Online video marketing: How long should your video be?

How long should a video be for online video marketing? The facts may surprise you!

How long should a video be for online video marketing? The facts may surprise you!

It’s amazing how often people with no experience in a matter will have strong opinions on a topic.

Online video marketing is one of those topics.

Everyone seems to be an expert in how long a video should be – but that opinion is more likely to be based on that particular individual’s attention span, than on any hard evidence.

Me, I like facts… and using facts as a basis for decision making can be a lot more beneficial than listening to someone’s opinion.

Facts on video length for online video marketing

The guys and gals at Wistia, a video marketing platform, have compiled data based on the thousands of videos they host. This covers all different types of videos:



Key learnings about video length for web videos

Here are the key learnings from Wistia’s data – and I’ve added my own pointers to these:

  • Surprisingly few people will watch your video to the end – even if it’s short.
    Cornelia’s takeaway: Don’t get too hung up on the drop-off rate; not everyone is going to be interested in your message. And not everyone is going to be a potential customer.
  • The drop-off is quite steep till the 2 minute mark, then it flattens out.
    Cornelia’s takeaway: Lots of people have low attention spans. In my business, I do best with clients who have reasonable attention spans, so I don’t even bother going after the short-attention-span market. Think: What kind of person are you targeting?
  • The difference in engagement for a 2-3 minute video is about the same as for a 4-5 minute video.
    Cornelia’s takeaway: Don’t get too hung up if your video is 2 minutes or 5 minutes, it really doesn’t matter that much. (And people who say it does matter don’t know what they’re talking about.) The main thing is that your content/script is well-paced and engaging. Videos (just like movies) only drag if the script and plot aren’t paced very well.
  • 20-30% of people will watch a long video of 3- to 60+ minutes
    Cornelia’s takeaway: People do watch long videos – if the content is interesting to them!
  • The drop-off rate for 45-60 minute videos is about the same as videos of over an hour in duration.
    Cornelia’s takeaway: Again, people do watch long videos – your job is to ensure that the content is interesting and presented at an appropriate pace.


The data above is helpful to some extent when planning a video. But the main thing is that the script is paced in such a way to keep people engaged.

That means that the web video shouldn’t be slow and drag… or people will yawn and start looking at the time – and closing their browser.

Similarly, don’t try and go to fast to ‘lose’ your viewers. If they can’t keep up with what you’re saying, they’ll give up and look elsewhere.

Above all, your video should geared to achieving a specific strategy, so you can measure your performance. You can read about some of the different video marketing strategies here.