“How long is my video suppose to be?” If I can get a penny for every time I hear customers ask that question, I think I would be banking the benjamins. I have to admit that I didn’t know the answer to this question. But, after certain period of research, I have come to the answer that may be a shocker to some.

The art of video making (filmmaking) takes talent indeed. But today’s social media board has gotten viewers less interested in the gimmicks of artistry and more focused on content. Content is indeed, King! And storytelling, in my humble opinion, is becoming the Queen of Hearts.

On average, the video length most watched by many has totaled to 4.11 mins. But when you are planning to use Facebook and/or YouTube to figure your video, you would probably need to ask yourself if using a 4.11 mins is enough or not. When conducting a study, Facebook did prove that the shorter the videos, the more engagement they received. In fact, keeping your video at 1.5 mins long will increase the likelihood that your video will get viewed. With YouTube, however, the longer the video, 15 minutes on average, the more views you will have. The rate of engagement for both Facebook and YouTube at 1.5 mins vs. 15 mins turns out to be the same.

The reason why they are so drastically different in time is due to each social network’s purpose for content. Facebook prefers people to linger over the newsfeed longer by moving from two posts quickly, rather than slowly. Their source of media is not only video, but statuses, photos, memes, blogposts and more. YouTube on the other hand only uses videos to get your message across.

YouTube creators want you to stay tuned in to their channel for a very long period of time, not just to get more views, but to engage more in comments with others. People turn into YouTube for two main reasons, humor and “how to” videos.

In all of this information and using my personal experience, the length of time for a video will come down to these 5 factors:

  1. How relevant is your video’s content for your viewers?
  2. How engaging are you making your content for your viewers?
  3. Which social media site do you plan on using?
  4. How willing are you to create this content for them?
  5. Who are your viewers?


85% of people are on the internet googling for valuable content. With relevance, think about what your viewers are searching for. What are the keywords they use to google the content they need, that you surely have for them? Consider spending enough time learning their language.


In addition to relevance, is your content engaging enough for your viewers to want to stick around to the end? In other words, are you answering their frequently asked questions about your industry? If you don’t know that answer, find it! Believe me, you will gain so much from that.


Remember, Facebook prefers up to 1.5-min videos. YouTube wants you to engage with your viewers and teach them something either using humor or a sequence of “how to”, relevant content. 15-mins of that will certainly do. Instagram likes it short 15-secs tops. SnapChat, 5-secs.


Are you up for the challenge? Determining the right content for your audience adheres to time and effort. If the first round of content doesn’t work, then try, try again. The best way to avoid much trial and error is by simply asking your viewers what they want to hear about your industry. Let me encourage you to endure to the end.


Having the right viewers with the right content will help you determine how long your video should be. They are the ones you will need to listen to when making suggestions about the length of your content. Some people would be willing to sit through a 1-hour course just to get the right information they need. In the long run, that 1-hour course can engage thousands of views; thus bringing you lots of traffic into your website. And lots of traffic can produce larger charitable contributions.


Instead of asking the experts on how long should your video be, try asking your audience what they want and how long would they be willing to watch you explain the answer. Get to know your audience. When uploading your video on social media, understand that not all social networks work the same. Finally, learn to be engaging and relevant. What you may think it’s good and value, may be dull, and boring for your viewers. Again, know your audience!

Now, let us hear from you. Can you name an ad that immediately caught your attention because what they were advertising you felt was talking to you directly? We would love to hear your story.Please, share this post with your non-profit friends, who could use these tools to improve on storytelling using videos. Continue to stand up for your cause, because only you can inspire change in your community.

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1 Comment

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  1. Mauricio Belgrano 4 years ago

    Thanks so much for what you do, Steve!

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