Social Media Lengths Best Practices

Working out the ideal length for video for your pet blog can be a headache. Do you wring your hands and tear out your hair trying to work out the best approach? Don’t stress, take a breath, read on.

A Hubspot infographic about the length of video for social media channels  got me thinking. How do you make the video hit the sweet spot for presentation and timing with a sponsor or community cat appeal? It’s not just about the length, you need to make your video entertaining, engaging and useful.

What’s still news in social media is video

A video may go viral if it hits the spot which is great for you and fantastic for your charity or sponsor. You also want to get it right for your video channel of choice. Your film needs informed content and to be the right length of video. The ideal length for video is dictated by your users on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Ephemeralised content such as Instagram Stories or SnapChat is a whole different story for another micro_moments day!

  • Native advertising is a type of advertising, mostly online, that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears.Wikipedia

Hubspot defined the best social media video lengths for some of the major networks. It makes interesting reading about the native video platforms. If you look at a Twitter video it is different to an Instagram video, and its literally down to seconds of time. This is due to the different social media sites and their users. As a video creator you choose your channel and your time to maximise video shares on social media.

Social Media Videos Know Your Software

But First – Can You Edit Video?

The question is a serious one. It is important you are confident with basic video editing skills before you start any movie project. Learning to use software when you are trying to focus interpreting a video for a sponsor’s message, or a charity’s event is not a good idea. You do not want to be struggling with basic tasks like how to trim footage, add transitions, or place text effectively when you need to have your mind on the bigger picture.

I am familiar with iMovie (Apple) and have used it for some time, with it I can confidently edit and produce video.  It is a useful basic but still sophisticated software program which will allow a maker to craft videos quickly and efficiently. I plan my video, collect my clips and can start work quickly.

My new program ScreenFlow (Apple) is for screencasts and video tutorials. It does a mean transition and some cool fancy movie effects too, so I will learn to edit in it. Like most sophisticated software ScreenFlow has a learning curve. I have just begun to dive in and discover its potential. I have included my first video done in Screenflow at the bottom. You can imagine – it took forever as a newbie to the program.

Social Media Videos

The lesson here? Know your software

If you are unsure of your editing skill level, we have covered editing previously on the blog:

Novice editors need to remember that your software does not have to be top of the range if your budget does not extend that far. An editor can work with any software. If you have something from Adobe learn it and use it. The same goes for any free online program, iMovie, Screenflow, or any software on Windows or Apple platforms. Learn enough to edit confidently and focus 100% on your story. Don’t try to do fancy tricks, if you can’t even trim a basic clip.

TIP As you visit blogs that include video, bookmark those you admire. A well made video should inspire you with its pace, production values, and camera skills.

What You Need to Create the Ideal Length Video

You need a plan.

The drive and idea will come from your sponsor, your own concept, or the people you are creating the video for. These people will want you to present a vision, their hopes and dreams. How you interpret these idea is your job as the video creative.

  • What is your plan? You need to know what the sponsor, person or organisation’s goals are, and what they need from you as the creator.
  • Remember the audience you are making the film for. They are an important focus.
  • Important. Find out any constraints on time, product placement preferences, and budget (if any)
  • Do you need access to a specific location for a video? A sponsor’s office, shelter admin, or shelter area. Be respectful at all times.
  • Then tell your sponsors/charity to step back and let you do your work.

Best Video Shares on Social Media – Timings

Ideal Length for Video

Think Like Your Video Audience

I challenged myself to create a social media video for each length.

I wanted to see how a different time limits, and who the audience are, would change how a video might be created. The aim is to learn what works and how the approach and attitude changes with the different time constraints.

  • 30 Seconds for Instagram
  • 45 Seconds for Twitter
  • 1 minute for Facebook
  • 2 minutes for YouTube

NOTE: The video footage used is all from previous posts on the Dash Kitten blog. These are either social clips or movie shots from sponsored posts. No money is earned from these sample videos. The aim is to show you how time limits affect how you craft each message. You aim for an appealing one that will get your friends hitting the social media share buttons – and responding to your video Call To Action.

The Ideal Length for Video on Instagram

The optimum length for social media videos on Instagram is about 30 seconds.

Why? Because we look, see, and process pictures much faster than we do the written word. Next time you visit Instagram, watch at how fast you scroll through the images on your smartphone screen. With this fast processing in mind, my original video for the Raindrop Drinking Fountain came in at just over a minute long. Too long for the scrolling demands of Instagram.

Look at my 30 challenge example. You will see that I had to set a faster pace. I tried upbeat intercutting of video and still images (using the Ken Burns effect for movement) with short messages emphasising the sponsors message. Note too the labels that sit comfortably with the theme of polished stainless steel and translucent water.

