Before the tips...

15 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes … 5 minutes! As a marketer who’s supervising the creation of video content, you may wonder what length makes sense. As an owner of a video marketing company, often times clients tell us a specific length for a video based on what they hear works. It’s an off-the-cuff comment of, “It has to be one minute, or, “It’s got to be more than 15 seconds!” As you work with a company to craft video stories, we hope these tips provide a bit of guidance.

There’s not a perfect answer about length of video content, sorry about that. However, a new study by Google and Mondelez International about video advertising plus personal experience working with clients at our company, Gamma Blast Studios will give you some insight.

Let’s look at this Google study that delved into the ideal length for video advertising on YouTube’s TrueView player. (YouTube’s TrueView format lets a viewer choose to watch a complete ad, or skip the ad after 5 seconds. TrueView ads can be inserted before, during or at the end of a video.) They tested video ads that were 15 seconds, 30 seconds and 2 minutes long. The ads were story-driven videos for Honey Maid graham crackers.

There’s not a perfect answer about length of video content, sorry about that.

The 3 tips...

  1. Best Length for Video Ads

So what’s the best length? It depends what your brand is trying to accomplish. If you want people to be more aware of your brand, an ad that’s 15 seconds performed the best for ad recall. However, if people are generally aware of your brand, but you need them to love you more, brand favorability scored higher for the 30-second and 2-minute pieces.

  1. Weave Your Brand Into the Story Early On

The 2-minute piece scored lower than the 30-second piece for brand recall, which could be due to how late in the piece the brand is shown, which is at 1 minute, 17 seconds. In this study, they found that only 15% of the viewers stayed to watch the complete 2-minute video.  At our company, Gamma Blast Studios, we plan how the brand is integrated at the appropriate times for the client’s goals and the storytelling. You can see this example from Chip Esten for The Grand Ole Opry. The Opry is interwoven into the story from the get-go and throughout.

  1. Determine Your Level of Permission and Expectation

Evaluate the level of permission you have with the viewer. People who come to YouTube with the intention of watching content other than a Honey Maid graham cracker spot will easily click away. However, the vast majority of the people who watch the digital series we produce for the Nashville Predators hockey team, where we go behind-the-scenes with the team, stay for more than 90% of each video, which are 8-11 minutes long. The only complaint about the series from fans is the pieces aren’t long enough. It’s all about a viewer’s expectation. People are used to seeing behind-the-scenes sports media in ½ an hour and hour-long blocks such as HBO’s “24/7″ and “Hard Knocks.”



Know what you’re trying to accomplish, weave the brand early into the story and understand the level of permission you have with the viewer.

What all this means?

Overall, a few things. Know what you’re trying to accomplish, weave the brand early into the story and understand the level of permission you have with the viewer. Also I try to remember what a graduate school professor, Sharon Kornely, would say to us, “Really the most important thing I hope you learn here is, when you’re on the job, you stop to think.” Hopefully, research and a moment to think will help you create great creative work.

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.

— Gilbert K. Chesterton

Free your mind.

The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger. When it dies, swap them all.

I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300. It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever.

Photography is better shared.