What is The Best Explainer Video Length? Long vs Short Explainer Video

Best Explainer Video Length
"Human attention span has decreased from 12 to 8 seconds."

What’s the number 1 reason for making an explainer video? It’s to promote engagement. Sometimes, you can achieve it by making a crowd pleaser like a short explainer; other times, it can be a long, educational explainer that might do the trick.

However, assuming you are someone new to video marketing, it can get a little confusing as to which one will best achieve your specific goals. Guess what?  you are not the only one.

To make your decision easier, we will be breaking down what short and long explainers mean, their pros and cons, and how you can utilize them to level up your marketing. At the end of this article, you will know exactly which one you need to give your marketing that much needed boost.

So without any ado, let’s jump straight into it!

Why does explainer video length matter and how it affects engagement rate?

We don’t know how often you might have seen this mentioned on the internet, but let us repeat it for you, human attention span has decreased from 12 to 8 seconds. It’s even lower than a goldfish, and it is predicted to shrink more over the upcoming few years.

In the future, It will be more difficult than ever before for us to keep the audience engaged throughout a video, and the video length will play a decisive role in a video’s success rate. However, if we look closely, that’s true even now.

video length matter

While no magic number assures that your explainer video will successfully engage the audience throughout, a huge number of case studies suggest that shorter videos (under 1-2 minutes) are generally more successful than longer videos.

Some successful explainers even go over 2 minutes. Still, those videos work under particular circumstances and cannot be used as a perfect example for general explainers. In fact, they might not even count as explainers beyond that threshold; they’ll count as tutorials, where viewers already know what they’re up for.

Explainer video length and user engagement

According to statistics, a 60 seconds video retains about 60% of the audience, while a 30 seconds video retains about 80% of the audience. The percentage goes down to 56% when the length goes up to 2 minutes. However, this data can fluctuate, too, depending on the channels you share your explainers with.

Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter each platform has a different audience with different preferences and watching habits. The meaning of “short” and “long” explainers is also subjective. What’s considered short on Youtube might be long for the Facebook audience, and what’s short for Facebook might be long for Instagram. As for twitter, they don’t even allow a video lengthier than 2 minutes.

Long story short, length and engagement are two things that go hand-in-hand when we talk about explainers. But what’s even more important to understand is the meaning of short and long explainers, how to use them, and where to use them. Without a proper strategy, none will work.

This leads us to our main point, what’s that “ideal” explainer video length that could do the trick for all the platforms? Moreover, what short and long explainers mean in their literal sense. Let’s find out!

What are the different lengths typically used for explainer videos?

An explainer video is made to educate, engage, and compel the audience to buy your product quickly. Let’s have a look at what should be the shortest and longest length for your explainer video, along with their pros and cons:

What is a short explainer video?

A short explainer video is considered one with a length of less than 1 minute. It is usually used when the topic (or product) is pretty simple and the content is mainly story-driven. It is created to pull the emotional strings of the target audience and get them to consider your product through emotional marketing.

The best thing about these explainers is their versatility. Since a short explainer almost always lies in the 30-60 second range, it sits in the sweet spot of every video and content-sharing platform. Plus, It can be directed towards any audience, whether it’s someone already familiar with your product or not.

Another good thing about short explainer videos is their significance in improving your overall SEO. Given that they have a significantly better retention rate, they are also loved by search engines. For example, when a visitor spends time on your website watching a video, it means that your website is engaging. Since Google uses this as one of the primary metrics to rank a page, there’s a good chance that your website will appear in SERPs.

However, where explainer videos are suitable for engagement and storytelling, they also have drawbacks. As versatile as they are in terms of use, they often fall short of educating the audience. This makes them significantly inefficient when explaining complex topics. Or even if they do, there will be no room for storytelling afterward. Which is crucial if you want your video to make an impact.

For that, you will need a long explainer video!

What is a long explainer video?

Long explainer videos have a length that lies between 60-90 seconds or reaches a maximum of 2-minutes. Compared to short explainer videos, these are targeted towards a very selective audience and include aspects of both education and storytelling.

Compared to short explainer videos, long explainer videos are less adaptive to different channels. They are used mainly on landing pages and platforms exclusively dedicated to video making, like Youtube. Some brands also use these on Facebook. But the success rate there is not as impressive.

suitable for engagement and storytelling

Use short explainers to lure general audiences into considering a product. Long explainers are used for audiences who are genuinely interested in it and want to understand it. Hence, long explainers have a bigger role in securing conversions.

The only place where long explainers can be a problem is when you go past the 2 minutes threshold. After two minutes, the engagement rate rapidly decreases as the video progresses. Although you can go past that on Youtube on platforms like Facebook, it’s very rare and requires solid video-making and marketing efforts.

Long story short, long explainers are preferred when you want to explain a complex idea, with some aspects of storytelling as well. When done right, it can be a beautiful blend of both aspects, providing an excellent return on investment.

Final thoughts

You know what a short video is, and you know what’s a long video. Which one is the best option for your business? Well, the answer is not as complicated as you might think. When deciding the perfect length for your explainer, keep the following fundamental factors in your mind:

  • Audience: Are you targeting your video toward a busy corporate business person or a teenager who spends most of the day scrolling through Youtube and other social platforms?
  • Content: Do you want your video centered purely around triggering emotions and getting your audience curious? Or do you want to explain your product to potential prospects?
  • Channel: What channel will you be putting out your video on? Is it for Youtube, Facebook…or maybe your company’s landing page?
  • Context: How familiar is your audience with your product or brand? Are they potential prospects or a general audience to whom you want to introduce yourself?

If you have these factors sorted out, you’ll automatically know where you want your video length to stay. A quick tip. If your audience is busy, your context is introductory, and your topic is simple, you want a short video with minimum fluff.

Hope you found the article helpful. See you with another one! 😉

Jacklyn Chung

Marketing Executive at Explainer Videoly Pte. Ltd.
Being part of the Kasra Design family for many years, Jacklyn takes care of the marketing tasks, be it online or offline.