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Short vs long B2B videos

Wojtek Jezowski

November 7, 2022

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. 


Sci-Fi Web Series > "Project:2030"

Presenting the benefits and security concerns of the continued evolution of technology. Based on a white paper published by Trend Micro, authored by Dr Victoria Baines & Rik Ferguson.

Interactive Film (Choose your Own Adventure) > "Data Center Attack"

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.


The short

Pro's

  • grabs attention
  • 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


Cons

  • 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 



The long

Pro's

  • 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)
  • it's kinda like a TV show


Cons

  • it's not for everyone
  • hard to promote
  • hard to get a 100% view rate
  • can take longer to produce and can be expensive
  • needs other assets to drive traffic to it
  • it's kinda like a TV show


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