Beginner Smartphone Movie Skills

How to Boost Video Engagement on Your Blog

You want to make an impact or impress a sponsor, showcase an important cat adoption event or a specal needs cat? Using video will get you a lot of attention and it is a powerful way to get a message across. Let me share my simple tips on the best length for your social media channels and add some bonus tips on getting starting creating your own quality videos.

I will share my top short cuts to video engagement, including how the social media channel you use impacts on the length of your video and how this can shift your creative focus as you create more helpful content for your readers and watchers.

The Best Social Media Video Length

Hubspot spent time defining the best social media video lengths for major networks like Facebook, Twitter etc., It seems that the length of your video and preferred social media channel are closely linked. This means that to maximise the effectiveness of your video for your intended audience it has to tick a few boxes. It has to be:

  • Entertaining
  • Engaging
  • Helpful
  • Or for Instagram Reels Fast, Funny and Short
Closeup of a smartphone being used for blogging by a pet blogger

Video is big news in social media

A video can go viral if it hits the spot. This is great for you and fantastic for a sponsor or a cat rescue. Remember though that this kind of success doesn’t just happen, it needs support and promotion at the start from you and any supporters of your video.

Get a bunch of friends to share your video a few times, this will encourage more attention and will reach much further.

Create your video channel for the audience you want

Don’t try to be everything to every cat lover. If you look at a Twitter video, it is different from an Instagram video in length and format. Let’s start with a peek at the video lengths that work best for your favourite social media channels.

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

Best Video Shares on Social Media – Timings

Ideal Length for Video

Think Like Your Audience

Put yourself in the shows of your audience. Look through their eyes. It’s not as easy as you think when you start out so, in order to gain insight into how this will affect the approach of a video creative, I challenged myself to produce a video for the major social media players. How would my approach change with the different time constraints and the attention spans of my audience?

  • 2 minutes for YouTube
  • 1 minutes for Facebook (Facebookers are the ‘make it snappy’ types)
  • 45 Seconds for Twitter (fast news on a fast channel)
  • 60 Seconds for Instagram BUT research says 26 second videos do best.

NOTE: The video clips I use are 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. I will note my impressions on how a blogger’s approach might change for each channel.

Listen Up – Great Information Coming Your Way

The Most Successful Lengths for Social Media Videos

Best Video Length for Instagram

The best length of social media videos on Instagram is approximately 30 seconds. Remember that Instagram automatically posts your feed’s videos to Reels and these are mostly in portrait (upright) format in 2022.

Instagram is intensely visual. We process images much faster than the written word, so the next time you visit Instagram watch how fast you scroll through the images. It will begin to hit home how short your time is to create an impact with video. [You may also find yourself frustrated by an overload of video clips when you are looking for static images.]

The original video for our Raindrop Campaign sponsored post was longer than one minute, too long for the scrolling demands of Instagram.

How did my approach change for Instagram?.

  • The video has a fast pace with the combination of video and still images. I used the Ken Burns effect to generate movement in photographs.
  • Short bursts of text emphasise the sponsor’s product, and the text presentation matches my chosen theme of polished steel and clean water.
  • A more advanced program such as Screenflow, or Adobe Premiere Pro will extend the range of effects and text available. For this video I chose to use iMovie.

TOP TIP Dynamic movement for your short movie is one thing, but if people can’t see because you are move too fast, they won’t stick around.

How you can appeal to your Instagram audience:

  • Clear, characterful and readable fonts
  • Bright coloured text
  • Simple messages
  • Fast editing
  • A quirky transition for visual stimulation.
  • NOTE A lot depends on your subject matter and the market you aim for.

Best Video Length for Twitter

The best 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 a clear message, very quickly.

How did my approach change for Twitter?

I edited the one minute video from my Tabcat post into a shorter movie for Twitter. The platform has some technical needs that, if you follow them, will make sure your video really hits the spot.

Twitter recommends a 40 fps. fps = frames per second for your video (seedefinition below). The video will be good quality and, mostimportantly, it will be seen very quickly. Twitter exists for fast news and fast communication.