How you can push the right buttons with your Instagram audience:

  • Sophisticated fonts
  • Bright coloured text
  • Bigger messages
  • Fast editing
  • A very quick fancy transition for visual stimulation.
  • NOTE A lot depends on your subject matter and the market you aim for.

Using a more advanced program like Screenflow, Apple’s Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premiere Pro will extend your range of effects and fonts. We used iMovie for this post to emphasise that even a basic programme is a valid and valuable part of your communictions armoury. The message is what matters.

The Ideal Length for Video Twitter

The optimum length for social media videos on Twitter is about 45 seconds. Users want their video to reflect the latest news and technology and they want it now.

I edited the video from the blog’s  Tabcat post into a shorter, more fast paced version in keeping with the shorter time. After 30 seconds for an Instagram video, having 45 seconds gives you just a bit more room to create impact. The video is still short but, there was room to add more current information for users. Our Call to Action asks people to check out the review on our blog.

  • NOTE: Once again I added music as a background track. I use music all the time, even many people listen with the sound off. There is always someone who listens with the sound on, and good quality music adds another level of engagement to video.

How you can push the right buttons with your Twitter audience:

  • More current information on screen
  • Bright funny messages
  • Quick Demonstrations

The Ideal Length for Your Facebook Video

The optimum length for social media videos on Facebook is about one minute.

OK, so I am cheating with our one minute video! I already had a great example ready to roll. It sneaks about four seconds over the one minute limit that works best for Facebook (due to the important end credits).

Facebookers enjoy a video that tells a story. If they like it, users will begin to do a lot of social media sharing. Your aim as a video maker is to use sixty seconds of time to tell an engaging story that keeps user’s attention and makes them want to go ‘Hey they need to watch this’.

My video introduces Neko-Ngeru, the new cat adoption cafe that opened late 2017.  It’s based in Petone, just outside Wellington. One minute gives me enough time to invite viewers to take a look at the cafe. The visuals can tempt them by showing the venue, kitty antics and the cool kitty merchandise available. The Call To Action at the end of the video is the invitation to ‘book now’.

Social Media Videos

We gained an insight into something new from the music in this video.

The music is a purchased licence from AudioJungle.com (part of Envato). They are one of a range of sites where music is available for a modest cost. We always advise movie makers to invest in purchased music, particularly when working with a sponsor or organisation.

The music used in our Facebook video is ‘Positive Classic‘ by SerginSX. After the video went live on the blog I got in touch with the composer via Envato. It turns out he owns a cat and a dog and lives in the middle of Eastern Europe. He was thrilled to know how his music had been used, and he told me that the knowledge inspires creatives like himself to keep going. 

Welcome to Neko Ngeru! from The Dash Kitten Movie Crew

How you can push the right buttons with your Facebook audience:

  • Time to craft a great a sponsor’s message
  • Tell a more extended and engaging story
  • Show longer candid moments developing
  • Add music

The Ideal Length for Video on YouTube

The optimum length for social media videos on YouTube is about two minutes. I admit it! I’d have never done a two minute video, so had to create one from scratch for this blog post.

A social media YouTube video doesn’t just have wiggle room, your video can really expand to tell a bigger story. Whether it’s your sponsor’s product, a cafe opening, or a cat’s rescue drama. You might also find yourself adopting a different approach to editing your video because you have more time, I certainly did..

How did my approach change?

I had to remember I had two whole minutes to tell my story. I chose to extend the cat adoption cafe covering the preparation leading up to the opening and the cafe open to visitors. This had previously been two separate videos for two part of the launch promotion.

A lot more detail could be added to this video. Plenty of fun moments that engaged the viewers attention and emotions. I could peek behind the scenes, show the excitement leading up to the cafe opening, and then the complete cafe after launch.

To my surprise I was using fewer transitions and effects. The number of cross dissolves used was minimal, only at points where they were essential (in my opinion). There is only one ‘fancy’ opening effect near the start of the video.

How you can push the right buttons with your YouTube audience:

  • Content with depth
  • A richer story being told
  • An adventure with slow motion leaps, dramatic cuts and changes of scene
  • A ‘how to’ video to help viewers create a cat toy, a garment, a meal for a puppy
  • For help writing social media HTML code

The extra time you have to create a full two minute video means your plan is more important that ever. The story and its impact is key. I also created this two minute sample movie in the iMovie program.

Screenflow would have been our second option here on the blog, and any fully-featured film editing package can do a lot more than the basics. Just remember the message is what matters, so use your effects with a light touch. It is your skills that matter not the software brand you use.

