Social Video Length — Hacks & Best Practices

In order to expand their customer base and grow their business, brands these days depend a lot on video content and its undeniable power to persuade people on social media. As a reason, Social media feeds are rift with videos selling news, product updates, entertainment and much much more.

Although marketers around the world have heartily warmed up to the idea of videos being a potent tool in marketing, the answer to “what should be the ideal length of a successful video?” is still a mystery to most. Business enthusiasts across the globe are pretty keen on keeping the length of their videos short, however, my sweet suggestion would be to customize your video length only according to the type of social media platform you are zeroing in upon.

Here, let us see how the length of your video can vary depending on which social media platform you choose to share your video content with,

1. Instagram

Instagram entirely is a photo & video sharing social media platform, where people interact with each other by liking, commenting, sharing and following. It’s pretty popular among teen and young adults. So if your products or services have youth at the center of their heart, your brand must know how to capitalize on the power of video engagement on Instagram.

However, growing on Instagram is easier said than done; simply because, over here, the competition is cut-throat & ferocious. With the smartphones buzzing every second with enticing notifications, catching consumers’ attention and keeping it for a while has become a complicated task to achieve.

The Question is,

Why would anybody stay and look at your offerings when they can simply scroll down in their feeds and watch something more engaging & exciting?

This is why video length matters! It matters alongside a good story. Packing up a great narrative within a limited time frame makes for the perfect video marketing recipe.

Before deciding on the optimal length of your video, you should first be aware of the 3 different kinds of videos Instagram allows you to post:

a) Video Feed Post

These are the videos you find in your general feed when scrolling through your Instagram home page. While posting a video, you can always figure out how long a video is by simply looking at the top right corner.

Since Instagram doesn’t allow you to post videos that are longer than a minute, you should consider uploading videos for the length of a minute or lesser only.

Remember, the majority on Instagram are young people, looking for quick entertainment, which is why, over here, keeping videos crisp & engaging, is the only way to go about success.

b) Instagram Stories

According to Instagram, Instagram Stories has helped increase the amount of time people spend on the platform.

“Over 50% of businesses on Instagram recognized Stories to be a great marketing instrument.” — Socially Sorted

Now that we know how important Instagram stories prove out to be in making a business successful, we must learn what length video works best for it.

Unlike Feed posts, where you can use the cap of 60 seconds to tell your narrative, Instagram stories allow you to share videos with maximum length of15-second only. The good news here is that you can post as many 15 second videos in your story as you want. Therefore, use the platform wisely to speak out your Brand’s values and make a difference to it.

c) Going Live

Earlier, in one of my blogs, I have talked in detail about Live Videos and how businesses can make use of this particular function to introduce themselves to ideal consumers and attain a long list of engaged, loyal subscribers.

So here, I am only going to give a brief.

When going live, Instagram gives you a humongous cap of about 1 hour; the time you could utilize to announce with trumpets that you have arrived with a bang. However, people’s attention is known to be a fickle thing that starts to dwindle only after a couple of seconds into the video and therefore, keeping videos short is the surest way to wow your viewers.

According to HubSpot, the most commented and viewed videos on Instagram averaged 26 seconds only. Therefore, keep it sweet & short!


IGTV videos are longer than Instagram Stories. While regular users can post a video up to 10 minutes long, verified users can make an hour long of a video. Brands have always been a little suspicious about using IGTV for a number of reasons, the major reason being the high costs and time investment required in creating big length social video content. However from early 2019, after Instagram announced that content creators could share one-minute video previews in their feed, users no more had to leave the app to watch IGTV. And so these days, viewers actually stay and watch. The ideal length for IGTV is 10 minutes.

2. Facebook

Speaking about Facebook, we already know that Facebook just like Instagram allows its users to like and share videos across its platform. However, going into the details one can easily say that Facebook is different from Instagram in a lot of many ways. The most basic difference is that the audience on Facebook expects and prefers longer pieces of video content.

According to Hubspot, Facebook’s audience engages mostly with videos that are 1 minute long. Also, 95% of their viewers watched videos without ever turning the volume on, which explains why you should provide subtitles for every video.

Now let us look at the kind of videos that can be shared across Facebook:

a) In Feed Videos

Facebook has long been experimenting with its interface and functions to make sharing online easier. Its in-feed option allows users to share a video of about 240 minutes, which in itself speaks volumes about how badly Facebook wants its consumers and sellers to stay on and interact with the platform.

However, no matter how strong the temptation to share a long video is, bear in mind that the most successful videos on Facebook fall between 24 to 90 seconds.

So avoid that temptation at all costs!

b) Facebook Stories

Just like Instagram, Videos on Facebook stories can only be 20 seconds long. Use this time cap wisely if you want to reach out farther yet faster.

c) Going Live

Facebook is a great way to meet new customers, tell them about the plans you have been brewing up lately, test their response on the services you provide and grow along with them. Although Facebook live gives you a cap of 4 hours, staying live for more 10 minutes doesn’t seem like a very good idea.

Some of you might be questioning in your head, well, isn’t 10 minutes too long to keep your audience hooked?

Well, as far as going and interacting live with the Facebook audience goes, a 10-minute video works perfectly well with consumers as it gives them a chance to deeply connect with and spread the right word about you.

3. YouTube

When I say YouTube, I mean a whole wide world of videos, where people come and go for movies, songs, Sitcoms, stand-ups, tutorials and, of course, product demos.

This is the reason why on YouTube, audiences are used to watching the long form of video content.

However, unless you are giving them a famous HBO series to binge on, you cannot expect them to stick around your video content, no matter how good, for more than a couple of minutes.

Sad, right?

Anyway, according to Hubspot, “On YouTube, our audience engages the most with videos right under two minutes.” So try pulling the brackets on120 seconds. If you still think that a 2-minute video time cap is not enough to unravel what you got, let me try explaining it the other way. A 2-minute video is equivalent to a nicely stitched 1000 word blog. So in a way, minutes should be more than enough.

4. Twitter

The Twitter audience is used to short bursts of insightful information. They like to be informed about everything important in the shortest time possible. Although Twitter allows you to post a video of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, it isn’t the right medium to go that long.

According to Hubspot, “Twitter’s own video explaining video uploads on the platform is only 29 seconds.” And that is the reason why when penetrating Twitter, you need to keep the length of your video content short and crisp.

5. LinkedIn

We all know that Linkedin had been the last platform to utilize the power of native videos. But as they say, better late than never! Lately, on LinkedIn, videos have become major bases for B2B companies to interact, access and do business with each other. Bringing its upload feature to use, LinkedIn has shared some best practices on how to do videos.

According to LinkedIn suggestions, most of the video content shared on the platform should fall within the brackets of 30 seconds to five minutes. Not to mention, LinkedIn is one of the finest platforms to share in-depth knowledge on any given subject.

The Ultimate Video Sermon

  • The ideal length of an effective video changes with the medium.
  • Subtitles are a great way to communicate video insights.
  • Neurons process videos 60,000 times faster than plain text and therefore, the human brain decides too quickly if or not it wants to engage with a particular video.

Simply by following the above mentioned social video hacks, you can reach out to and resonate with your audience.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store