5th July 2012

When it’s OK to Go Beyond

We tell you time and time again: Keep your video short! So now, we’re going to completely contradict ourselves and tell you that sometimes its ok to let your explainer videogo beyond the 90 second mark…sometimes.

Online video content can range from a full television show (lasting 30-60 minutes) to a online video ad (lasting 30-60 seconds). Obviously television shows will last longer than the recommended 90 seconds, but what about that in between content? Not a TV show, not an ad, where does that fit in? The old golden rule used to be over five minutes get it off the web, but nowadays things are a’changin.

With the influx of webinars and web series, the ideal time limit on online content varies. In December of 2010, YouTube lifted its ban on videos longer than 15 minutes, which resulted in a surge of longer web content…good and bad. We saw long, drawn out home movies that left us tired and utterly bored. But we also saw engaging (whether humorous or intellectual) content that held our attention past the 15 minute mark. So when is it OK to stretch your video?

When you actually have something to say.

Do you like it when someone tells you a story about their socks for 45 minutes? Well, neither do I. So don’t post boring content like that on the web. The only time a video should stretch beyond an appropriate time limit is if the content is engaging. Whether this is because its an academic discussion of current political strife or its because you’re on a roll at your standup comedy routine, users should measure the drop off rate of their content to see if users actually watch the video all the way through. And then, if you find out your viewers are dropping off three minutes into your twenty minute video, get out that editing software, because you have got some cutting to do.

Video Editing

Not that we’re particularly fond of King YouTube, but they now allow you to measure when your viewers drop off — but you can also get this feature with other video hosting sites. So for now, we are altering our golden rule of 60-90 seconds, but not for explanation videos! As we always say, keep the viewer engaged, and you should be ok.

P.S. What is with trying to make videos 30 seconds? That is not enough time to explain your product, when it comes to an explanatory video. Yes, 30 seconds is great for a TV ad, but if you’re making an explanation video the minimum is 60 seconds.

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About the Author

Anish hails from London and holds a degree in software engineering from the University of Manchester. Following his education, he worked for several years in the financial industry as a platform administrator before founding Revolution Productions in 2008. In addition to over seven years of video production, Anish is seen as an industry professional, adding his insight in publications such as VentureBeat, ReelSEO and Wistia.

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