It's essential to treat videos as what they are: tools.
They have a job to do, whatever that job is. When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail…You wouldn't use a hammer to screw in a… You get it.
Some videos can be short, 30 seconds (or even 3 seconds) long, while on the other side, in the B2B world, you may find videos around the 3-5 minute mark. However, there's practically no limit to how long a video can be. It depends on how certain you are that your audience will watch it.
Let's go over the pros and cons of both the short and the long.
The short of it
Short is quick. It grabs attention. They're easy to make (in theory).
Remember the "I'm on a horse" commercial? That was short. But as hell, it wasn't easy, and it wasn't cheap. On average, the more filming days you have, the more complexity will increase and, in turn, the expenses.
Short content is easy to promote on social media or paid ads.
To be honest, that's what it's for. With attention spans getting smaller and smaller with each passing year, short ads can grab that attention more easily. Plus, there's a chance that it will be viewed until the end.
Short content is excellent when used for advertising. It keeps your message specific.
Super focused. A good rule of thumb is to concentrate on one key message per 30-second video. The less time you have, the more accurate you need to be.
Sometimes, breaking up the grand message into smaller bite-size chunks could be the thing that makes or breaks a campaign. For example, consider a series of videos, each having its own objective. It can be an asset that builds brands (raising brand awareness) or pushes the viewer to buy something, or visit a landing page for more information (activating sales).
To summarize, short videos can be effectively used as assets at any point of your funnel.
Some examples of great short content:
Commercetools B2B ad with Will Arnett.
A tasty Heineken recruiting video.
Brand building video from Crowdstrike.
GE Capital, brand video and customer success story... it's just a good ad.
The long of it
Long content is, well, longer. It requires more attention and time. Both to watch and to
Remember how long it takes for your boss to green-light a one-minute video ad? Now, think of them green lighting five minutes or an hour… Yup. We made a few video projects over 60 minutes, and each usually took close to a year from brief to deployment. But for argument's sake, let's say the video in question is five to ten minutes.
Longer content is more challenging to promote.
So you need a shorter teaser to engage the viewers and encourage them to click to see the full video. That means your overall CTR may be lower, HOWEVER, this kind of content is not for everyone. Long-form is for in-depth discussions. It expresses your expertise and understanding of your industry.
Longer means you can say more.
This requires storytelling skills to ensure your audience remains engaged with every twist and turn. The point is you have to make sure your audience isn't watching a PowerPoint presentation. Nothing against PowerPoint. Feel free to replace this with Keynote. The message remains the same: Your video can't be boring.
Sometimes, longer content is excellent for raising brand awareness through thought leadership, and it also works wonders lower in the funnel.
The audience learns more about what you stand for, what you do, and how you do it.
Longer content is educational.
It's the core of all explainer videos. If your problem needs that kind of solution, long-form is a golden-tier way to inform and convince someone serious about purchasing or diving deeper to discover more about your offer.
When a viewer is engaged and sincerely interested in the topic, they will be okay with spending 5, 10, 30 minutes, or longer watching your video. But, on the flip side, if a viewer doesn't care, they'll leave in a blink of an eye.
Here are some long videos we like:
An amazing brand film that won Grand Prix at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards 2022.
Documentary focusing on the future of AI.
A "Mythbusters" vibe video from General Electric.
A beautiful brand story from Patagonia.
A joyful B2B explainer video for Virtual Receptionist service.
Forgive a bit of selfless promotion, but here are some of our long forms.
Become a CISO of a large hospital and make decisions that may have an impact on human lives.
The key takeaways
It's best to build a strategy that uses both. Sometimes you need a hammer, sometimes, you need a power drill. But whatever tool you need, use it wisely. All roads lead to Rome, and it's up to you to know what path to take.
Metaphors over. Mic dropped. See you in the next one and enjoy the summary.
quick turnaround on production
easy to promote - ideal for paid ads
single, concise message
reasonably easy to get a 100% view rate
good asset for any point in the funnel
limited time = limited things you can say
short doesn't mean easy or cheap
works well in a paid media plan
everyone runs short video ads
has to be unique to stand out
expertise / educational vibe
room for more insight and messages
ideal for explainer videos and thought leadership
hugely engaging for the right people (interested in the category)