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 vine.com-sized 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!

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Kelly Planer

About Kelly Planer

Kelly Planer is the Video Services Manager at Liquid. 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. She particularly enjoys persuasive, emotionally-charged  projects that influences positive behavioral change. Her skills have been recognized with several Telly Awards, a PA Broadcasters’ Award, and three Mid-Atlantic Emmy nominations.

Published Jan 21, 2014