How Long Should A Social Media Video Be?

Video content on social media has soared over the past decade, turning into an incredible marketing tool. Video social media ads have a 48% greater conversion rate compared to stationary social media ads.

Additionally, people remember a message 85% more when it’s delivered by video compared to text, while 72% of consumers prefer to learn about products through video instead of stationary content.

As the need for video content increases, businesses can use social media videos to attract online consumers and convert them into clients.

However, over the past 20 years, the average attention span has decreased from 2 ½ minutes to 45 seconds. If you want to keep your audience hooked, you need to keep them engaged from the get-go.

This doesn’t mean that shorter videos are better! Audiences who are looking for in-depth content will be searching for longer videos, while those looking for quick entertainment will prefer shorter ones.

So, with this in mind, just how long should a social media video be?

In short, the best length for a social media video depends on the social media platform that you use.

Each social media platform’s performance metrics and video requirements are different. Shorter, 30-second videos may work well on TikTok, but YouTube viewers might be searching for longer videos around 5 minutes long.

We’ll cover the ideal social media video length for each of these platforms below, including some guidelines to help you improve your video’s message clarity and viewer engagement.

Best Facebook Video Length

Facebook users can view videos in several ways, from Facebook Live to general feed videos. Videos have become a great part of their network, which is why Facebook permits longer videos compared to other social media platforms.

Facebook videos can last a few hours, while the maximum length of a livestream is 8 hours. Despite this, you shouldn’t create long videos just because Facebook allows it. Facebook claim that their users tend to view videos for roughly 15 seconds, but a study found that Facebook videos between 2 and 5 minutes received better engagement.

If you’re deliberately posting videos with lots of content, your videos should be three minutes or longer. However, if you’re posting videos for brand awareness or entertainment, you should create shorter ones, particularly if you’re posting a Facebook story.

  • Ideal Facebook in-feed video length: Between 24 and 90 seconds
  • Ideal Facebook Stories video length: Under 20 seconds
  • Ideal Facebook Live video length: Between 10 minutes and four hours
  • Ideal Facebook news feed video advert length: Between 6 and 15 seconds
  • Ideal Facebook in-stream video advert length: Between 5 and 15 seconds

Facebook claim that their users tend to view videos for roughly 15 seconds, but a study found that Facebook videos between 2 and 5 minutes received better engagement.

Best TikTok Video Length

TikTok is known for their informal, fast-paced, entertaining video content. It’s a great platform for brands to display their personality, but you need to make sure your videos are formatted correctly. TikTok videos used to be a maximum of 15 seconds long, but you can now upload videos up to three minutes in length.

In an attempt to compete with sites like YouTube, TikTok pushed for longer content in 2022, increasing their max video length to 10 minutes. They removed this ability in 2023, going back to the three-minute rule.

Though you can upload three-minute videos, shorter videos tend to do better on TikTok. The aim with this platform is to get your message across quickly, preventing the viewer from scrolling past your content.

Videos between 10 and 15 seconds are a good starting point, though 60-second videos may engage audiences more familiar with your content.

  • Ideal TikTok social media video length: Between 15 and 60 seconds

Though you can upload three-minute videos, shorter videos tend to do better on TikTok. The aim with TikTok is to get your message across quickly, preventing the viewer from scrolling past your content.

Best Instagram Video Length

Instagram is an amazing social media platform for video content. You can post videos in many ways, including Stories, Reels, and in-feed. The best Instagram video length depends on where you plan to post your video and the type of content that it contains.

For instance, when posting an Instagram story, you’ll need to consider the number of slides needed to convey your message. The first couple of seconds are essential to ensure someone watches the whole story.

Instagram grid videos, however, should contain elements which persuade people to share content. Captions and text are necessary here, especially in videos that have a short time to get their message across.

In most cases, however, Instagram videos should be short. The average Instagram user is a multitasker between 18 and 34. Younger people tend to have shorter attention spans and will do better with short-form, entertaining content.

To keep your Instagram audience engaged and prevent them from scrolling past your content, you need to post shorter, visually stimulating videos with a good story.

  • Ideal Instagram In-Feed video length: 60 seconds or under
  • Ideal Instagram Story video length: 1-10 slides

In most cases, however, Instagram videos should be short. The average Instagram user is a multitasker between 18 and 34. Younger people tend to have shorter attention spans and will do better with short-form, entertaining content.

Best Twitter Video Length (X)

The move from Twitter to X has involved several developments, but their ad guidelines haven’t changed that much.

