How long should an explainer video be?
Video marketing is everywhere, and you know you should be doing it too.
Video continues to be used by an overwhelming majority of businesses.
But, how long should an explainer video be?
There are so many answers to this seemingly simple question being thrown at you left and right.
You’re also being bombarded with video everywhere too (probably your competitors, right?). Some are gone in a blink of an eye, some are 2-3 minutes long.
We get it. But don’t stress, creating animated explainer videos for businesses is what we live for, so let’s help you demystify this puzzling little riddle.
BUT. Always remember that what’s the right length for one brand, may not be right for another.
The best answer to this question is always going to be; it needs to be long enough to deliver your message in an engaging way.
You need your video to be long enough to include all of the important information about your brand, product, or service; but you also need it to be short enough that viewers don’t get bored and scroll away before seeing your all-important call to action.
Let’s break it down.
What’s the optimum maximum length of an animated explainer video?
Humans are funny.
We have the attention span of a gnat, and that’s putting it politely.
Even though 88% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s videos online, attention spans seem to wane when videos tip over the two-minute mark.
(no matter how sexy it looks and sounds).
So, if you’ve got a product or service that needs explaining and you’re ready to invest in making your audience feel something for your brand.
Then capitalize on those two minutes.
In short, if you’ve got something to say, say it!
Just make it entertaining, educational and emotive.
If someone already started watching your animated explainer video and then notices it is ten minutes long, they’ll probably give a huge sigh and scroll away within the first 30 seconds. (maybe even 5 seconds).
But, if someone knows it will take them two minutes or less, their motivation to watch until the end is much higher.
That’s definitely the goal here!
So while it may be tempting to shove every single little detail about your brand into this video, it’s really the call to action where the magic happens. Let your audience know what to do next.
Think of it as your spellbinding trailer to encourage your customers to go searching for more information.
✦ Ample time to grip your audience and explain your brand, product or service
✦ Opportunity to repurpose this longer video into short snackable clips for social media. (more bang for your buck!)
✦ Versatile content that you can use on the brand’s website, for presentations, conferences and trade shows.
✦ Opportunity to develop a distinctive animation style that fits seamlessly into the brand style.
✦ More investment (Dolla!) is needed for quality production of that length.
✦ Need to have robust brand guidelines in place from the get-go (to make sure you’re producing consistent content that your audience will recognise.
✦ A lot more effort is required up front, but the payoff is a versatile video and the opportunity to repurpose it (more on this later!).
Why a 60-90 second animated explainer video could be the best option
There is a shit-tonne of data to suggest that the best length for an explainer video is around 60-90 seconds.
Mostly, because this length fits in snuggly with all the social media platforms (although those rules tend to change regularly).
And because companies know they need to create 60-90 second explainer videos to prepare, attract, and then send the message.
60-90 second videos give you time to communicate those important points.
Videos less than thirty seconds are basically, “I already know and love you, so let’s skip the intro and just tell me what’s new.”
If you are a new company, one of your main goals is to get the word out. To do this, you need ample time to prime the audience and get/keep their attention.
Youtube, Facebook and Linked in typically allow longer videos, in some cases up to 240 minutes. But that doesn’t mean you should take them up on that.
Remember the attention span struggle?
Though every social media platform has its advantages, the majority of video marketers focus on a small selection.
Being everywhere all at once can be a challenge.
Unsurprisingly, YouTube is the most widely used, with 88% of video marketers factoring it into their marketing campaigns in 2022.
LinkedIn is tied with Instagram for the second most popular spot, with 68% of video marketers using the platform.
Facebook comes next, with 65% of video marketers including it in their campaigns.
The fourth and fifth most popular are TikTok and InstagramTV, used by 33% and 30% of video marketers, respectively.
✦ 60-90 seconds will fit on all social platforms so there’s no need for additional editing.
✦ 60-90 second animated videos have much higher user retention rates than longer videos.
✦ Less of an investment than a longer video.
✦ Less time to convey what you need to.
✦ Less versatility for snackable edits and multiple versions.
✦ Relies on your audience already being familiar with your brand because you have less time to communicate who you are.
30 seconds and under
There is a great deal of noise out there and a lot of those voices are shouting “the shorter the better” and “30 seconds is plenty of time”.
And you know what? 30 seconds can be plenty of time to communicate what you need to with your adoring audience.
But, it’s important to remember who you’re speaking to.
Are they really an already adoring audience?
If you’re regularly churning out quality video content (that’s consistent with your brand) across your platforms and you know that those watching, already know like and trust your brand, then 15-30 seconds can be ample time to introduce that new product, service or announcement.
However, if you’re new to video marketing and animated explainer videos, anything under 60 seconds can be a bit of a squeeze to introduce your brand and make your audience feel something for your story for the first time.