Suggested Video Shooting Plan for a Facebook Story

  • Plan. A piece of paper and a pencil works fine, or an e-based app like Evernote, or keep it in your head!
  • Focus on the message of the video
  • Shoot plenty of video footage (you can’t always return to a location)
  • Review for the best clips to get your message across
  • Edit, add music, text, and effects to enhance your message
  • Take a break at this point. Don’t overthink your good work and ruin it.
  • Review your finished film – get feedback/criticism from a trusted colleague is possible
  • Publish and bask in the glory of your two minute epic

Instagram TV New Kid on the Block

Instagram TV (IGTV) is a new social platform where people can broadcast long form videos (upright) that 15 seconds to 10 minutes long. Big spenders can get up to an hour but most IGTV accounts will be under 10 minutes. The key thing is they do not disappear after 24 hours.

Every IGTV channel is linked to an Instagram account and is very easy to set up. So, this is a way to massively increase your followers if you do a lot of live video or have a special event to publicise. The upright format is to encourage a rawer, live feeling to videos, as if people are there with you.

How you can push the right buttons with your IGTV audience:

  • A lot of the usual movie skills apply to IGTV.  You can upload any upright video to the channel (experiment to see if you can balance some gentle editing with your ‘on the spot’ excitement.
  • Dynamic movement is one thing, but if people can’t see because you are sweeping around too fast, or wobbly too much, they won’t stick around.
  • Make good use of your lighting but remember darks look really dark on video, even if they don’t while you are at a venue.
  • Vertical videos follow the ration of 9:16 Most smartphones will do this.
  • Videos needs to be in MP4 format.

The Ideal Length and Equipment – A Summary

You will probably be able to watch our video samples and say ‘I can do that’ or even ‘I can do it better’. You can too! So, go out and do it. I could sit and edit and re-edit and totally transform each of the samples created here into something completely different but this post is due to go up in 2018 not 2019!

If you want to make a good movie to impress a charity whose cat needs a home, or create an impactful Facebook video for a sponsor, do this by polishing the skills you have. Use your smartphone, your GoPro or a DSLR. Each is a valid and relevant piece of equipment that can be used to make a movie that captures hearts, or gets a message across.

Don’t believe me? Watch this…

This little promo was made using an iPhone with additional images from the Helen Woodward Animal Center for #RememberMeThursday in 2017.

This movie with a message was done quickly, used a cute vintage app and aimed to add punch to the strong sponsor’s message. It was a message already being promoted with commitment by the Helen Woodward charity and a team of bloggers. The change in format from upright to wide screen midway opens up the medium and the message very effectively.

The video worked and got a lot of shares. It helped get an imporant message out on to social media.I could have done a zillion things differently, or better, but it was out there fast and it worked, and they appreciated it.

RememberMeThursday Movie from The Dash Kitten Movie Crew

Hubspot rose to their own challenge and created their own ideal length for video demos. Their approach is fun to see and very helpful. We bet that you can be challenged to create a movie for your own favourite social media platform too. Which time do you think your video will work best at?

Let us know in the comments, or better still – make the video and show us!

Marjorie and the
Dash Kitten Crew

Whskr Blogger at Dash Kitten

Ideal Length for Video

Bonus ‘Ideal Length for Video’ Segment !

If you really REALLY want to see my very first Screenflow video. This is my video for the ‘Ideal Length for Video on Facebook’ section of this post. I had never edited a movie in the program before and it took literally hours to do. Why? Because I was learning to use the program instead of focusing on the actual content. I am now learning to use the software properly before I venture into creating a proper film.!

 
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28 Comments

  1. Kimberley Kozlowski

    March 28, 2018 at 3:54 am

    Thank you for breaking the social media’s down into bite-sized portions. This is wonderful and well written. I’m moving more into video and your research and tips will be so helpful to what I produce.

    Reply

  2. Basil

    February 24, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    Another fantastic post guys, we’ve come so far with our videos since following your pawesome tutorials – thank you!

    Although our latest one is actually 6+ minutes for a sponsored post as everyone wanted a turn! MOL

    Best purrs

    Basil and co xox

    Reply

  3. Erin the Cat, Princess

    February 23, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    I have to say that thesis an awesome presentation and explanation of the video presentation for the main social media platforms! A real winner of a post, again.
    Toodle pips and purrs
    ERin

    Reply

  4. Irene McHugh

    February 23, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Another fantastically helpful post! I’m actually trying to put together a one-minute video for a blog post I’m optimizing. I’ve got the video segmented into the best clips and I’ve got music selected. I need to create slides for transitioning and now I’m wondering if I have any pictures that I might be able to add in to vary up the visual content a bit more. I like your shooting plan. I can’t go back and shoot any more footage. This video footage is actually from over a year ago, but I think I can make a cute little movie with it. I’m definitely taking breaks to allow my creativity to kick in. I loved how you contacted SerginSX to let him know how his music has been used. Very inspiring indeed! Thank you for your consistent movie encouragement!

    Reply

  5. Kia

    February 23, 2018 at 3:36 am

    This is such great information. Thanks for putting it all together. It’s very important to try and figure out what your audience wants. We are trying to get better at that Once we figure that out I think we can do so much better with our YouTube channel.

