How Long Should a Video Be? Video Length Best Practices [2021]

How Long Should a Video Be? Video Length Best Practices [2021]
Masooma Memon

Written by:
Masooma Memon

Feb 11, 2021
An illustration of a video of a woman riding her bike being trimmed.

Wondering what the best video length for your social media videos is in 2021? You’re in the right place. Because in this guide, we’ll dive deep into video length best practices for all important social media platforms including TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and more.

Ready to create videos with optimal lengths for your audience on social media?

Let’s get on with it.


Video Length Best Practices for 2021: Categorized by Social Media Platform

Platform #1: Facebook Video Length

Platform #2: Instagram Video Length

Platform #3: Twitter Video Length

Platform #4: YouTube Video Length

Platform #5: LinkedIn Video Length

Platform #6: Snapchat Video Length

Platform #7: TikTok Video Length

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why You Need to Know Video Length Best Practices

First, let’s get this straight in case you’re having any second thoughts: you need to add video production to your marketing strategy.

Not only because 87% of the marketers are tapping into video as a marketing tool, but because your consumers expect to see more video content from you. In fact, over half, 54% of the consumers to be specific, want to see more videos from businesses.

However, there’s more that goes into video marketing than simply churning out videos after videos.

Here are just three of the most essential aspects of video production:

Tap into different types of video to get your viewer’s attention.

Experiment with tutorials, webinars, video ads,  social media videos, explainer video content as well as promo videos and live streams. This way, you can tell what hold’s your audience’s attention best.

Understand the right length for your video.

Essentially, the optimal video length depends on its use case, the industry you are in, the channel where the video will live, and which part of the marketing and sales funnel the video content belongs to.

So, a video that’s lower down in your marketing funnel is going to be longer than one that’s at the top of the funnel. Similarly, your live streams can be long, but home page videos need to be quick at getting to the key message.

Understand the relationship between video length and engagement rate.

Again, this depends on the video’s use case and where it’s in the marketing and sales funnels. But, the key is to create videos that get straight to the point and engage viewers from the get-go. This is how you can ensure good completion rates.

In short, finding out the ideal length for your online video, therefore, takes a lot of work (and experimenting).

Overwhelming, right?

The good news is that we’ve got your back as we share video length best practices to give you rough benchmarks to keep in mind.

And, two, while you obsess over the ideal video length, Visme helps you do the rest of the legwork by giving you video templates. This way, you can experiment while spending only a few minutes on creating video content since you don’t have to start from scratch.

Here’s a pool of video templates from Visme, with this one being my favorite:

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

With the basics out of the way, let’s dig into the ideal video length for each social media platform individually.


Facebook Video Length

Marketers don’t need research or numbers to prove that Facebook video has been all the rage on the social platform lately.

If you’ve found yourself stopping to watch Tasty’s videos even if you aren’t into cooking 😳 (don’t worry, I’m the same.  We’ll keep that as our little secret), then you know that video is doing great.

In fact, 15% of all content on Facebook is video. There, now we’ve a number proving it too.

On top of that, engagement on Facebook videos is also high with video posts getting an average of 59% more engagement than other post types.

So what makes the optimal video length here? Here you go:

  • The ideal Facebook story video length is up 20 seconds.
  • The ideal length for an organic Facebook video post is somewhere between 24 to 90 seconds.
  • The optimal length for a Facebook ad is around 15 seconds or less preferably. The shorter the ad, the better its completion rate.
  • Lastly, live streams are best as longer videos. The reason? It takes time for viewers to join and engage with your live stream.

That said, let’s give you some video length best practices for Facebook video content.

Facebook Video Tips

Make sure that you live stream for at least 10 minutes.

Yes, that’s because you want your target audience to join you in that time, but also because post the 10-min mark, Facebook notifies your audience that you’re live.

Always add captions to your social media videos.

85% (!) of Facebook users tend to watch videos on the platform without sound. After all, not everybody has their earphones handy. The solution? Always add captions to your videos so you can maximize the odds of getting viewers to continue watching your video.

Upload a video natively to the platform than sharing a link.

It’s always a good idea to share a YouTube video link. Saves you time and all that. But the Facebook algorithm favors native video content. So walking this extra mile will help you improve your video engagement in addition to the occasional please-watch-my-video-till-the-end prayer.

Mention your brand within three seconds of a Facebook video ad.

Lastly, be quick about featuring your brand in an ad no matter how badly you feel the desire to develop some suspense. Why? Because Facebook says 23% of the consumers are likely to remember which brand made a video if it was mentioned within the first three seconds of the video.

Here’s more on creating compelling video ad funnel content for your Facebook account.


Instagram Video Length

Foremost a visual platform, you’ll need to double down on creating video content for Instagram that’s both creative and high quality.

