How long should an explainer video be? There’s no one singular answer but here’s a guide to getting it about right.
If you’re looking for a 30 second spot, then you need to think about your video as a TV ad. You really need to focus on one or two key things and make sure people know how take action if they’re interested. There’ll be no room for lists of features or long winded sentences. 30 seconds isn’t a great deal of time and I honestly don’t believe that you can call a 30 second video an ‘explainer video’. If there’s something worth explaining or complicated enough to need an explanation, it will probably take a bit more than 30 seconds to do so. You can, however, create interest in 30 seconds by delivering a hype video, something absurd or mysterious to gain attention for something that will come later. We’ve made very few 30 second spots over the years. 60 seconds is usually the shortest duration of an explainer video.
This is a good amount of time to deliver a promotional message or an explanation and not have to worry about people getting disinterested and checking out before the video ends. 60 seconds is perfect for quickly going over simple products/services or covering topics people are reasonably familiar with already.
This is the sweet spot. 90 seconds gives you enough time to cover all you need to without the video feeling rushed and without leaving anything important out. 1.5 minutes gives you time to segment the delivery – elevator pitch, highlight the problem, offer a solution, explain why you should be the one to deliver it and then end with a call to action.
If you really need to include a lot of additional information or you know that your viewers are a demographic that have a higher attention span, then 2 minutes is still a decently short enough video to not really risk losing too many viewers.
3 minutes and above
You’re running a risk with up to 3 minutes and over. When people are browsing the web, their attention span is lowered significantly. There’s far too many other things to do if something seems too long. If you’re distributing a 5 minute video internally within a company or you know that you’re targeting a specific demographic that will already have enough interest in the subject matter to stick around, then great. If you’re expecting your average viewer to stick around more than 90-120 seconds, you’ll end up losing your audience at or just past the half way mark.
If you’re looking for a ‘rule’, there really isn’t one but I can safely say that 90 seconds is by far the best option.