    Reply

  6. Sadie

    February 23, 2018 at 2:44 am

    Thanks for these tips. I haven’t done any video work yet but will save this information as a useful reference for down the road.

    Reply

  7. Sandy Kubillus

    February 22, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Great information. I’m a real novice at videos, although I hope to do more. I bookmarked this page so I can refer to it when I make my next video. Thanks.

    Reply

  8. Monika

    February 22, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    This is such a useful post! I am not currently posting my videos but that is in my plan for the future. With todays short attention spans, especially with younger generations, it is important to keep the video lenght optimal and not make videos that are too long. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

  9. Natasha Thompson

    February 22, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Super helpful info! I’m just getting started with videos on Instagram/Facebook, so this is great to keep in mind!

    Reply

  10. Sweet Purrfections

    February 22, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    This is great information. I have a long way to go with videos. I know as a viewer, I don’t like to watch a video on a blog or social media that is much longer than 1-2 minutes. When I use videos, I try to limit them to this or long enough to share a message. One of my goals for the new year is to learn more about producing a good video for our blog.

    Reply

  11. Beth

    February 22, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Your videos are so great! I think the brands must be over the moon with the videos you share! I didn’t realize that each social media responds best to a different length, but of course, they would!

    Reply

    • Dash Kitten

      February 22, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      We have some inspirational sponsors!

      Reply

  12. Jana Rade

    February 22, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Videos are an awesome tool. I love videos. Often, when I’m looking for information, I look for a video first and when I can’t find one then I look for text.

    Reply

  13. Jodi Clock

    February 22, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    This is all new to me – great post, very helpful information

    Reply

  14. Dear Mishu

    February 22, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    This is great advice! It’s a good idea to create a longer video for youtube and then post shortened versions of it on other platforms!

    Reply

  15. Kamira G.

    February 22, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Thanks for such a wonderful in depth post Marjorie! This is really helpful for newbies like me and I’m sure experienced vloggers too. I’m pinning this post and will share. Thanks and great clips you shared. I feel less anxious reading all your tips and tricks.

    Reply

  16. Kitty Cat Chronicles

    February 22, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Great info here! We’ve been doing more and more video on our blog and on Instagram. We have had some great success with our IG videos! We too use iMovie and find it easy to use both on the computer and on the phone. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

  17. The Swiss Cats

    February 22, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Pawsome information ! That’s a very useful post, and we’ll bookmark it ! We usually post our videos on YouTube for embedding them on our blog, and they last from 1′ to 1’30”. Purrs

    Reply

  18. Rachel

    February 22, 2018 at 8:10 am

    There is so much great info here!! I haven’t made many videos, but I should really start. And this post is a great resource! I like the challenge of thinking about different lengths for the different platforms. How often have I started watching a video and clicked out because…it was too long. Great post!

    Reply

  19. Sonja of Montecristo Travels

    February 22, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Interesting. Our videos are always longer and yet people still complain that they are too short! LOL We don’t make different videos for different platforms. No time. Oh well. We’ve found that confidence in the voice and “posture” of the person makes a HUGE difference on wether or not folks will stay tuned.

    Reply

  20. Seville at Nerissa's Life

    February 22, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Very interestin’ information here, my pal. Of course, my first peep would be useless at this. I mean, when you said “software,” the first thing she thought of was soft things to wear. MOUSES!

    Reply

  21. Ava at Savvy Pet Care

    February 22, 2018 at 6:40 am

    I’ve been doing more and more videos for my Gold Country Cowgirl website but still need to work on pet videos. They are a little different and take more planning — at least for me. I’ve been reading that square video is the new thing for Facebook and Instagram. What are your thoughts on that?

    Reply

    • Dash Kitten

      February 22, 2018 at 7:32 am

      I hope we have been of assistance Ava.

      Reply

  22. Ruth Epstein

    February 22, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Great information thanks for the lesson, am learning every day and will keep all this in mind although still trying to figure out my camera LOL

    Reply

  23. Amy Shojai, CABC

    February 22, 2018 at 4:49 am

    I love doing video–but it does take more time than simply typing something up (but I’ve been typing in my sleep for years now, LOL!). I finally did 2 “facebook live” events this week and that was painless. I have a video software program I use for YouTube but always spend too much time adding stuff, tweaking and the lke, and have fallen behind uploading there. You’ve inspired me!

    Reply

  24. Brian Frum

    February 22, 2018 at 1:43 am

    We always enjoy your video tutorial posts and I wish I could get the Dad to do more of them. We’re on Instagram somewhere but we’re totally lost there.

    Reply

  25. Talent Hounds

    February 21, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Such a helpful post. It is so confusing having to deal with each different platform. Thanks for the breakdown. We LOVE video and wrestle with this every week.

    Reply

  26. Lone Star Cats

    February 21, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Good info!

    Reply

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