Working out the ideal length for social media videos people take time to watch can be a headache. Is there a best video length your Twitter followers will enjoy, or your Instagram feed without clicking away.
Hubspot defined the best social media video lengths for some of the major networks and the length of your video and social media channel are closely linked.
I hope this post will help find a way that will work for you. It has useful suggestions for cat bloggers who aim to find the right length and approach that really works. I will demonstrate which lengths work best, and why.
Here’s how the post is set out for you:
- Video lengths and their impact
- Thinking like your audience
- Why editing skills are useful
- Best video length by individual channel:
The Hubspot infographic inspired me to undertake a challenge. I would create videos for each major social media channels and see how the approach changed according to how it takes to get a message across.
How Do You Hit the Video Sweet Spot?
How do you make the best of your presentation and timing for a sponsor or community cat appeal? It’s not only the length. Your video needs to be:
- and helpful.
Video is still 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 fundraiser.
If you look at a Twitter video, it is different to an Instagram video, and it is down to seconds of time. This is due to the different social media sites and their users. As a video creator, you choose the best and best social video platforms for your niche.
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
TOP TIP: Think Like Your Audience
When I challenged myself to create a social media video for each length, I wanted to see how my approach would change with the different time limits and the demands of the audience. Your fans on Facebook expect a different type of video to Instagram or Twitter fans. You need to put yourself in their place.
For bloggers, the idea is to learn what works and how creating movies changes with the different time limits.
- 30 Seconds for Instagram
- 45 Seconds for Twitter
- 1 minute for Facebook
- 2 minutes for YouTube
NOTE: The video clips I am using 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.
Let me review the movie demands for the major channels. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I will note my impressions on how a blogger’s approach might change for each channel.
Best Video Length for Instagram
The best length for social media videos on Instagram is about 30 seconds. You shoot Instagram and its close neighbour IGTV in square format.
Instagram is intensely visual and we process pictures much faster than the written word. The next time you visit Instagram, watch at how fast you scroll through images. It begins to hit home how short your time is to make an impact.
The original video for our Raindrop Drinking Fountain sponsored post was longer than a minute. This is too long for the scrolling demands of Instagram. It also needs to be in
How did my approach change for Instagram?
You will see this video has a fast pace. I have used upbeat intercutting of video and still images, using the Ken Burns effect for movement on photographs.
Short snippets of text emphasise the
A more advanced program like Screenflow, Apple’s Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premiere Pro will extend your range of effects and fonts. I used iMovie for this video.
How you can appeal to 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.
TOP TIPS Dynamic movement for your short movie is one thing, but if people can’t see because you are sweeping around too fast, they won’t stick around.
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 it fast.
How did my approach change for Twitter?
I edited the video from my Tabcat post into a shorter faster movie. After 30 seconds for an Instagram video, having 45 seconds gives you just a bit more wiggle room. The video is still brief 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.
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. If they like it, users will start adding ‘Likes’ and sharing. Your aim as a video maker is to use sixty seconds of time to tell a really engaging story that keeps user’s attention and makes them want to go ‘Hey they need to watch this’.
For inspiration, look at some of the highest scoring movies on Facebook, see what they do, and how.
OK, so I am cheating with my one minute video. I already had a fabulous example ready to roll. It sneaks about four seconds over the one minute limit that works best for Facebook due to the essential end credits for craftspeople, composers and booking details.
How did my approach change for Facebook?
My video introduces Neko-Ngeru, the new cat adoption cafe that opened late 2017. The cafe is 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’.
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
Always be conscious of © copyright when dealing with music.
The music is a purchased licence from AudioJungle.com (part of Envato.com). They are one of a range of sites where music is available for a modest cost. Envato have a monthly mailing list that offers free graphics, and music, they are worth investigating.
TOP TIP Always
I gained a new insight from the music in this video that I would love to share. The music used in our Facebook video 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 kseeow how his music had been used. He told me that this knowledge inspires creatives like himself to keep working.
Best Video Length for YouTube
The optimum length for social media videos on YouTube is about two minutes.
I 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 rescue drama. You will find yourself adopting a different approach to editing your video because you have more time. I certainly did.
How did my approach change for YouTube?
I had to remember I had two whole minutes to tell my story and chose to extend the cat adoption cafe video by including the preparation that led up to the opening, and then the cafe open to visitors.
A lot more detail could be added to this video. I could peek behind the scenes, show the excitement leading up to the cafe opening, and then the complete cafe after launch. I captured plenty of fun moments that engaged the viewers’ attention and emotions.
To my surprise, I used fewer transitions and effects. The number of cross dissolves used was minimal, and only at points where I thought they were essential. There is only one ‘fancy’ opening effect near the start.
How you can appeal to your YouTube audience:
- Content with depth
- A richer story being told (more time),
- An adventure with slow-motion leaps, dramatic cuts and changes of scene,
- A ‘how to’ video to help viewers for a specific task e.g. grooming a cat, clipping a cat’s nails.
The extra time you have to create a full two-minute video means you need to plan and use your time well. The story and its impact are important to sketch out your ideas to give your movie structure. My sample was created in iMovie.
NOTE You could also use more expensive software as your video is longer and you can include some more impressive effects. Screenflow would have been our second option here on the blog, but you can try Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut Pro if these are available.
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
To do all this, you need a basic social media video skill set
Can You Edit Your Video?
It is helps if you you are confident with basic video editing skills before you start a movie project.All you need to know is:
- How to cut clips,
- add a transition,
- add music/text and
- how to upload your video.
Learning the basics means you can focus on your message, If you are struggling with basic tasks when you need to have your mind on the bigger picture means you lose all the fun of creating your message.
I am familiar with iMovie (Apple) and have used it for some time. I plan my video and with material assembled I can edit and produce a short video reasonably quickly. You need to be able to do the basics not become an expert at Adobe Premiere Pro over night.
Know the basics of your movie software
If you are unsure of your editing skill level, we have covered editing previously on the blog:
One important tip. Your software does not have to be expensive. If you have something from Adobe learn it but if you are on a budget try free online program DaVinci Resolve or paid software like Screenflow. Edit fast on your smartphone with Videoshop or Adobe Rush which are both are great creative tools.
Learn the absolute basics of your program:
- Edit and
- add Text/Music then concentrate on your story.
Whatever your software, use every learning opportunity to boost your skillset. YouTube videos, company websites and downloadable manuals are all tools.
To Create the Ideal Length Video
You need a plan.
The drive and idea will 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 last year.
This little movie with a message was done quickly, used a cute vintage app called 8mm 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 was shared widely and helped get an important message out on to social media on a special day #RememberMeThursday. I could have done a zillion things differently, or better, but the movie was created quickly and posted online, and it made an impact.
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’. Good, please go out and make a movie, 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. 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.
Remember that the message is what matters, so use your smartphone, computer or tablet and your software with a light touch. It is the message that matters not the price of the equipment you use.
Have you made an impact with your video? Did a rescue or sponsor applaud your work? Let us know.
Marjorie and the
Dash Kitten Crew
Social Media Specifications:
Ideal Length for Video