This is where some marketers can go wrong. Ultimately, explainer videos are simply a form of communication.
And if you’re not giving your audience enough time to get to know your values in the first place, the likelihood is they’ll keep scrolling.
It’s the same as it is in everyday life, people will be more willing to listen to what you have to say when they know you or trust you. It’s hard for anyone to hear your first message as a newcomer.
Brands like Coca-Cola, Gousto, Liberty London, and John Lewis don’t need to spend time breaking the ice before explaining new products. They can get away with showing a product for 15-30 seconds and then flashing their very established logo.
✦ Less investment for a shorter video.
✦ Takes less time to produce.
✦ Fits across all platforms.
✦ Only effective if you have an established fan base, and a loyal following and are part of a consistent content campaign.
✦ Less time to introduce your brand values and build brand awareness.
✦ Less versatile and potentially less evergreen (meaning you can probably only use it for a limited time) if it’s only to introduce a quick new product or service.
One More Time, How Long Should My Explainer Video Be?
Ok, we admit it, we’re not perfect. We’ve created animated explainers for brands all over the globe and some are longer than 2 minutes.
But the reality is, sometimes a brand needs longer to communicate what they need to with their audience.
There are so many factors to consider, but ask your creative partners for advice before you dive into creating animated explainer videos for your brand, to route out the best approach.
But, as a guide, if you’re new to video marketing or a relatively unknown company, your explainer video should be right in that 60-second to the two-minute magical spot.
Short enough to battle those waning attention spans but long enough to communicate your message with that all-important call to action.
On the flip side, if you’re an established brand that’s been creating video content for yonks and knows its way around this video marketing multiverse.
And has a trove of raving fans that you know are happy to hear from you, you also have the option of a video of fewer than 30 seconds or more than 2 minutes.
Yep, if you’re audience loves you that much, you can go over 2 minutes when you need to.
Remember though, it’s not only the length that’s important. You can have an explainer video lasting thirty seconds that is the dullest thing that anyone on earth has ever watched, and another that’s 2 minutes long and incredibly enchanting because of how the brand’s story has been told.
Length doesn’t necessarily mean quality, and short and snappy doesn’t mean cheap either.
Ok, so I need to invest in animated explainer videos. How do I get the most out of my budget?
It may seem like a no-brainer, right? Go with a 30-second animated explainer video, for now, see how it performs and then maybe do another.
But, as we’ve already established, unless you’re already a whizz with animated video marketing and consistently creating content for your adoring fans, the reality is, it may not perform as well as you hope.
That sounds great, we hear you say, but getting a bigger budget signed off for a longer video is going to be a challenge.
Especially with no guarantees.
Oh, but there are. For a detailed breakdown of how a HUGE percentage of marketers are using animated explainer videos to increase traffic, and drive sales and growth, head over here.
For now, let’s focus on that longer (2-minute) animated explainer video and how you can actually get more from investing in this upfront than you would by starting with your snackable snippet.
One word. Repurposing.
As we hinted at earlier, longer-form videos can be super versatile and become valuable evergreen content that you can use again and again.
When you focus the message of your video on introducing the brand, the values as well as products and services and a strong call to action, you have a strong piece of content for brand awareness that you can use on your landing page, across Youtube, Linked In, presentations, sales pitches, conferences, events, email newsletters…the list goes on.
If you’re brand values and your offering don’t change, then your explainer video is golden for as long as you’re in business.
Here comes the magic part…
Once you have your animated explainer video, you don’t need to commission a 60-second or a 30-second version.
It’s already there, ready for slicing and dicing.
If your creative partner has done their work correctly (and it’s definitely something you should ask about at the beginning of the process) you’re animated explainer can be sliced and diced into snackable versions.
From your 2-minute animated video, you could repurpose it into…
✦ 2 x 30-second animations: perhaps the first half is introducing the brand and the second is introducing products and services.
✦ 5-10 x 10-second clips: If the scripting has been done thoughtfully beforehand, perhaps each snippet is a key value or benefit.
✦ 4 x 15-second clips: Ideal if the script and animation have been created into 4 separate “chapters” or sections that focus on different points.
✦ Animated logo file: Bonus! You can separate your animated logo from the video and use it at the beginning of presentations, across other video content, or wherever you like. Consistency is key after all.
Getting more bang for your buck has never been easier.
Not only that but any illustrations, icons and artwork created for the animated explainer video can be delivered to you in separate files, for you to use across any print and digital marketing.
Quite simply, approach it properly the first time around and the benefits will be enormous.
Ready to explore animated explainer videos for your brand? We’re here for any questions you might have, summon your own wizard, right here, like magic.
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