August 25, 2010

The Right Length For Your Online Video

“How long should my video be?” It is one of the first questions that come up when we meet with clients who want to add video to their websites and social media sites. There is no stock answer. It depends on the details of your story and what you are looking to accomplish with your video.

There are some parameters to keep in mind. A typical TV commercial is 30 seconds. A radio spot runs 60 seconds. The average story by a reporter on a TV newscast is 90 seconds. But online, the average visitor spends only 15 seconds on a website. The content must be compelling if you want to capture the attention of your visitors.

Many of our clients start with the idea of including as much as possible in their video. They view it as a one shot opportunity to tell potential customers everything they can. Problem is by the time they list all of the things they would like to see, we’re quickly on our way to an epic “War and Peace-like” production for the computer screen.

There are plenty of good purposes for a long-form video production. Putting it on your website is not one of them. The key to using online video effectively is to create a short and powerful story. The goal of a well produced online video should be to leave the viewer with a favorable impression that makes them want to contact you. Our mission at Point Across Media is to tell stories in a 1 to 3 minute timeframe. It is a skill developed from years of working in television news.

More and more companies are recognizing the need to take advantage of the Web as a place to share their message through video. Cisco estimates that video will represent 90 percent of all consumer internet protocol traffic by 2013. Once you’ve decided to use video, telling the right story in the right amount of time is key to making it work for you.

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