While scrolling through social media, you may suddenly find yourself watching all kinds of videos for hours at a time. Long videos, short videos, funny videos and informative videos. The choice is enormous. With the advent of various social media channels, such as TikTok and Instagram Reels, where you scroll through short videos at a rapid pace, our attention span seems to be getting smaller and smaller. On the other hand, you want to share enough information in a video. How long can your explainer video be? And are there “special” rules for social media videos?
If you dive into the worldwide web to find answers to this question, you soon find out that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The ideal length … depends on several factors. It has to do with the purpose of the video and who your target audience is. Moreover, different rules also apply to each social media platform.
Purpose of the explainer video
The first question you should ask yourself is: what do I want to achieve with this explainer video? After all, if you want your video to explain a substantive topic or give an instruction, the video may be a lot longer than if you are promoting your brand. Within EVA we always apply a golden rule when it comes to the ‘ideal length’:
Although this golden rule already provides quite a bit of guidance, there are some ifs and buts to certain video goals and especially mediums. In the rest of this article, we dive deeper into those.
Target audience of the explainer video
It may seem like an open door, but even for explainer videos, it’s still important: have a clear idea of who your target audience is. Focus not only on your message, but also on your target audience. This means that you don’t just broadcast in such a video, but also take the opportunity to connect. By thinking about the target group and their problems and needs, they will feel addressed and therefore will (finish) watching the video faster. You might also find this e-book interesting: how to use animation video for an optimal social media strategy.
Videos on Facebook
Want to post a video on Facebook? Then you have a number of options for this. You can share videos in the overview. In general, the Facebook overview is suitable for longer videos, than for example on Instagram. Think 60 to 120 seconds. This way you can get your message across, but keep viewers’ attention.
Another place to post videos is Facebook stories. Here you can post a regular video or a video ad. Regular stories are a minimum of 1 second and a maximum of 120 seconds. Are you creating a social media video as an ad for Facebook stories? Then it should be a maximum of 16 seconds.
You also have different types of videos on Instagram. These are overview videos, Instagram stories, Reels and IGTV. Instagram is known for sharing photos and videos, and most people scroll through all the visual content quickly. Therefore, we recommend keeping regular videos around 30 seconds. The maximum length for such a video is 1 minute.
Is 60 seconds not long enough? Then use IGTV! This stands for Instagram TV. If you’re posting the video via your phone, it may be between 1 and 15 minutes long. Are you posting the video via the website? Then it should be a maximum of 60 minutes.
For shorter videos, you can use Instagram stories or Reels. Normal stories last up to 15 seconds. It is possible to make the story’s longer, but then it will be divided into multiple stories. Here it is also recommended to use a maximum of 30 seconds. The length of an Instagram video ad is often longer, up to 120 seconds. Finally, reels should last a maximum of 60 seconds.
At LinkedIn, there are two options for social videos, the ad video and a LinkedIn Native Video. The latter is a video that you upload directly to your company page, without a link. The maximum length of such a video is 10 minutes. An ad video has a maximum length of 30 minutes. This sounds long for a social video and it is. The general basic rule is to keep a video on LinkedIn short: a maximum of 2 minutes.
Again, the ideal length of the explainer video on social media depends on your goal with the video. Are you posting a promo video of a product? Then we recommend a video with a maximum length of 60 seconds. Do you want to give instructions or explain a process? Then go for a maximum of 5 minutes. Read also: the primal power of animation videos on social media
YouTube is yet another platform in the lineup. Here the target audience is less volatile and more about storytelling. So this also means that videos may be longer than on other social media. YouTube itself recommends videos of 10 minutes.
Also handy, on YouTube you can divide your video into chapters. Read all about it in our blog: How to place chapters in my YouTube video
Then there is the difference between Hybrid videos (along the lines of the NOSop3 explainers) and pure animation videos. What is very interesting about the NOSop3 videos is that they completely go against the sailing direction of “everything must be as short as possible. Instead, NOSop3 makes relatively long explainers of sometimes up to 10 minutes. Why this does work has to do with the added dynamics in the videos and the many alternations between presenter, animations, real images and camera angles.
Want to learn more about our hybrid videos? View examples and options here on our website.
Efficiently handling video content
What we at EVA Explainer Video Agency do a lot for our clients is create short edits from a longer explainer video. For example, a LinkedIn edit and a Facebook edit. These social media versions of the video are always shorter and focus on the trigger for the video viewer. If someone is interested then we lead them through a link to our client’s website where then often the longer and more comprehensive video is also available.
So that way you have multiple videos for different platforms for the price of 1!
So, depending on the social media platform and the goal you have with your explainer video, the ideal length of the video can vary greatly. Always carefully consider what you want to achieve and on which platform you are posting the video. This way you still keep the viewers’ attention and convey all the important information. At EVA we are happy to help you deploy your explainer video, we already wrote the best tips: how to deploy your video successfully. Any further questions? We are happy to help!