Look at this video from Amazon to see how it checks off both quality and creativity.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Amazon (@amazon)

Not feeling particularly inspired? Pick a video template and share it as your Instagram story video. Here’s one, for instance.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Don’t forget to tweak the color and fonts, so the video meets your brand style.

This would take only a few minutes, but if you want to go faster, consider setting up your brand kit in Visme.

Now, for the ideal length for Instagram videos:

  • Keep your in-post videos around 30 seconds long (you get 60 seconds in total, but 30 seconds seems to be the sweet spot for engagement).
  • You can experiment with longer videos for IGTV videos. Best keep them 10 minutes long for optimal completion rates.
  • For Instagram story video length, up to 15 seconds seems to be ideal.
  • Similar to IGTV videos, live streams on the platform can tip toward longer length. You can take them to 60 minutes max with ten minutes being the minimum length to bear in mind.

Instagram Video Tips

Keep the following in mind.

Pick an engaging thumbnail for your videos.

Since Instagram is a visual platform, competition can be stiff. But a good thumbnail for your video can get people to stop scrolling and watch your video.

Encourage engagement with GIFs, stickers, texts, and other design elements.

Instagram’s zillions of design elements can help you up video engagement rate in no time. Get people to rate with the sliding sticker.

Or, give them a poll sticker with options to pick from. You can also throw in a question sticker to get them talking.

Not to forget, the sound-on sticker is great for reminding people to turn on their volume.


Twitter Video Length

Video does well on the blue-bird platform too with two billion people watching videos on the platform every day.

To add to this, tweets featuring videos get ten times the engagement than tweets without videos.

You get it.

So what’s the ideal video length that you should be aiming for?

Keep the following in mind:

  • For both video tweets and video ads, the optimal length lies between 20-45 seconds. These can be as long as two minutes and 20 seconds. But considering the fact that Twitter revolves around brevity, it’s best to stick with short video content.

Twitter Video Tips

Use captions or get creative with text overlay.

Videos on Twitter autoplay as GIFs do. On top of that, 93% of all the videos are played on mobile devices so you need to ensure that your video takes into account the sound-off viewing mode.

It’s here that you can use captions and text overlay to make sure you hook your target audience right away and get people to engage as well.

This video tweet by Glossier does this well.

Add people or your product in your video’s early frames.

Adding people at the beginning of your video can help increase your views significantly as they bring in a 40% increase in the overall response.

Alternatively, start with your product as doing so gets 34% increased click intent and 24% increase in positive interest.

Here’s a video template that can help you do this.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

YouTube Video Length

YouTube is the second most visited site after Google.

This alone is enough to tell you that there’s a vast audience watching videos on here.

But, to confirm, here’s an interesting stat: users consume over 1 billion hours of videos on YouTube, more than Facebook and Netflix combined.

So you better know the ideal video length for this platform, right?

We’ve got you covered:

  • For YouTube video ads, aim for six seconds for bumper ads and 15-20 seconds length for pre-roll ads.
  • Shoot for videos between 7-15 minutes. Social Media Examiner suggests this is the ideal video length for best performance.

Generally, however, the ideal YouTube video length depends on who your audience is and the video type. For instance, a how-to video explaining a concept can be longer than a product showcase video.

YouTube Video Tips

Steer clear from fluff.

Just because you’ve the liberty to post longer videos on YouTube doesn’t mean you go on and on in your video. Remember: the crispier your video content, the better your completion rate. This, in turn, helps with YouTube SEO and better ranking on the platform.

Design an engaging thumbnail.

As with a typical search engine, when you search YouTube for something, you’ll note that several videos show up in the results.

So what do you think makes people click on one video and not another? The thumbnail.

A captivating thumbnail can help you stand out and encourage viewers to watch your video too.

Note that in the example below, I searched for ways to increase my productivity and the first example has way more views (2.1K views) instead of 13 views on the third video.

A simple guess for why it’s so: because the first video has a properly designed thumbnail.

A screenshot of YouTube search results showcasing eye-catching thumbnails.

Worried you’ve more work on your plate as you need to design the thumbnail too? Fret now. Here are 50 YouTube banner templates to help you save time and design well.

Always begin with a hook.

Once a viewer clicks on your video, you need them to stay. How? With a hook. For example, you can start with a story.  Or, you can share the end result first — this always works wonders because your viewer can tell exactly what it is that they’ll get from watching your video.

Alternatively, tell the viewer their problem is real but there’s a solution to it.

Our team at Visme does this all the time. Mike Ploger who hosts our YouTube videos gets straight to the point, even introducing himself later.

Case in point: in this video, Mike talks about how exercises can actually help boost creativity, then gives his intro.


LinkedIn Video Length

LinkedIn is home to professionals mainly, but do these executives watch online videos?

You bet they do!

Three-quarters of executives share they watch work-related videos at least weekly. The takeaway? You need crisp video content for Linkedin that’s packed with value.

