6 Seconds vs. 6 Hours


Robots

Here’s a question I get all the time:

What’s the best length for a YouTube video?

First, here is a collection of advice from around the Web:

  • One minute to a minute and a half – Jody Underhill, Upside Down Iceberg
  • Three minutes to three minutes and a half  – Clinton Stark, Stark Insider
  • Aim for under three minutes – Rhett Allain, Wired
  • Shorter is better – Wistia, video hosting service
  • It’s common practice to keep videos under three minutes – Gretchen Siegchrist, About.com

Would it surprise you to know that the most shared videos on YouTube have an aggregated length of 4 minute and 11 seconds (according to a recent analysis by the good folks at Unruly Media)?

But the real answer is:

As long as it takes to tell your story.

Questions like this one are common. Similar questions are how long should a blog post be or what’s the optimal length of a Facebook post?

But in the end it is like asking how long should a novel or a hit song be?

The Count of Monte Crisco by Alexandre Dumas has been a popular novel since it was first published in France in 1844 weighs in at 1,461 pages.  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is 112 pages. Classics both. Length irrelevant.

Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven is eight minutes long. The White Stripes’ Little Room is 50 seconds. Awesome songs. Length meaningless.

You can study all the tricks of social media: crunch the numbers, figure out what length is best for a blog post or a video on average, but in the end the content has to be good. If you are original, creative and tell a compelling story then you don’t need to rely on the tricks or tips.

Because people will watch it, read it and share it.

It’s not about length. It’s about quality.

Links:

What’s the Ideal Length for a YouTube Marketing Video (via ReelSEO)

You Aren’t in the Press Release Business

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