We’re often asked, “What’s the ideal length for my online business videos?”

Basically, video breaks down into three length categories. Bite sized which are up to 30 seconds. Short videos, typically, one to five minutes, and finally long form video. These are typically five minutes and longer.

So then, what is the best video length for your business?

It really comes down to what’s your purpose for the video? What’s the messaging you want to convey and who is the audience you’re trying to reach? Can you tell your story in six seconds? 60 seconds? Or does your video need to be longer?

Let’s take a look at your choices.

Bite Sized Videos

Bite Sized Videos have become more popular with the advent of social media apps like Vine and Instagram. These posts, six seconds for Vine and 15 seconds for Instagram, are really sketches—snippets of something larger. Many businesses use bite size and short form video content as either video blogs or as ways to drive viewer interest to longer form video content.

In a recent CNN article, Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann said “posts on Vine are about abbreviation–the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life.”

Short Form Videos

Short form video has become more popular through the use of mobile devices and social media sites like Facebook and YouTube which allow for greater video lengths.

Short form videos offer quick overviews of your core messaging, keeping the audience’s attention and are ideally suited for positioning on the front page of a website, embedded in sales presentations, newsletters and through company social media sites.

Long Form Videos

Long form videos on the other hand, allow for a deeper engagement with your audience. These deliver the whole story, not just a part of it. Long form videos give the audience in-depth content about your business or product.

So, What’s the best video length for your business?
That gets us back to the original question of what’s the best video length for your business.

Oh, you want an answer? Well, we do know more people are looking for content online than ever before.

So where does your business fit? You can provide that answer yourself by asking these questions: What is your goal/messaging? And, who is your target audience and purpose?

But – and there’s always a `but’ – before you answer, think about how people are accessing these videos: smart phones, tablets, laptops and even the old fashioned desktop computer. Consider who you want watching your video, figure out how long they typically watch video for and what are they watching it on.

Vine is the most downloaded app on the iPhone and iPad Touch and attracts a generally younger audience. Check out this graphic from Tamba that traces rapid ascent of Vine. Instagram has a demographic that’s a little older, but not much, with over 90 percent of its base of 150 million people under the age of 35.

You may think Facebook is losing its “cool” as more adults start to indulge, but it’s still the top social network for teenagers in this country. And here’s a stat for you: According to a report from the Business Insider’s BI Intelligence, YouTube reached more adults aged 18 to 34 than any single cable TV network.

Bite sized and short form videos tell stories in abbreviated form; long form videos tell the whole story. But who is willing to watch for longer than a few minutes? You may be surprised.

A report by Ooyala Data Science showed long form videos make up more than 50 percent of all video watched on tablets and mobile devices and 38 percent on desktop computers. In article for Reelseo, the video marketer’s guide, Justin Park put the use of long form video this way:

“When it comes down to it, long-form videos are worth it. They make up over half of the online video market and are much better at conveying a message than shorter videos. And while they require more of an upfront investment from viewers, they also create your biggest fans. Like novels, long-form videos are hard to make and hard to get right, but the payoff can be incredible.

Not ready to settle on one form of video? Don’t. Many businesses use a combination of different lengths with good success.

You have to decide what you think is best, but this is what we can tell you: People are going online to get their video like never before. Now it’s up to you to decide how you want to go after them.

###