Written by Marjorie Dawson

The Practical Guide to Video Engagement for Pet Bloggers

The Practical Guide to Video Engagement for Pet Bloggers

Like this post? Please share.


I hope this post will help you find a way to create your own successful projects. I am including sample videos for cat bloggers who want to ensure that they pitch using the right creative approach.

You want to make an impact. You may have a sponsor to impress or want to showcase an important cat adoption event and blogs with video content are ahead of the game. So, how to do you encourage people to engage with your videos on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook?

Video Length Matters

Working out the ideal length for your videos can be a headache especially when you want to start using video for blogs and social media.

  • I will show the optimum video lengths and how to approach them as a creative.
  • Remind you to ‘think like your audience’ because we often forget.
  • Explain why editing skills are useful
  • Give you video samples by individual channel:
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube

As a video creator, you choose the best social video platforms for your niche.

How Do You Hit the Video Sweet Spot?

Hubspot spent time defining the best social media video lengths for major networks. It seems that the length of your video and choice of social media channel are closely linked.

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:

  • entertaining,
  • engaging,
  • and helpful.
Demonstration of how light affects a posed animal

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 from an Instagram video. This is due to the character of the different social media sites and their users.

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

TOP TIP: Think Like Your Audience

Your fans on Facebook expect a different type and length of video to Instagram or Twitter fans. Put yourself in their place and look through their eyes. To gain insight into how this will affect the approach of a video creative, I challenged myself to oduce 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? Take a look at these timings:

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

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.

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.

Channel Review

Best Video Length for Instagram

The best length of social media videos on Instagram is about 30 seconds. Remember that you shoot IG and its close neighbour InstagramTV in square format. So you will need to change the settings on your smartphone.

Instagram is intensely visual. We process images much faster than the written word. 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.

The original video for our Raindrop Campaign sponsored post was longer than one minute. This is 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.A

How you can appeal to your Instagram audience:

  • Sophisticated fonts
  • Bright coloured text
  • Bigger messages
  • Fast editing
  • A quirky 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 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. 

After half a minute for an Instagram video, having 45 seconds gives you just a bit of wiggle 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.

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 is to use sixty seconds of time to tell an engaging story. One that grabs user attention and makes them want to go ‘Hey they 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.

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
Social Media Videos

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

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.

Welcome to Neko Ngeru! from The Dash Kitten Movie Crew

Best Video Length for 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 this video. I had the opportunity to show preparations behind the scenes and show the excitement leading up to the cafe opening. 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.

Suggested Shooting Plan for a YouTube Story

  • 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

To do all this, you need a basic social media video skill set

Social Media Videos Know Your Software

Can You Edit Your Video?

It helps if you are confident with a few editing tasks before you start a movie project. The four skills you need to master are:

  1. How to cut clips.
  2. Add a transition.
  3. Add music/text.
  4. How to upload your video.

Know your movie software

If you are struggling with basic tasks when you need to have your mind on the bigger picture then you lose all the fun of creating your message and create a lot of unnecessary stress.

I am familiar with iMovie (Apple), and Screenflow. 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 Apple Final Cut Pro 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:

TOP TIP: Your software does not have to be expensive. If you have Adobe learn it. If you are on a budget try free program DaVinci Resolve. Edit on your smartphone with Videoshop or Adobe Rush.

Whatever you have, grab every learning opportunity to boost your skill set. YouTube videos, company websites and downloadable manuals are all useful 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.

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. 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.

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.

Marjorie Dawson

Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.

She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.

Like this post? Please share.

28 thoughts on “The Practical Guide to Video Engagement for Pet Bloggers”

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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?

  21. 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

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.