Working out the ideal length for social media video for your pet blog can be a headache. Do you tear out your hair trying to work out the best times for Twitter fans, maximum engagement for Instagram? 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.
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.
The lesson here? Know your software
If you are unsure of your editing skill level, we have covered editing previously on the blog:
- Basic Editing Skills blog post
- Make Your Pet an Internet Movie Star eBook
- Make the Perfect Pet Movie Every Time post
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
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’.
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.
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 can last from about 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.
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
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.!