The unanswerable question - how long should your explainer video be? - Clarity Animations

The unanswerable question – how long should your explainer video be?

“How long should I make my video?”

Every animator hates being asked this question, and the reason is that the correct answer is never satisfying to hear.

It sounds a lot like one of those wishy-washy, nothing answers – the kind that politicians and marketers give when they’re not sure what they’re talking about. However, in this instance, the wishy-washy answer happens to be unassailably true.

The answer is this: as long as it needs to be.

I know, annoying right? That doesn’t really give you any guidance on what you should be aiming for. It’s left you generally bewildered and more confused than before you asked.  

The problem, of course, is that we’re not asking the right question in the first place. The right question is ‘how do I know when my video is long enough?’ – now we’ve really got something we can work with.


Engage, create value, direct

Let’s forget about length for a minute. If you want your video to be successful, there’s a few key things you’re going to have to do.

Chief amongst these is the creation of value for your audience. If people are going to hang around and watch your video, they want to know that they’ll get something useful out of it. The definition of ‘value’, though, is going to change drastically depending on your target audience and their own personal goals.

For example, if you’re marketing to an audience of young hipsters, entertainment might be a key value point that will keep users engaged. If your audience is experienced business owners, however, the focus might be more on solving a highly specific problem in a cost-effective way.

Defining value for your audience is the first step in creating a successful animation. Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is present it in an engaging way and make sure you direct the viewer on to their next step. So, an alternative answer to our question ‘how long should my video be’ could be this; as long as it needs to be to provide value.


The law of serious buyers

Curious readers and serious buyers interact with content in different ways. A purchasing decision takes time, and most serious buyers use that time to learn as much as they can about your product and business. The benefit for you is that the longer they stay on your site, and the more information they take in, the more likely something is going to resonate with them and convince them to convert.

This means that in many cases, more content is usually better. However, if that content isn’t constantly providing value for viewers, there’s a high chance they’ll lose interest and bounce. So, another answer to our question could be; as long as you can make it without your viewer getting bored.


When it’s long enough

The only real way to know if your video is long enough is by its efficacy. Check your conversion rate and sale value against your cost per lead; are you getting enough conversions to justify your ad spend? If not, you might need to extend your video to include more key value propositions and conversion triggers.

Another way is to check how long people are spending on your page. Are they bouncing after a few seconds? If so, you might need to push up the engagement factor and encourage people to invest more time.

To conclude, try to avoid basing content decisions around time. Instead, base your video length around your content, what you need to say, and how much value you can create for your audience.


If you want to know more about our explainer videos, feel free to get in touch with here.

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