What's the Optimum Length for Your Video?

What's the Optimum Length for Your Video?

What's the Optimum Length for Your Video?
3 min read
Georgina Wilson
Georgina Wilson 31 May 2016

When it comes to online video for your business, one of the key questions that frequently pops up; how long should it be? More often than not we hear “the shorter the better”, but in reality, when it comes to your video marketing strategy, there is no one-size-fits-all rule.

In the 1960s, the standard length for TV advertisements was 60 seconds. 30 second and 15 second slots were then introduced to allow smaller companies to get a slice of the television advertising pie. This meant that advertisers were basing the length of their commercials on what slot they could afford, rather than what was most effective.

Fast forward to 2016 and it’s clear the video advertising game has changed significantly. Marketers and advertisers are no longer confined to the limitations and hefty price tags associated with television advertising, thanks to the huge boost in popularity of online video.

From hosting video on your website to updating your YouTube Channel or launching sponsored videos on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Video marketers now have what seems like limitless options when it comes to advertising products and services online.

However, with multiple platforms also comes a variety of lengths. Read on to find out the optimum length for your online video - on whatever platform you decide to advertise!


With over 1.65 billion active users, Facebook could be considered THE go-to platform for video advertising. Since launching its video auto-play feature two years ago, Facebook has essentially removed the barrier of whether your target audience presses play or not, allowing the first 15 seconds of your video play automatically without audio in users newsfeeds. What does this mean? Rather than just an interesting caption or video thumbnail, you can grab your audience's’ attention with a video that is powerful from start to finish.

Facebook allows for up to 60 minutes of video, with a max file size of 2.3 GB. When it comes to the best length, evidence shows the shorter, the better. Although the average length of videos on Facebook tends to be around 44 seconds, videos that are 21 seconds or less are more likely to be watched right to the end.


Following a recent decline in overall users, Twitter is pushing out all the stops to ramp up video advertising investment on the social media platform. This is no surprise considering that video ad spend in the U.S. is set to grow by almost 30% this year.

Like Facebook you can promote video on Twitter in two ways. The first, a ‘sponsored post’ in which you embed your video in a tweet, and promote that tweet. The latest means of video advertising on Twitter comes in the form of its ‘Promoted Video’ which allows businesses to upload the video directly to Twitter and target users using specific keywords. The only catch is - Promoted Video is only available to Twitter Partners right now.

If you do end up using Twitter to promote your video content, through a sponsored post or otherwise, the optimum length is similar to that of Facebook (between 30 and 90 seconds). And remember, Twitter is largely used on mobile devices - so the shorter the better!


Up until early 2016, Instagram had capped both user and advertiser video lengths at 15 seconds. In February, the photo and video-sharing app upped this limit by offering advertisers longer video option of 1 minute, which has now also been extended to general users. So although you don’t have the option to make your video too long, due to the 60 second limit, keeping it short is also recommended as like Twitter, Instagram is mostly accessed via mobile.

Do ensure that you capture your target audience with visuals in the first seconds, as Instagram videos play automatically without sounds.


Google gives you two options when it comes to TrueView advertising on YouTube; ‘In-Display Ads’ and ‘In-Stream’ ads. And because TrueView advertising is created by uploading your YouTube video to your Adwords account, you are guaranteed to be targeting the right audience.

Google currently have no length or file-size limit, and although this gives you free reign when it comes to advertising on YouTube, it also can leave you stumped on what length is the best…

Google recommends making your video ad a minimum of 12 seconds, while also not to exceed 3 mins. With these recommendations in mind, why not try a variation of lengths? Try a full 2 minute ad and a 30 second teaser and see which one performs better in analytics!


With the sheer amount of online video advertising options available today now is as good a time as any to get started on your video marketing strategy - if you haven’t already! Just remember; with different platforms come different lengths, so bear this in mind and optimise your video accordingly. 

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