How long should your video be? Video length best practices 2021-22

Posted by Naomi Linford on November 10, 2021
Naomi Linford

Wondering what the optimum length is for different types of video? Then this is the blog for you. In this guide we walk you through the best practice for videos on different social media platforms, plus the ideal length for video on websites. 

Let's dive in! ⏱

1. Website video length
2. Facebook video length
3. Instagram video length
4. YouTube video length
5. Twitter video length
6. LinkedIn video length 
7. TikTok video length
8. Snapchat video length

Overall video sharing best practice

Before we get into the platform specific advice, there are a few best practice tips that apply to all types of video. Let's recap them now:

1. Harness your analytics

While we'll be sharing the best practice for social media video lengths, nothing beats your own data. All social media platforms have analytics suites that can give you insights into viewer engagement, demographics and success. So while reading our best practice, compare it with your own results and consider blending the two for optimum results. After all, every video is unique in some way and so your own tests will always show extra insights 💡

2. Create different types of video to tap into different audience preferences

It's not only the length of video that's good to test - it's also the type. With so many different video sharing options on each of the social media channels, it's important to experiment and see what works for your brand. For instance, you might find you can achieve greater results with one TikTok video that taps into recent trends than you can with 3 Facebook videos. Or even the opposite might be true and longer form YouTube content is the way to go. 

Either way, you won't know until you try so get experimenting!

3. If in doubt, keep it short and sweet

As you'll see, just because videos can be longer on certain platforms, doesn't necessarily mean they should be. So don't be afraid to cut your video short if you've told your story, there's no need to lengthen it out if it's not needed. 

Your video will always have more impact when there's less waffle, you get to the point quickly and you focus on giving value and engaging your audience, not spilling everything you know about a subject! 

Website video length

Before we dive into the social media best practice, we want to focus on videos on websites. This is arguably more overlooked since most sites feature some sort of video but you might not have thought so much about optimizing it for the platform. So, how should you approach video creation for your homepage?

  • The optimal length of a homepage video is similar to that of a TV commercial - 30 to 60 seconds.
  • You can share longer videos but generally unless they're tutorials or support related content, they don't need to go into lots of detail and should act as a teaser or overview rather than complete answers.

Source: Vidyard

Facebook video length

Now let's tackle the biggest social media platform first. What length of video works best on Facebook? Research showed the following:

  • The optimal video length for improved engagement is between 2 and 5 minutes. 
  • Vertical videos are the most engaging video format (especially when combined with short captions).
  • However, when looking at live videos - those that last over one hour increase engagement rates from 0.26% to 0.46%.
Sources: Socialinsider

Instagram video length

Moving on to Instagram, arguably the first platform that made visuals the focus. There's now lots of different options for sharing video content on the platform including in in-feed posts, Stories , TV and Reels - each type has it's own maximum video length:

  • Instagram Stories: 15 seconds maximum. 
  • Instagram in-feed videos: 60 seconds maximum, though you can stack those videos in a carousel post.
  • Instagram TV: 15 minutes max if posting via mobile device and up to 60 minutes when posting via desktop.
  • Instagram Reels: 60 seconds maximum.

As these forms are generally so short, you'll want to use all the available time. But when it comes to IGTV 2 to 6 minute videos have shown to perform the best. 

Sources: Influencer Marketing Hub, Hootsuite and Later

YouTube video length

Next up is the king of video content, YouTube. There's an incredible appetite for video on the platform with over 1 billion hours of video being watched on the platform each day. So how do you best appeal to this audience? Here's the best practice: 

  • While you can upload a maximum of 12 hours of video, videos around the 10 minute mark have proved most popular.
  • It's likely to be because we head to YouTube for more informative or entertaining content with a specific goal in mind rather than scrolling a feed between meetings. 

Screenshot 2021-11-10 at 12.28.07Source: Google

Twitter video length

From breaking news to opinion pieces, video works really well on this more time-sensitive platform where content refreshes quickly. Here's our best practice advice:

  • Twitter's maximum video length is 140 seconds.
  • However, Twitter recommends videos are 15 seconds or less to attract 10x more engagement than tweets without videos. 

Source: Twitter

LinkedIn video length 

Whether you're looking to boost your employer brand or reach out to B2B customers, LinkedIn is a fantastic platform to engage audiences with video content. The platform recommends:

  • The maximum length for LinkedIn videos is 10 minutes. 
  • However, LinkedIn has seen a 200% lift in video completions when the video is 30 seconds or under. So consider trimming your video down to the key message.

Source: LinkedIn

TikTok video length

The newest player to the table, TikTok, has really shown the power of video with their short-form videos that are sparking global trends and huge opportunities for individual content creators and brands alike. Here's best practice on this channel:

  • Ultimately, the length of your TikTok ads should make sense for the message you’re trying to get across.
  • However, TikTok see that shorter videos perform better - 1 in 4 top-performing videos have a duration between 21 and 34 seconds and on average achieve a 1.6% lift in impressions. 

Source: TikTok

Snapchat video length

Lastly, we head to Snapchat where again visuals are the main focus - either photos and images or video. Here is Snapchat's own advice on sharing videos:

  • Video ads can be up to 3 minutes of vertical video, and then offer the option to add an interactive element.
  • However, the first 3 - 5 seconds is the sweet spot for video length to drive action so ensure you have your call-to-action up front.

Source: Snapchat

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