Nine in 10 consumers want brands to publish more video content, and with the vast number of social platforms and other channels available to distribute high-quality clips, the medium is one of the most versatile and valuable options for marketers.
Video consumption soaring is not a new phenomenon – between 2013 and 2018, online consumption rose by 32% annually – but it is something that will continue for a while yet.
2020 has only seen that trend strengthen further, with stay-at-home measures caused by the global pandemic driving an 11% uptick in video completion rates between April and July this year.
Even if you have a compelling blog site or news feed, video can give your output an extra edge. It doesn’t have to be a prestige production either. On the contrary, consumers place “high production quality” tenth in a list of the reasons why they regularly watch video.
The fact that the average global viewer is now getting through nearly seven hours of video every week suggests that authentic content that entertains and informs can be a game changer for brands. The thirst for video appears to be unquenchable, for now at least.
If you are new to video creation or want to update your current strategies, there are best practices and target video lengths you can adhere to if you want to get the most out of this medium.
Accessible, concise and social
Video allows you to explore something you are passionate about in depth, but for your first foray, it may be best to use shorter runtimes. Keeping your content succinct and concise will help you to get your message across more effectively on platforms where attention spans are usually low.
While YouTube may be great for a deep dive, Twitter and Instagram are better suited to videos that grab a user’s attention and subsequently drive likes and shares, and increase followers.
Your videos should also be accessible, which means providing captions or enabling the auto-captioning feature so that you can engage with people who may not have sound on.
Finally, each video should be optimised for a specific social channel. Merely cross-posting content without adding, for example, relevant hashtags is not advisable.
If you need help in this department, partnering with an agency that specialises in social media management may be the best course of action. You could also get assistance with your creative efforts.
YouTube is the market leader for video content consumption, according to Google’s own internal data, even surpassing subscription video on demand platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
The study found that 78% of respondents had viewed YouTube during the previous 24 hours, which was way ahead of Facebook (43%), Instagram (33%) and Snapchat (12%).
For start-ups and well-established companies alike, YouTube should be a cornerstone of video content strategies. It is an affordable platform that enables you to reach a wide audience with targeted clips that help you to achieve core marketing objectives.
Video length best practices can vary on YouTube as there is such a vast scope for creation that a two-hour in-depth vlog can be just as engaging for the right audience as a short five-minute tutorial. The platform allows for a maximum 12-hour runtime, which is the longest available on any social networks.
While super-short videos at around two or three minutes are unlikely to resonate with a wider audience, clips that come in at around 10 minutes have been particularly popular during the last 12 months or so.
Running times for YouTube should be dictated by what your viewers actually want. Like other forms of content, you need to address their needs and provide value.
If you are thinking about covering a topic on YouTube, take a look at some of the videos that feature at the top of rankings when entering a query.
Searching for ‘playstation games’, for example, throws up a number of top 10, top 20 and top 100 video titles. This is an indication that these video formats will give you a better chance of featuring higher in rankings.
While other platforms are not purely video-focused like YouTube, you will still get a lot of mileage out of a well-executed video campaign. Facebook is a popular channel for video marketers and it offers the ability to host live streams, which is suited to webinars and conferences in the absence of traditional, in-person events.
Facebook is a social media platform first and foremost though, and this means that shorter video usually works best. Facebook recently revealed that completion rates for videos that run for just 15 seconds are very high, so this could be a useful option if you want to target short, bite-sized content.
A study by Socialinsider offers a different perspective after finding that videos between two and five minutes lead to higher levels of engagement.
Facebook-owned Instagram shares some of the same formats such as Stories, which as the name suggests is perfect for storytelling-based content. Instagram was built around images and photos, so you may find this platform better depending on your business and industry.
For any feed videos, the sweet spot on Instagram is 26 seconds, but there are different maximum runtimes for each format, so it is a good idea to experiment to see what works for you. IGTV, for example, can host videos that run for 60 minutes.
Twitter is arguably the most accessible video platform for newcomers to the medium as short clips can be posted alongside traditional tweets. There is a maximum length of 140 seconds on this platform, but shorter is better here. A tweet with an engaging video can deliver a 10 times uptick in engagement, compared to just a written tweet, according to internal data.
LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat are three more platforms you can explore for video content distribution. LinkedIn is especially useful if you interact with B2B clients, but they all have their potential upsides.
Whether you want to publish product videos, teaser clips, news reels, live streams or comprehensive reviews and analysis, video can support your written content output and help you to engage customers wherever they are in the sales cycle.