Online Video: The 2 Minute Myth

There are a lot of myths surrounding online video. But the most insidious seems to be the assumption that no one will watch more than 2 minutes.  
 
Is two minutes the ideal length for an online video? The data doesn’t say so. Here are a few threads.
 
– Friends of mine had a 25mm HH on demand advertising network, which aired 1/2 hour infomercials. Average viewing was 8 to 12 minutes.
– Recent surveys show that younger viewers are habituated to watching online video for long times (10 minutes and up).
– We have a pair of video’s online where the longer one (8 min) gets 5 to 6 times the views of the shorter (2.5 min).
 
In truth, there is no “ideal length”. Communication depends on what you’re saying. Savvy video teams can recognize whether what they have to say needs 2 minutes, 10 minutes, or half an hour.
 
When you need longer video, in the first 15 seconds you must demonstrate that the video will be worth watching. So don’t make a common corporate video error by dedicating those opening 15 seconds to meaningless eye candy or a long loving animated logo.
 
Then, pay critical attention to the written words that attract viewers to view the video. These words are critical to getting them to watch. Unfortunately, too many videos are posted with the idea that merely posting a video is enough. It isn’t. Your words should give people a reason to watch and a reason to stay tuned.

Finally consider whether the video should be put on a single page, but in several sections. Sometimes this gives people direct access to the video that’s most interesting to them. But when they need to see a complete “case” for the product or service, this will backfire.
 
The good news is that when needed, longer video makes profit. Ogilvy’s comments on print ads are useful here. Paraphrasing, he observed that not everybody’s going to read the words in an ad. But the people who do are your most valuable customers.
 
It’s the same with video. Not everyone will watch your video. Not everyone will watch all of it. But the people who do watch are your most valuable customers.
 
So don’t arbitrarily cut videos to 2 minutes. If your video is longer, the viewer can choose how long to watch. If your video is too short, they have no choice.

Copyright 2010 – Doug Garnett

About Doug Garnett
Growing retail based businesses through television, DRTV, and all forms of video. Doug is a strategist, executive producer, director, author, & teacher.

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