Tim Lorang Blog

How long can an online video be?

Posted by Timothy Lorang on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Clock closeupIn my last blog we discussed the optimal online video length. The conclusion was it just depends. You need to effectively tell your story or give your message and don’t go any longer than that and I outlined some techniques for editing your videos. But there are some constraints for how long an online video can be. Here are some general guidelines.

Time constraints

  • Platform restrictions: YouTube and other free video platforms usually have a 15 minute time length on its videos. It is possible to pay for a video platform or stream the video from your own servers to increase the time length.
  • Lectures and interviews: Many recorded lectures are aimed at high school and college level audiences and are often used by instructors and teachers in class. Most high school and college classes are between 50 and 55 minutes long. Give the teacher a chance to at least take roll and keep the lectures between 40 and 50 minutes.
  • On-line ads: The ads that run before premium content, such as online TV shows and news stories, needs to be long enough to give its message but not so long that the viewer turns it off before the end. Usually :10 to :15 seconds at most.
  • How to tape: This really depends on the topic but consider your audience. For example many online how to tapes cover specific tasks the viewer may need help with right away. If I’m editing in Photoshop and I forget how to make a mask I’ll watch the “How to make a mask in Photoshop” video that is 2 minutes long before I watch the one that is 10 minutes long.
  • Training: If the viewer has to master some information to advance in a training course or they need to learn a skill the video should be long enough to cover the subject. But since the viewer has to watch the video do not abuse their time. After all, you want the viewer to recommend the product and training to others.
  • Persuasion and Call-to-Action: In this type of video you are trying to influence someone, perhaps change their mind or get them to do something. They need to see right away why it will be valuable for them to watch the video. It needs to be compelling and to the point. The shorter the better. If you can do it in two minutes good. If you can do it in one minute even better.

The most important thing is to think about the audience and their circumstances. Do they have to watch the video? Are they in a hurry or are they looking for a diversion? What does it mean to you if they only watch half the video? Will they share the video on Facebook and subject their friends to it? Would you watch the video if you didn’t have to?

If you have questions about online video or if you would like a free evaluation of your online video plan please feel free to contact us.

 Photo Credit: Kaja Kozlowksa


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