Frames per second (FPS) is a unit that measures display device performance. It consists of the number of complete scans of the display screen that occur each second. This is the number of times the image on the screen is refreshed each second, or the rate at which an imaging device produces unique sequential images called frames.

Techopedia

After half a minute for an Instagram video, having 45 seconds gives you just a bit of story telling room. The video is still short but there is an opportunity to add current and relevant information. In our challenge video, the Call to Action asks people to check out the review on our blog, I could also spotlight any available special offers if it was a sales based post.

How you can appeal to your Twitter audience:

  • Current and relevant information
  • Bright funny messages
  • Quick Demonstrations

Best Video Length for Facebook Video

The optimum length for social media videos on Facebook is about one minute. Facebookers enjoy a video that tells a story that they can share. If they like it, users will start adding ‘Likes’ which helps you grab more attention. Your aim is to use sixty seconds of time to tell an engaging story. One that grabs user attention and makes them want to go ‘Hey you need to watch this’.

  • For inspiration, check out the highest scoring movies on Facebook at the moment. Watch what they do, and use it as inspiration for your own project.

OK, so I am cheating with my one minute video. I already had a fabulous example ready to roll. Only four seconds over the limit due to the essential end credits for craftspeople, composers and cafe booking details.

How did my approach change for Facebook?

The video introduces Neko-Ngeru, the new cat adoption cafe that opened in Petone, just outside Wellington (they are currently moving to Lower Hutt). One minute gives me enough time to invite viewers into the cafe. The visuals tempt them by showing the venue, kitty antics and the merchandise available. The Call To Action at the end of the video is the invitation to ‘book now’.

How you can appeal to your Facebook audience:

  • Craft a great a sponsor’s message
  • Tell a more extended and engaging story
  • Show longer candid moments unfolding
  • Add music. Not essential but, if it enhances my message, I like to add some.

I gained a new insight from the music for this video. It is ‘Positive Classic‘ by SerginSX. I contacted the composer via Envato and it turns out he owns a cat and a dog and was thrilled to see how his music is being used. He told me that this knowledge inspires creatives like himself to keep working.

Be conscious of © copyright when dealing with music. Invest in purchased music, particularly when working with a sponsor or organisation.

Best Video Length YouTube

The optimum length for social media videos on YouTube is about two minutes. This is a serious amount of time.

A YouTube video can really expand to tell a big story. Whether it’s your sponsor’s product, a cafe opening, or a cat rescue drama. You will find yourself adopting a different approach to editing a video. I certainly did.

I also need to admit that I have never done a two-minute video so had to create one from scratch for this blog post.

How did my approach change for YouTube?

I had two whole minutes to tell my story and a video of this length needs planning so that you tell your story with good pacing and engage the viewer’s complete attention. I chose to extend the original Neko Ngeru cafe opening video by including preview clips shot as the owners prepared for the opening.

A lot more detail could be added to a video like this. I had the opportunity to show preparations behind the scenes and show the excitement leading up to the cafe opening, you could add bloopers and goofs to show that not everything works. I captured plenty of fun moments that engaged the viewers’ attention and emotions.

I used fewer transitions and effects in the longer video project. The number of cross dissolves used was minimal and there is only one ‘fancy’ transition near the start.

How you can appeal to your YouTube audience:

  • Your content can have more depth as you are telling a richer story over a longer period of time.
  • You can create an adventure with slow-motion leaps, dramatic cuts and changes of scene,
  • Develop a ‘how to’ video or a series to help viewers with a specific task e.g. grooming a pedigree cat, making a cat quilt.

The extra time you have means it is essential you plan, know your story and focus on your message.

Editing is a Skill You Can Learn

BONUS TIPS: Plan Your VideoFirst

Suggested Shooting Plan for a Video Story

You can’t just grab your device and go. The best and most effective videos have an intention, a plan that drives them forward to deliver their message. Check this list of tips to help you focus on your best storytelling ideas.

  • Grab a piece of paper and a pencil or an e-based app like Evernote and get your story into shape.
  • Focus on your message.
  • 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 mental 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

The drive and idea may come from your own concept, a sponsor, or a rescue 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,
  • Think about the audience you are making your film for,
  • Important. Find out any constraints on time, product placement preferences, and budget (if any),
  • Do you need access to a specific location? 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.

