One of the most discussed aspects of video production is the length of a video. How long should it be? If it’s online doesn’t it have to be short? Well, yes and no. When we think of online video we tend to think about Facebook or YouTube, or in some part Instagram. Platforms that lend themselves to the short form video. However, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are also online distribution platforms, but they are known for their more long form content such as television series, films and documentaries. So, what’s the answer? It actually boils down to your audience and when and where you would like to reach them.

Here’s a little primer that I found online a few years ago and it has really stuck with how we prepare videos for our clients going forward.

30 seconds to 2 minutes: This is for when you are trying to interrupt people’s day with something that’s going on with your business. This is specifically for the Facebook/Instagram/Twitter crowd. If you are trying to connect with your audience on these platforms, the shorter the better. You are interjecting into their social feed to grab their attention they most likely didn’t seek you out.

2 and one half minutes: This is perfect timing for a kickstarter/indigogo/gofundme campaign. Similar to the length of an average movie trailer, people have come to your page specifically to be pitched on the product you want them to invest in, so going a little longer than usual is ok.

5 minutes: This is mostly for our non-profit friends. This is a good length if you have a live captive audience at an event. They will sit through this because you are revealing something specific you want them to donate to or sponsor. However, if you go over 5 minutes, then it wears on. Typically if you have more to say, break the message up into more videos and spread them around during the event. Think in terms of a music video, which averages usually between 4 and 5 minutes.

Those are some really good times to stick by. In the first category, 2 minutes is stretching it. As long as you have a lot of visuals the video will move. However, you do want your audience wanting more, so knowing when and where to place your video will determine how well your video performs. That performance will in turn determine how good the return will be on that investment.

Paul J Schmidt is the Creative Video Strategist of UnoDeuce Multimedia, a full service video production company based in Lansing, Michigan that specializes in creative visual storytelling for small businesses and non-profit organizations. You can connect with them at