Most first-time clients spend a lot of time pondering the proper length of their video. I have a standard response… Before I reveal it, however, I’d like you to open a new tab in your browser. Go to YouTube, and watch any five random videos. Note the time stamp when you begin to lose interest.

If it’s somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00, you’re not alone.

A new trend in video isn’t waiting to test my theory. They’re not going to give you 1:30 – or even :30 seconds to state your case. Today, popular videos give you :20 or less!

Instagram’s :15 videos have charmed all of us – with short fits of baby laughter, a cute dog doing a cute trick or a :15 political statement designed to shock the world with TRUTH… (ok, maybe not truth – but certainly an opinion).

Companies are capitalizing on the “shorter is better” craze. Take, for example, Lowe’s popular “Fix in Six” videos. The six-second shorts run sans narration. They give just enough information to demonstrate a single tip – like how to remove water spots with lemons… How to disguise AAA batteries as AA batteries and even prevent your hardwood floors from squeaking. I find them pretty clever – and will watch several at a sitting (I might even watch fifteen of them… That’s a lot of tips jammed into a minute and a half!)

News is also getting in on the action. The BBC offers fifteen-second news clips – designed to give you a quick blast of information on your mobile device. It’s surely better to watch these than read the tabloid headlines that line the grocery check-out line. Here’s an example, where a reporter gives a quick definition of Fracking.

With mobility on the rise, it’s easy to see why shorter messages gain popularity. Where fifteen seconds won’t always get the job done, I find it refreshing to boil content down to a basic thesis statement.

Will these “shorties” work for every video need? Of course not – but as you plan your next project, ask yourself, “What am I trying to convey?” If it’s a single idea, consider creating a short video – particularly if you’re demonstrating a very simple concept with an “A-Ha!” moment. You’ll be sure to keep your mobile user’s attention and keep them coming back for more!


Kelly Planer (Alumni)

About Kelly Planer (Alumni)

Kelly Planer served as the Video Services Manager at Liquid Interactive. For almost two decades, Kelly has written, directed and produced across all media touch points: thirty-second commercials, long form documentaries, social media, blogs, training programs, live broadcasts and web.