Video works well with X as posts on the platform are very short. X/Twitter is characterised by rapid content consumption, so shorter videos work better, whether you’re promoting an ad or sharing content with your followers.

Videos on X can be a maximum of 140 seconds in length, but in terms of adverts, X advises that videos remain between 6 and 15 seconds long. If you’re not posting adverts, content under 45 seconds works well, but remember to keep the additional text shorter to match X’s fast-paced nature.

If you have longer content to share, it’s best to post short, teaser-style videos on X, then link to the full content on other social media platforms, like Facebook or YouTube.

  • Ideal Twitter video length: Under 45 seconds

X advises that ad videos remain between 6 and 15 seconds long. If you’re not posting adverts, content under 45 seconds works well, but keep the additional text short to match X’s fast-paced nature.

Best YouTube Video Length

The ideal YouTube video length depends on the viewer and your content. The platform permits videos up to 12 hours long, which is the most out of any of the social media networks.

The best YouTube video length depends on your content, but longer videos can perform well, particularly if you post educational or informative videos. YouTube is home to movies, music videos, product demonstrations, and tutorials, which is why its users are used to viewing long-form content on the platform.

YouTube’s average video length is 11 minutes, which shows that their viewers are happy to stay for longer. You’ll have more time to engage viewers here compared to TikTok, but if your audience isn’t aware of your brand, you’ll need to keep your videos on the shorter side.

People tend to engage with YouTube content that’s under two minutes, so as a starting point, aim to create videos that meet this bracket. You can use your analytics data later to see whether your audience is engaged or not.

  • Ideal YouTube social media video length: Under two minutes

People tend to engage with YouTube content that’s under two minutes, so as a starting point, aim to create videos that meet this bracket. You can use your analytics data later to see whether your audience is engaged or not.

Experimenting For Ideal Social Media Video Length

The social media video length guidelines above are a good starting point, but remember that there is no perfect video length that concerns all events and industries. No matter what type of business you have, you’ll need to test out numerous social media video lengths and monitor the findings.

The number of video views isn’t the only metric which demonstrates success. Think about your goals for the social media video, then select a metric which matches. Here are some examples:

  • Did your audience tag friends or share the video on their page? This shows that the video was entertaining or informative.
  • Did your audience make a purchase, book consultation calls, or sign up for a demo? This shows that the video was powerful or effective.
  • Did users click on the links in the video? This shows that the video was engaging.

You can simplify this experimental process by teaming up with a video production company.

At Buffoon Media, our social media video production services can help you create engaging visual content. Whether you need an informative video or an entertaining social media post, our video production team will help ensure your content keeps your audience hooked.

Our social media video producers are located in South Wales, London, Manchester, and Birmingham. Give us a call at 03332420879 to find out more, or check out the rest of our services on our website.

Social Media Video Length Recommendations

Though it’s important to work out what length your social media videos should be, here are some recommendations you should consider to increase social media engagement.

1. Make Sure Your Videos Are Accessible

Creating social media videos that are accessible widens your audience and improves the user experience, as your content accommodates a variety of viewing preferences.

Examples include adding subtitles for viewers who want to watch without sound or having the video dialogue spoken at a slower, comprehensible pace.

2. Shorter Videos Don’t Always Do Well

Though shorter videos tend to do well on most social media platforms, networks like Facebook and YouTube allow users to post longer videos. Older viewers looking for particular content might search for longer, explanation-style videos.

This shows how a flexible approach to video length is needed, depending on your audience, industry, and social media platform.

3. Consider Where Your Audience Is

Your audience’s position in the sales funnel, known as the customer buying process, will affect how long your social media video is.

If your audience is in the early stages and haven’t heard of your brand yet, you’ll need shorter, entertaining videos to grab their attention. On the other hand, if your audience are deeper within the funnel and care about your brand, they may connect with longer, in-depth videos.

4. Consider The Viewing Experience Across Devices

Content is important, but businesses should also consider how their social media videos look on different devices.

People tend to watch social media videos on smartphones, but they can also be seen on laptops, desktops, and tablets. These can differ in terms of device specification and speed. Always check that your content can be viewed seamlessly across devices and slower connection speeds.

There we have it! We hope this post helped answer how long should a social media video be.

We’re Buffoon Media: a bilingual media production company offering social media video production in London and South Wales as well as producing and live streaming content across the globe.

Learn more about our social media video production services, as well as the other services we provide on our website.