The Ideal Explainer Video Length For Amazing Results

Koushik Marka
December 30, 2019

I’m going to start this article with a fact you’re most likely aware of. The attention span of human beings currently stands at 8 seconds, lesser than that of a goldfish.

With videos becoming increasingly popular in marketing strategies, there are two major challenges that every business faces. You not only need to try and retain your viewer’s video attention span, but also effectively prompt them to take a desired action by the end of the video.

Brands from all over the world use different types of videos to engage with their audiences better. But there’s one type of video content that’s become the foundation for most video marketing strategies - Explainer Videos

Now even though explainer videos are used by so many businesses, I still find people asking the question - How long should an explainer video be?

It’s an important question. And it’s the very same question that I’m going to put to rest in this article.

What is the ideal explainer video length?

After creating over 350+ explainer videos, we’ve come to learn a thing or two. Before we get into the gritty details, here is the short answer:

The ideal length for an explainer video is 60 to 90 seconds. That is the Goldilocks zone of video content. 

Let’s define an explainer video first to understand why.

What is an explainer video?

An explainer video is a small, bite-sized video that simplifies and explains your brand, product or message to the audience in a fun, engaging way.

The keywords to remember here are: bite-sized, simplify and engage.

Now while it’s obvious that a long video makes breaking down a message easier, they’re horrible when it comes to engagement. Longer videos demand longer periods of concentration from the viewers.

And that’s exactly the opposite of making things easier.

Thanks to a study by Wistia, we now know with certainty that most viewers stay for the first two minutes of a video. Once the video crosses the 2-minute mark, viewers begin to exit gradually. This dramatic drop in viewership means you’re not only wasting good content, but time and resources too.

Average engagement rate vs video length wistia

The best way to encourage more viewers to watch through your explainer video content is by showing them that it won’t take too long. 60 to 90 seconds is the optimal video length for this.

Now you might be wondering, “How in the world do I explain everything in under 2 minutes?”

Well, that’s where your creative genius needs to come into play. The idea here is to make a video that is neither too short to miss out on important information nor too long to bore the audience.

You’ll need to find a way to weave your message into this time frame, without losing any of its substance, and that requires a balance of content and time.

How to decide the best length for an explainer video?

The difficulty here is reality. There may come a situation where you will need a longer video to include your key pieces of information. Or you have content that will only work effectively if it’s a short video.

It all comes down to 4 key questions that need to be considered when deciding your explainer video duration.

What is the purpose of your explainer video?

By purpose, I mean your marketing objective. This objective depends on which stage of the sales funnel or buyer’s journey your video is aimed at. 

For instance, if your video is aimed at customers in the Awareness Stage, your objective must be educating them at the top level and making people aware that your product offers a solution. In this case, the recommended video duration is no longer than 30 seconds.

However, if the customer is in the Decision Stage, your objective should be to inform the buyer about what makes your product unique. What differentiates you from your competitors in the market. The ideal length here is 90 to 120 seconds. 

Your video duration can afford to be flexible depending on your marketing objective. If your video absolutely needs to be longer, try keeping it under 3 minutes.

What are you explaining?

This comes down to the amount of information you want to include in the video depending on the complexity of the product itself.

There may come an instance where your product has valuable features that are all too important to rush through in 90 seconds. This will require your video to be a little longer if the information is to be conveyed with effect. You can be flexible with your duration here as long as you make sure it doesn’t cross the 3-minute mark. 

Who is the target audience?

Let’s be realistic here. No matter how hard you try, you cannot expect to target everyone with just one video. 

You need to be more specific as to who you’re targeting. Studying the demographics and psychographics of your target audience will allow you to create more focussed campaigns that meet their needs.

Your video must be molded to match the interests of your target audience. Segregate your audience based on any specific trait (age, gender, income, the language they speak, occupation, etc.) and create content that revolves around their activities and needs.

For instance, someone who’s watching a video for a product that isn’t necessarily going to make a huge difference in their life might not be willing to watch a 2-minute video, in which case a 30 second explainer video will work best. 

On the other hand, a CEO who is looking for a software product might be interested in a 2-minute explainer video.

Understanding your demographics will give you a clear idea as to how long your explainer must be.

Where is the explainer video going to be used?

This is another key factor - where you plan to use your explainer video.

If it’s on the top of your homepage, it’s some serious real estate to the video. Your homepage exists to give the big picture of your offerings, so your video must represent this. Keep your explainer video below 90 seconds. 

If you’re putting your video on a landing page, keep your explainer video below 60 seconds. Because landing pages are action-oriented, it doesn’t help to make longer videos that will distract people from their intent of being on the page.

If you’re adding your explainer video to your product’s Google Playstore or Apple AppStore, try to keep it short. A 30 to 60 second video will work great.

If what you’re making is a video tutorial of your product/service, they’ll have a longer shelf-life. This video can live on a more specific page such as your YouTube channel or a product page, where you have users watching longer videos without the risk of them losing interest. The audience here tends to be more captive, so you can afford to create an explainer video that runs for even longer than 3 minutes.

Video Length Best Practices:

Before I let you get started on your explainer video, here are some final video length guidelines to follow:

  • Your audience decides if your video is worth their time by watching the first 10 seconds. Make the first 10 seconds of your video unforgettable, and they’ll stay for sure!
  • Your video is not supposed to do everything, that’s why you have a website, so don’t stuff it with more information than your viewers can process. Focus on the 3 main points you wish to highlight and stick to them.
  • In order to create content around a time-frame, your explainer video script must follow the same too. What should be the ideal word length for an explainer video? Well, 150 words translate to a 1-minute video. That said, an average of 225 words is the ideal word length for a 90 second explainer video.
  • If your video is longer than 3 minutes, consider chopping it into smaller pieces that can be later tied to form a playlist. This way, you have multiple bite-sized video content to cover the whole topic.
  • Keep the video short, simple and fun.
  • Have a strong and authoritative Call to Action - something your viewers can’t ignore.

...And we’re done!

Remember that the 60 to 90 second mark is only a guideline. It is not a set time-frame. Depending on all the factors to be considered, you’ll need to be flexible with the duration. At the end of the day, your explainer video should serve its purpose effectively.

A great explainer video tells a compelling story that’s catered to its audience and marketing objectives. Keeping these factors in mind can easily help you determine the perfect length for your explainer video.

And to put it as plain as I can, that’s it for this article. I hope this has helped you in the explainer video journey.

Creating an animated explainer video can be challenging. If you’re looking for an explainer video that truly compels your viewers into action, don’t hesitate to reach out to us - this is what we live for. Our portfolio is just a click away.

Koushik Marka

Founder @ Studiotale. He is passionate about helping brands grow with video and has expertise in video marketing & 2D animation. When he is not working, he loves playing video games and traveling.


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