with a strong and relatable opening that hooks the audience from the beginning. Develop a clear narrative, including an introduction, rising action, climax, and resolution, to create a sense of tension and resolution. Incorporate visuals, music, and sound design to enhance the emotional impact of the story. Use authentic and relatable characters to make a personal connection with the viewers. And finally, ensure that the storytelling aligns with the brand's values and messaging to create a cohesive and impactful video. For more insight into storytelling for your brand you can check out our blog which covers 8 types of storytelling to help boost your brand's video campaigns.

Putting The Future In Frame

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it's important to stay up to date with emerging trends in video styles, lengths and formats. The preferences and behaviours of online audiences are constantly changing, and understanding these shifts is crucial for creating video content that resonates with viewers.

One emerging trend is the rise of shorter video formats across various platforms. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat have popularised the concept of micro-content, with videos ranging from a few seconds to a minute in length. These short-form videos cater to the fast-paced nature of social media consumption and offer bite-sized, easily digestible content that captures viewers' attention quickly. As the attention span of online audiences continues to shorten, incorporating shorter video formats into your content strategy can help ensure maximum engagement.

On the other hand, long-form videos are also finding their place in the digital landscape. Platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn have become hubs for longer video content, such as tutorials, vlogs, and in-depth discussions. These platforms provide a space for more immersive storytelling and detailed information sharing. While shorter attention spans are a consideration, there is still a demand for in-depth, informative content that provides value to viewers.

Looking ahead, the future of video lengths will likely be shaped by advancements in technology, changes in audience preferences, and the evolving dynamics of online platforms. As mobile usage continues to dominate, videos optimised for mobile viewing, such as vertical or square formats, are likely to become more prevalent. Additionally, interactive and immersive video experiences, such as 360-degree videos and virtual reality, may gain traction as technology advances and becomes more accessible.


We have explored the optimal video lengths for various social media platforms, advertising formats, live videos, storytelling videos, and more. Understanding the ideal video lengths for different contexts is crucial for capturing and maintaining viewer attention, maximising engagement, and achieving your video marketing goals.

However, it's important to remember that these optimal video lengths are not set in stone. Every brand, audience, and content goal is unique, and it's essential to experiment, test, and adapt video lengths based on your specific context. Monitor the performance of your videos, gather feedback from your audience, and continuously optimise your video lengths to ensure maximum impact.

As the digital landscape evolves, audience preferences and platform dynamics will continue to change. Stay updated with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in video production to stay ahead of the competition, you can do this by signing up for our newsletter where each month we come to you with all the new digital trends you should know about.

If you're ready to take your video marketing to the next level, reach out to us at Ideal Insight. Our team of experienced professionals is here to help you craft and execute impactful video strategies that will elevate your brand and captivate your audience. Let's embark on this exciting video journey together!

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