Let’s look at what’s crips enough for business professionals:

  • Keep LinkedIn in-feed videos to 30-300 seconds. Try not to go over ten minutes.
  • Aim for at least 15-minute long live streams on LinkedIn.

With LinkedIn though, longer video content can be effective too.

In fact, research by LinkedIn concludes that long-form video on the platform can drive the same number of clicks as short-length videos.

But here’s the catch: long videos need to tell a story to be able to captivate viewers.

A green nonprofit video template available in Visme.
Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

LinkedIn Video Tips

Shoot from various angles.

Even if it’s an interview, it’s great to take different angles so your viewer doesn’t get bored of looking at a talking head constantly. Or, include some B-roll with voice over to prevent things from being static in the video.

Make vertical videos that are optimized for mobile viewing

.As with most other platforms, LinkedIn users consume video content on their mobile devices with 91% of people watching videos on their phones.

This means you can increase your video engagement by capturing it in vertical mode — a good way to improve the mobile viewing experience as viewers don’t need to twist their phones to watch the video.


Snapchat Video Length

Snapchat doesn’t give you any more than ten seconds for video content. So a good rule of thumb is to shoot from 3-10 seconds in video length for Snapchat.

For Snapchat video ads, you get between three seconds to three minutes.

Again, the shorter the better.

Snapchat Video Tips

Keep it short but intriguing.

Play on viewers’ curiosity since it can be challenging to pack your key content in three seconds. Leverage a strong hook and add in a link or hashtag to get your target audience to engage with your content further.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Keep it simple.

Besides leaning on brevity, think of keeping your key message simple. Snapchatters check the app in short bursts throughout the day (30 times to be specific) so they’re flooded with content.

On top of that, attention spans are lower than a goldfish lately, so keeping your message simple helps you leave a memorable impression.


TikTok Video Length

As with Snapchat, TikTok users love bite-sized video content.

Ideally, the optimal length there is between nine to 15 seconds although you can do 60 seconds in total.

If you don’t upload the video natively, however, you can exceed the 60-second mark.

But, again, make sure you know how to hold your audience’s attention if you want to play with longer videos.

TikTok Video Tips

Leverage background music.

Since TikTok gives you a sound library to play with, make the most of it to make your video entertaining. Better yet, use a trending song.

Create trending videos.

As with trending music to your videos, you can also create video content that’s based on the trends.


Ready to Create Your Next Video?

Now that you know video length best practices for all social channels, I’m sure you’re feeling pumped to start creating videos. Make it easy and exciting for yourself by signing up for Visme to start creating videos today. Remember, short videos with a strong hook are the way to making popular videos.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How long should social videos be?

Social videos should be no longer than two minutes according to various studies. Engagement tends to drop after the one-minute mark so it makes sense to keep the complete video length short.

Q2. Why are short videos more effective?

Short videos get straight to the point, which helps them hold your audience’s attention. Not to mention, viewers stop watching videos after one minute, so keeping your video content short can help improve its completion rate.

Q3. What is the ideal length for a YouTube video?

The ideal length for a YouTube video is ten minutes. Generally, videos between seven to 15 minutes perform well on the platform. However, keep in mind that your video only needs to be as long as it needs to be. Meaning: don’t drag the content. Instead, cut straight to the point.

Q4. Is video better than text?

Online users consume more video content than text with people watching 500 million hours of video content on YouTube alone and only 16% reading text word for word.

People also remember more of what they watch than what they read with 80% retaining a video they consumed in the past month and 10% of what they read. This gives video content a better position than text.

Q5. Can you post a 10-minute video on Facebook?

In-feed Facebook videos can be as long as 90 seconds. To be able to share a 10-minute video on Facebook, divide your video into series and share them ten minutes after each other. Or, host a live stream that can be eight hours long.

Q6. Why do popular YouTubers make 10-minute videos?

Because the best performing YouTube videos tend to be 10-minute long, popular YouTubers stick with this optimal length benchmark.

Q7. Are longer YouTube videos better?

Longer YouTube videos are only good at getting engagement if they’re filmed creatively so they’re able to hold the viewers’ attention. The ideal length of a YouTube video, however, boils down to the video’s use case and the industry you are in.

Q8. What is the maximum size video you can upload on Facebook?

According to Facebook, the maximum video size you can upload on the platform is 10 GB with a resolution of 1080p or less. But remember, the longer the video is, the larger its file size and the longer the time to upload it (particularly, if your internet connection is a slow one).

Q9. How long can a YouTube video be in 2021?

In 2021, you can upload a 15-minute long video. If you have a verified account, you can upload longer videos.

Q10. What is the best online video maker?

Not to be biased, but Visme is a good online video maker. This is, particularly, because it makes video production a breeze for you by giving your free, easy-to-customize templates to create videos.

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    About the Author

    Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed, actionable blog posts for SaaS and marketing brands who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.

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