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The short answer is ‘long enough, but not too long’. It’s incredibly difficult to gain and keep peoples attention online, and this is especially hard when you are trying to get them to watch something that they don’t necessarily want to watch, for example an advert or a product video. There is a reason most TV ads are short, it’s not because companies can’t afford to make longer ones, it’s because the audience will switch off and become disengaged if the message isn’t clear and succinct. The success of Twitter shows that brevity is beautiful, and the same theory applies to video.
We recommend the optimum time for a promotional video is around 60 seconds, this chunk of time that allows you to get across your message clearly, whilst still being brief enough to hold the attention of the audience for the duration of the video. A common mistake people make is to try and cram too much into one video, explaining several products, services and offers one after the other over several minutes. The overal effect is a confused message, and the viewer will most likely either turn off, lose interest, or forget the content of the video soon after watching it. There is an emerging trend now for even shorter videos, to appeal to a generation of people overloaded by videos on YouTube, Vimeo etc. Tout limits uploads to 15 seconds, and the new Vine app only shoots 6 second videos! The constraint of these time limits is inspiring people to come up with even more original ways of engaging audiences.
Successful marketing is all about the power of reduction, strip off all the excess material until you are left with a clear, undiluted message. In other words – write less, say more.