Explainer Video Length: What should it be?

Feb 16, 2023. 12 min read

The optimal explainer video length varies based on the intended audience and purpose. Discover the ideal duration for your explainer video to achieve the most successful results.

One of the many questions you may encounter when creating an explainer video is determining its ideal length. Our experience has shown that the ideal length can vary depending on the context. While some sources claim that the most appropriate length is between 60 and 120 seconds, this may not always be applicable in all scenarios.

Initially, the statistics presented conflicting outcomes.

explainer video character using mobile

In 2016, Wistia, a video production and marketing firm, conducted a study that established a link between the duration of an explainer video and viewer engagement. By examining more than 500,000 explainer videos, which have accumulated over a billion views online, they discovered that the optimal length for an explainer video is 2 minutes.

Concurrently, a recent study by Animation Explainers found that the average viewing rate for explainer videos drops from 77% to 57% when they surpass 2 minutes in length.

In simpler terms, some viewers consider a 2-minute explainer video too lengthy.

What is the ideal duration for an explainer video?

The objective is to create a comprehensive video to hold the viewer’s attention. However, it should not be so long that it becomes tedious and causes them to lose interest. Here, you will learn the optimal length for various types of explainer videos and why these lengths are the most effective for delivering successful results.

Why is it difficult to determine the appropriate length for your explainer video?

Creating an explainer video involves a significant investment of time and resources. It’s essential to make it appealing to your target audience and ensure they watch the entire video from start to finish.

The primary reason for determining the appropriate length for an explainer video is that it directly impacts the engagement metrics it receives. For instance, shorter videos tend to have a higher view-through and retention rate. Studies have shown that the average retention rate for a 1-minute explainer video is 77%, decreasing as the video length increases. This means that the longer the video, the fewer viewers will retain the information.

A high churn rate and low engagement metrics result in viewers not staying engaged enough to follow your call to action. This is why most companies and marketers opt for explainer videos with an average length of 2 minutes. This duration provides enough time to present all the necessary information while keeping the audience focused and preventing boredom. By determining the ideal length for your explainer video, you increase the chances of keeping your viewers engaged until the end and following through on your call to action. If the audience leaves the video before it ends, all your efforts and investments will be wasted.

What is the appropriate duration for an explainer video?

Explainer videos serve as a tool for marketing and promoting products or services. They provide a comprehensive view of what a company has to offer and showcase its advantages compellingly and memorably. The following is a summary of the recommended length for an explainer video based on its intended audience.

Duration of Explainer Videos for TV Advertising:

The optimal length for an explainer video designed for TV advertising is between 30 to 45 seconds. TV commercials should feature brief explainer videos with concise information that connects viewers to the brand.

The objective is to create a piece that quickly showcases the brand’s value to the general audience. Therefore, it should be entertaining, brief, and unforgettable.

Duration of Explainer Videos for Social Media:

The ideal length for explainer videos on social media should be between 1 and 2 minutes. With overwhelming content on social media platforms, creating a captivating and memorable video is crucial to stand out from the crowd.

Explainer Video Length for your website or blog:

The optimal duration for an explainer video on your website lies between 60 and 120 seconds, with the possibility of extending it up to 180 seconds if necessary. As the website belongs to you, ensuring that the video captivates your audience and prompts them to take action on your call to action is crucial.

Ideal Length of an Explainer Video for Facebook Advertisements:

The ideal duration for explainer videos in Facebook advertisements is between 15 and 30 seconds. Shorter videos are more effective when it comes to Facebook ads. For in-feed ads, longer videos may be acceptable. However, in-video ads have a maximum duration of 15 seconds before users have the option to skip them. To avoid boring your audience, it’s imperative to make these videos brief and engaging from the start, or they may quickly be skipped.

Ideal Length for an Explainer Video in YouTube Pre-roll:

The ideal duration for an explainer video in YouTube pre-roll is between 15 and 30 seconds. People visit YouTube to watch specific content, so your pre-roll explainer video should not take up too much of their time. Additionally, if the video is lengthy or irrelevant to the viewer, they may quickly skip it. It is important to clearly define your target audience and make sure the video opens with a compelling hook.

3 Common Errors Made by Companies Regarding the Length of Explainer Videos.

No set length must be adhered to when creating explainer videos. Debates surrounding the ideal length for these videos are critical to be aware of.

Duration Is Not the Only Consideration Contrary to popular belief, one of the first things viewers do when they click on your video is check the video’s timer. This can influence whether they stay to watch the entire video or not. They will likely stick around until the end of the video is short and engaging. On the other hand, if the video seems too long and fails to captivate them in the first few seconds, they may quickly leave.

There is also the “5-Second Theory,” which suggests that even if the video seems lengthy, if the viewer is hooked within the first five seconds, they will be more likely to watch the rest of the video. According to this theory, the length of the video is not as significant as the engagement it generates.

1-Shorter is not always better.

While it may seem smart to keep your explainer videos as short as possible due to the abundance of online content and the limited attention span of internet users, this approach may not always be the most effective.

Sometimes, it’s essential to give viewers enough time to truly engage with the explainer video and its content. This will enable them to comprehend it and take action based on the call to action. In the study, three explainer videos were created for the same product every 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 2 minutes long. The results showed that the shortest video, 15 seconds, had the lowest view-through rate, while the 30-second and 2-minute videos had much better engagement and view-through rates.

Thus, the key to success with explainer videos is finding the right balance between brevity and delivering valuable information that speaks directly to your target audience’s needs and concerns. Simply making the video short for the sake of it may not always be the appropriate approach, as it could come across as lacking substance. On the other hand, a well-crafted, concise video that addresses your target audience’s most pressing questions and concerns can be extremely impactful, regardless of length.

2-People won’t watch long (5-10 minutes) explainer videos. Wrong!!

As previously noted, the duration of an explainer video is not always the determining factor in its success. It is ultimately up to the viewer to decide whether or not they find the video engaging enough to watch from beginning to end. Leading companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google have produced explainer videos ranging from 5 to 10 minutes. However, they still receive millions and billions of views.

People will not only watch your videos but also keep coming back for more. So, the real question is not how long your explainer video should be but how compelling your product is. If you can create excitement around your product and keep your audience engaged, you can opt for longer explainer videos.

Here's How To Choose The Appropriate Length For Your Explainer Video:

The Reality of Explainer Video Length: Boring Content is a Turn-Off No Matter the Duration”

To ensure the success of your explainer video, it is crucial to strike a balance between the value you provide and the video’s length. A general rule of thumb is to aim for 1-2 minutes, considering the audience’s attention span and retention rates.

However, if your product is particularly intriguing and you feel confident that your audience will enjoy watching a long video, you can shoot for a longer duration, up to 5-10 minutes. It is also imperative to keep in mind the platform where your video will be displayed, as some channels may require shorter videos for optimal results. Be sure to align your video’s length with the requirements of the platform you choose.

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