Video content that appeals to the algorithm or just grabs more attention is a must-have for any marketing campaign. But how long should a social media video be?
Depending on the platform, a social media video can last from 1 second to hundreds of hours. It can be difficult to keep up with the runtime, but there’s definitely a sweet spot that will get the most engagement.
Read on to find out the best possible video lengths for each social network.
How long should a social media video be?
General Best Practices
Before we get into the details, there are a few things to note about general best practices for video content.
• Video is a must. As we published in our digital 2022 report, watching videos is the fourth reason people use the internet the most. If you’re not shooting videos yet, it’s time to get on board.
Source: Digital 2022 report
• Keep it clean. The video is not as easy as it looks. You’ll want to make sure the sound is crisp and clear and the visuals are clear as well. Avoid design elements that confuse your images.
• Use subtitles. The digital 2022 report explains that 30% of users aged 18-34 are watching more video with sound than ever before. However, you should still make sure you include correct, grammatically correct captions so that the remaining 70% can enjoy your content.
• Be strong. Think of the pop song. While genres, trends, and styles have changed, the hit single has hovered somewhere around the 3-minute mark for more than half a century. Because this works. Videos are also successful in brevity.
Now that we understand these elements, let’s examine the best runtime by platform.
Best Instagram video length (feed posts, Stories and Reels)
Instagram is a social media beast in itself, and the app has been implying for years that a video would be hijacked. In 2021, Instagram head Adam Mosseri made the video pivot official, saying, “We’re no longer a photo-sharing app.”
Instagram videos fall into three main categories, each with their own goals and viewership potential.
Instagram Video: 1 minute
As of 2021, Instagram has combined its main feed videos and its IGTV platform into a new format simply called Instagram Video. The maximum length to appear on your Instagram chart is 1 minute, but viewers can click to finish watching videos up to 15 minutes long.
If you have a verified account, you can upload videos of up to 60 minutes from your desktop app.
However, if you can help, you should try not to exceed 1 minute. Otherwise, aim for somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes. It’s short and impressive with stunning visuals that passive sliders can’t ignore. This is the secret of success on the grid.
Instagram Stories: 15 seconds
According to our digital 2022 report, Instagram Stories take up 72.6% of the app’s total ad reach, so keeping people engaged is imperative. The maximum length for Instagram stories is 15 seconds per slide.
If you need to use more than one slide, don’t exceed 7 (and actually 3 slides is enough). Be sure to include a call to action or other relevant information on each slide. Stay economical with your messages.
Note: Both Instagram Stories and Instagram Videos can be cross-posted to Facebook.
Instagram Reels: 15 – 60 seconds
Reels is Instagram’s answer to TikTok. Unlike stories or grid posts, Reels is tailored specifically to viral moments and fast-paced videos. Before you start shooting, you manually select a run time of 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds or 60 seconds.
Whichever length you choose, the Spools’ sweetest spot happens within the first few seconds. If you can get your audience’s attention right away, they’re likely to get hooked on everything.
Best Facebook video length: less than 1 minute
Facebook’s maximum video length is 240 minutes. But unless you somehow get the rights to all four hours. Zach Snyder’s Justice LeagueYou will want to stay away from that time.
For viral content, Facebook recommends videos shorter than one minute or stories shorter than 20 seconds. However, this does not mean that long videos perform poorly. Instead, they suggest that 3+ minutes is best for developing episodic web series, stories, and live streaming. Videos must be longer than 3 minutes to be eligible for in-stream ads.
Whatever the length, Facebook’s algorithm loves local video content. This means that you should always upload videos directly instead of sharing a YouTube or Vimeo link on the platform.
Best TikTok video length: 7 – 15 seconds
Everything about TikTok, from the growth of the app to the content inside, is fast. With this in mind, you want to make sure you convey as much information as possible in easily digestible bites.
Last year, the app increased the maximum video length from 1 minute to 3 minutes and recently to 10 minutes. However, you should still aim for brevity.
Despite their cutting-edge tastes, TikTokers are pretty conventional in their runtime. Therefore, your best bet is to hover around the 15-second mark. That’s enough time to attract and grab an audience’s attention.
You may also want to try TikTok’s 7 second challenge. Our own social team tried it and their videos got half a million likes.
try this trick yourself 🙌💯
♬ original sound – material growl 😘💅
Best Twitter video length: 44 seconds
Twitter likes to refer to number limits, so their videos are maximum 140 seconds long. In case you forgot, that’s exactly how many characters were allowed in a tweet until the site doubled it to 280 characters in 2017.
It’s a funny branding reference, but for those who are bad at math (like me) it’s easier to remember that 140 seconds is 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
You should aim for videos around 44 seconds – enough time to grab users’ attention without waiting for more than welcome. In fact, a quick Twitter video can act as a trailer for a YouTube or Vimeo link with a longer version if needed.
Best YouTube video length: 2 minutes
YouTube, of course, is the gold standard for video content on the web, and you’ll find videos of all shapes and sizes from start to finish. Verified accounts are allowed to upload clips up to 12 hours (or even longer if compressed below 128GB in size).
Your ideal YouTube video length will depend on your ultimate goal. Want to make money with YouTube ads? The minimum requirement is 10 minutes – which is a good number to target with longer vlog content.
If you’re expecting smaller-scale viral attention, it’s best to stay around the 2-minute mark. Always keep in mind the decreasing attention spans of the internet.
Best LinkedIn video length: 30 seconds maximum
LinkedIn is more business oriented and video lengths are also short to get the job done. This means you can upload local videos up to 10 minutes long and video ads up to 30 minutes long.
Unless you’re trying to make your LinkedIn video feel like an endless board meeting, you probably shouldn’t.
Instead, LinkedIn has determined that videos that are 30 seconds or less have a 200% increase in completion rates (i.e. users watch the whole thing instead of clicking). However, they also reported that longer videos can generate as much engagement as they tell more complex stories.
Best Snapchat video length: 7 seconds
It’s right there in the app’s header – stay fast! The maximum video length for regular posts is 10 seconds, so you’ll want to stay around the 7 second mark.
If you’re buying an ad, Snapchat’s maximum video length is 3 minutes. But let’s be honest, no one watches a video that long on Snapchat. In fact, the app’s own research shows that to encourage the most engagement, a video ad should stay between 3 and 5 seconds and stay at the top with strong brand messages.
Best Pinterest video length: 6 – 15 seconds
Pinterest, the dark horse of the big social media, is gaining steam fast.
business powerhouse, and for good reason. The rapidly evolving platform is constantly adding new features to keep Pinners addicted, among them the relatively new video feature.
There are two main types of videos: Video Pins and Pinterest Stories. Video Pins can run from 4 seconds to 15 minutes, while Pinterest stories have a maximum runtime of 60 seconds.
We all know what I’m about to say, but that also applies here – don’t choose the maximum length in your video posts. Instead, Pinterest recommends targeting a 6 to 15 second runtime to maximize engagement with your Video Pins.
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