Want to make it big on social media? Then, you should create lots of great video content. But did you know that every social platform has its own “rules” when it comes to, for example, video length?
Yes, because specific video durations on certain channels have the potential to boost your engagement rates. Are you keen to learn more about the ideal video length for social media? Our complete guide right here has all the answers.
Eye-Opening Video Statistics
Before we jump into the topic, let’s take a look at some interesting stats. According to research from Oberlo, videos can get businesses 66% more qualified leads every year. Videos can also increase brand awareness by 54%, and they can generate new customers in 93% of cases.
Statista, on the other hand, revealed that global video users will reach 3.5 billion by 2023. In terms of social media, YouTube was found to be the most popular video sharing platform for marketers. 89% of them, in fact, used it to create video content in 2021.
Around 70% of marketers use Facebook for their video content, which is particularly popular for its Live Video feature. Now that you know a bit more about the incredible potential of video, let’s talk about how you can create the best videos for your audience. This, of course, includes nailing the ideal video length for social media.
Best Practices for Social Media Videos
1. Offer Only Hi-Res Content
Social media users, these days, expect nothing less than exceptional video content. For this reason, you’ll want to shoot videos that aren’t just fun and informative, but also look professional.
Instagram even went as far as announcing that it would bump low-res, fuzzy videos to the bottom of users’ feeds! There are many ways in which you can make sure that your videos are as sharp as they can be, including:
- Shooting with professional equipment
- Using good-quality editing software
- Keeping your video equipment clean
- Use proper lighting and good acoustics
2. Get Your Audience’s Attention Right Away
Do you know what they say about today’s online user’s attention span? It’s worse than that of a goldfish. Yes, according to research, our average attention span is of around eight seconds – and is expected to keep dropping.
This means that you must use those first few seconds as wisely as possible, so video length for social media is key. Make sure that the opening of your video is catchy, stimulating, and enticing. Tease your topic and convey its value, but do not give away too much.
Also, make sure that you speak using the same tone and style that your target audience identifies with.
3. Put Yourself Out There
A video is a great way to show your face. This demonstrates to your audience that there is an actual human behind the brand that they know and love. By doing so, you can build a more authentic emotional connection with your viewers, which translates into higher engagement rates.
When you show up, you also demonstrate that using your products or services helps real people improve their lives. The bottom line? They will feel encouraged to do the same.
4. Think “Mobile-First”
As most online users access the web via mobile devices, your videos need to be ready to support these tools. So, make sure that your video is mobile-responsive, and that the video length is appropriate for viewing on the go. Your videos should be easily downloaded, enjoyed, and shared from any mobile device, at the touch of a button.
5. Keep It Simple and to the Point
As we are about to find out, videos should have a different length depending on the social media platform that you use. Having said that, it’s also true that, in general, social media videos should never be very long.
Social media users tend to be short on time (and patience), which makes simple, catchy, and to-the-point videos a no-brainer. The best thing is that, with a bit of creativity, even the shortest video can generate a tonne of great results.
Another benefit of keeping your videos short and sweet? They will entice your audience to take action much faster. Driven by the momentum that your quick video has generated, viewers will go on to browse your website. Ultimately, they will feel compelled to check out your offering, and often buy from you.
Video Length and Engagement Rates
Every social media network is its own separate universe. Therefore, you need to be aware that video length for social media should respect specific parameters if you want to be successful. What becomes viral on, say, TikTok, will almost certainly not have the same traction in a place like LinkedIn.
The topic of your video is another essential factor to keep in mind, as is your target audience. For example, consider a video that illustrates how CRM software works, and another one that sponsors a healthy drink. Their target audience is completely different, which means the former will likely be longer than the latter.
Now, let’s reveal what the perfect video lengths are on each of the main social media platforms. This will help you get as many views as possible wherever your brand is active.
Best Facebook Video Length
- Max video length: 240 minutes
- Best video length: 60 seconds or less
Right now, Facebook lets users upload videos of up to 240 minutes. That’s a jaw-dropping 4 hours of footage, and you are very unlikely to ever create anything that long. If you aspire to create viral videos, you should opt for videos that are less than 60 seconds.
Best Instagram Video Length
From its origins as a purely photo-sharing app to the queen of video content, Instagram’s journey was – and continues to be – very successful. Within this platform, there are 3 main types of videos, each one with its own best practices to follow.
- Max video length: 15 minutes
- Best video length: 60 seconds or less
The optimal video length is 60 seconds. If your video is longer, users have the option to click on it to watch the rest of it. In any case, your video should not be longer than 15 minutes. This changes slightly if you have a verified account. In this case, your videos can last even up to an hour.