Don’t believe me? Watch this…

This little promo was created using an iPhone with additional images from the Helen Woodward Animal Center for #RememberMeThursday in a previous year’s promotion.

The movie with a message was done quickly, using a cute vintage app called 8mm and was made to add punch to the strong sponsor’s message. It was a message already being promoted by the Helen Woodward charity. The video was shared widely and helped get an important message out on to social media.

Beginner Smartphone Movie Tips

You will probably be able to watch our video samples and say ‘I can do that’ or even ‘I can do it better’. Good. Go out and make a movie, in fact make lots of movies. If you want to make a good movie to impress a charity, or create a Facebook video full of impact for a sponsor, make sure you work on your skills. Remember that the message is what matters, so use your device and your software with a light touch. It is the message that matters not the price of the equipment you use.

  • Use your smartphone, your GoPro or a DSLR. Each is a valid piece of creative equipment to make movies for your blog and sharing on social media.

Have you made an impact with your video? Did a rescue or sponsor applaud your work? Let us know.

How Do You Make A Video?

It helps if you are confident with a few tasks when you start a movie project. A basic movie is not too challenging and as a smartphone owner you can grasp the basics in a short period of time. The three basic video skills you need to tell your story are:

  1. Have a super short story outline. “Kitten discovers toy. Falls over toy. Wrestles toy to ground. Success.”
  2. Know how to cut clips so they create a story.
  3. Add text e.g. information like links, web address, contact details
  4. See how your app uploads your video so you can do it with confidence.

Know your own movie software

Get these three basics in your skillset and you will gain confidence and a sense of achievement with every video you create. If you struggle with basics then you lose all the creative fun and, believe it or not, making videos for sponsors or rescue cats is meant to be FUN.

I recommend that as a first step you explore the video software on your smartphone or computer. Don’t dive in and hope to create a world beater, just make friends with your software.

At first the interface might look like total overload but explore a couple of tutorial videos and you will be surprised how soon you will edit with more assurance. I began my editing journey with Apple’s iMovie which is aimed at the new user, then I graduated to the more professional level Screenflow. Ad a new editor you might try:

  1. DaVinci Resolve (free/paid). Lots of tutorials.
  2. Wondershare Filmore X (Windows/budget)
  3. Apple iMovie (free with Apple devices)
  4. Clipify – helps you create videos in an instant.
  5. High-end editors include Screenflow or Adobe Premiere Pro.

If I plan my video and with my material assembled I can edit and produce a short video reasonably quickly. You do not need to be an expert adobie or user, just learn the essentials of cutting, transitions, adding text and uploading your movie.

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

Social Media Videos Know Your Software

Social Media Specifications:

Specifications change for each social media channel so you will want to bookmark this Google docs page from Sprout Social. It has the most up-to-date social media video specifications on the planet.

No Time to Read? Download this post as a PDF!

29 thoughts on “How to Boost Video Engagement on Your Blog”

  1. This was an absolutely phenomenal post! So much great information. I used to produce (and edit and edit and edit) videos in my job and I still found so much useful information here. Especially nowadays with social media video being so big. (I have not jumped on that yet. Still sharing my videos, but I need to get more “Reelish” I suppose. I also loved the videos. The one on the Tabcat caught my attention and I watched it twice! And beautiful pics! I’ll be Pinning this to share!

    Reply
  2. This is such a great post, it’s actually a fabulous resource for creating engaging video! I’m glad you highlighted the optimal lengths of video on each channel. I hate long videos, I always click off but YouTube is one place I do want a longer video because I’m there to learn how to do something or get information on a place, product, or technique.

    Reply
  3. Super information on how to take successful videos for social media. I didn’t realize there are different lengths that are popular on different platforms. I still think that the operator has a lot to do with a successful outcome. You always do such a great job! I will attempt to up my game a bit. Thanks, Marjorie!

    Reply
  4. Great post and am posting more videos lately especially as I have started using the Talking Pet app which I love as it adds some fun to the videos.

    Reply
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Super helpful info! I’m just getting started with videos on Instagram/Facebook, so this is great to keep in mind!

    Reply
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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

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