Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Video Length

You’ve probably heard it before: people’s attention spans are shrinking. You need to capture their attention quickly and fight to keep it from your competitors. With this mentality, marketing strategy videos have been traditionally viewed as “shorter is better.” But aiming for shorter video length isn’t necessarily the best strategy anymore.

While there are certain situations where this predetermined time limit holds weight, the ideal video length depends entirely on its use case. What should always be prioritized over length is the story and creative powering the video. Constricting these crucial elements to fit a certain length isn’t how video production should be approached. It should be quite the opposite, with the length of the video being adaptable to what’s needed to fully tell your company’s story.

So when your company is starting the video production process, don’t confine yourself into a short-videos-only mentality. There are some compelling reasons why your brand should start incorporating long-form episodic content into your marketing plans. From changing media types and consumer wants, to standing out from the crowd, we cover the many benefits to creating and utilizing longer videos.

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Changing Media Influences Video Length

Old media types ingrained into our subconscious that short videos are king. We’re used to seeing 15 to 30 second marketing videos because there was only so much time within a traditional TV program to run advertisements. And to make the most money, advertisers would break these up into as small as possible chunks sell to companies.

But as traditional media shifts to online outlets, this time constriction isn’t as necessary as it used to be, giving brands more freedom to think about their videos beyond a set length. Thanks in part to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, and the like, consumers are used to, and even crave, serialized long-form content.

Think of this advertising approach as a story within a story. Your brand can create episodic marketing videos that your targeted audience becomes invested in; that they’ll want to follow to its conclusion. For many companies, it’s no longer enough to simply capture someone’s attention, but they need to keep them actively engaged as well. What better way to keep a potential customer engaged than with a mini-series showcasing your brand?

Take our video with Mark Bell’s Slingshot as an example of how longer form content can be a powerful tool in creating an emotional connection with your audience. By not having a time restriction, we showcased Slingshot’s products, but also showed the larger part they play in the community by preventing injuries and ensuring long, healthy careers in the fire department.

Whether it’s a longer video like ours, or shorter but serialized stories, both methods create a compelling story line and are effective at engaging audiences over a more spread out interval.

4 Reasons to Use Longer Videos in Your Marketing Strategy

In addition to the shift in media and consumer preferences, there are some more compelling reasons to integrate this content into your marketing strategy.

1. Capture a more-engaged audience

Short videos can be deceivingly “great” in how they capture attention and engagement. Many short videos are non-skippable, skewing results in favor of this kind of content. But studies have shown that longer videos are better at attracting a more interested audience. It might be a smaller audience size than what a shorter video might garner, but your viewers will be more engaged, more interested in what you have to say, and more qualified to convert later on in their buyer’s journey.

2. Stand out from the crowd

Although longer-form videos are on the rise, they’re far from being the norm. This gives your company a unique opportunity to capitalize on this type of content and differentiate yourself from your competition. There are virtually endless ways to put episodic video to work for your company. More “boring” marketing avenues like webinars or trainings can even be serialized to make them more engaging.

3. Your story isn’t limited by time

Brands don’t have to limit their creativity to a single video or narrative anymore. Developing a story line through multiple episodes is one way to achieve this, as the Farmer’s Insurance video above showcases. Another method is creating a longer stand-alone piece of content. What works best will be based on your company and where you post it, but one thing is certain: time is no longer the constraint. You’ll only be restricted by your company’s creativity.

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4. Shifting social media algorithms

Social media algorithms are starting to prioritize videos with longer watch times and engagement over other kinds of posts in news feeds. Facebook favors videos that hold their viewer’s attention for a least one minute and bumping it up in their algorithm even more after three minutes of watch time. YouTube has also been silently rolling out similar tweaks to their algorithm, recommending progressively longer content to viewers. Not every social media platform is built for episodic videos, and shorter videos still have their place, but catering to those that prefer longer vides will increase your impressions and engagements.

Long vs. Short Videos: The Answer can be Both

When it comes down to it, there’s no right or wrong answer when deciding between a longer or shorter video for your company. As stated earlier, the biggest priority should always be including every aspect you need to effectively tell your story. If you need a longer video to achieve that, then that’s your answer for that piece of content. Conversely, sometimes a shorter video is the better option depending on where you’ll be showing it.

Conceptualizing and creating a high-quality long-form video doesn’t happen overnight. If your company needs help strategizing and incorporating this kind of content into your marketing plans, we can help. We closely work with our customers from idea-inception through production to create a memorable final product that drives your business to new, undiscovered heights. Contact MarzMotion and let’s get your long-form video project started today.

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