- Max video length: 15 seconds (1-7 slides)
- Best video length: 15 seconds or less
These perform best if they are no longer than 15 seconds. Making sure that your Stories hit the mark is fundamental. Why? Because they can account for over 72% of the app’s total ad reach.
Meaning? If you want to keep your followers active and engaged, Stories are the way to go. But what if you need more than 15 seconds to communicate your message? You can continue for up to 7 slides and still maintain high engagement. The best option, though, is to try and keep it to 3-4 slides, if you can.
- Max video length: 60 seconds
- Best video length: 15 seconds
These are Instagram’s ways to counteract the growing popularity of TikTok – and they are kind of managing it. Reels are literally made for viral videos, and should therefore be super-quick. Even before you start filming your content, Instagram lets you manually select a runtime.
The current options are 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds. You might be tempted to opt for a longer duration, but be advised that most videos hit users’ sweet spots in the first few seconds.
It’s also worth mentioning that Instagram is now part of the Meta universe. This means that videos posted on Instagram can be automatically (or manually) cross-posted on Facebook, too.
Best TikTok Video Length
- Max video length: 10 minutes
- Best video length: 7-15 seconds
Arguably THE social media platform for videos, TikTok exploded at the beginning of the pandemic and is showing no signs of slowing down. TikTok’s videos are fast and furious, have a heavy viral-driven vibe, and are mostly aimed at younger generations of viewers.
Therefore, the names of the game here are quick, punchy, and entertaining. And while the platform has recently expanded its maximum video length from three minutes to ten minutes, don’t let this fool you. Uber-snappy clips are still the winning ones.
How long are we talking, then? Anything around 15 seconds works great, unless you want to try your hand at TikTok’s 7-second challenge? That could be a really interesting one!
Best Twitter Video Length
- Max video length: 140 seconds
- Best video length: 40-45 seconds
Since its inception, Twitter was famous for having very strict rules around the maximum character count allowed in its tweets. Up until 2017, one single tweet could have only up to 140 characters, and this is still the maximum length of Twitter videos: 140 seconds.
Despite the app doubling its character allowance in 2018, this doesn’t seem to apply to its videos – or not yet, at least. 140 seconds, though, is not too bad, as it equals two minutes and 20 seconds. And if you can sum up your messaging well, that is certainly plenty of time to capture your viewers’ attention.
However, most successful videos on Twitter seem to run for around 40-45 seconds. This video length gives you just enough time to spark your audience’s interest without ending up being too overwhelming.
Best LinkedIn Video Length
- Max video length: 10 minutes (native) & 30 minutes (video ads)
- Best video length: 30 seconds or less
LinkedIn is the most business-oriented of all the main social media platforms out there. Meaning? It makes sense that LinkedIn videos might be a bit longer than, for example, videos on TikTok.
How much longer, you might be wondering?
The ideal video length is up to 10 minutes for native videos, and even up to 30 minutes for video ads. Once again, though, this doesn’t mean that you should upload uber-long videos. This, in fact, might end up having the opposite effect to the one you are looking for.
Even on LinkedIn, shorter is better in most cases. The platform has, in fact, determined that the most engaging videos are those of 30 seconds or less. These can lead up to 200% more viewers to watch the whole video instead of closing it and moving on to the next thing.
Unless you have a very interesting, very complicated story to tell on LinkedIn, then, remember to try and keep it snappy.
Best YouTube Video Length
- Max video length: 12 hours
- Best video length: 2 minutes or less
We couldn’t write a list of social media videos without including the king of digital streaming: YouTube. While the social aspect of this platform is perhaps less obvious compared to, for example, Instagram and Facebook, its video content is incredibly powerful.
On YouTube, you can find videos of literally any length. For example, consider that verified accounts can upload clips of up to 12 hours, or even longer! The ideal video length on YouTube, then, has more to do with your goal, topic, and audience than with the platform itself.
If you want to become viral, then short is best – aim for a maximum of 2 minutes. But what if you want to monetize your account with an ad? In this case, you should create longer content – at minimum, the platform requires videos of 10 minutes.
Best Video Length For Social Media – The Takeaway
In short, creating exciting videos to post and share on social media to become popular is only one side of the story. Another essential thing to keep in mind, in fact, is to nail the right video length on the right platform.
As we saw in our guide to the ideal video length for social media, each of the main social media networks has its own best practices when it comes to video duration.
From ultra-snappy clips on TikTok to potentially mega-long vlogs on YouTube, the choice for your video length depends on where your video will be uploaded, as well as its topic, goal, and target audience.