An ABC Guide on How to Calculate the Perfect Video Length

In pre production one of the most common questions that ensues between the production team is regarding video length. So, this week we will explore how to calculate the optimal length for any video. Though there are many variable factors to this question we have come up with an easy way to tackle it. There are four components to remember: Audience, Background, Content, and Distribution, or ABCD.


Many studies have shown that younger audiences prefer shorter videos. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reports ( that 10-second videos have a wider appeal to younger audiences, while those 35 to 54 years of age prefer videos that are 30 seconds or longer. The most important question to consider here is how much time will your average consumer be willing to spend watching your video?


Background is another way to ask, “in what context is my target audience viewing the video?” If the target audience is a potential customer for an advertising campaign they may be willing to spend less time interacting with your content. But, if your target audience is a donor for a nonprofit that you are asking to increase their monthly or yearly contribution they will be willing to engage with a video with a longer ask.

Another way that background is relevant is regarding the level of detail a particular product requires. The more intricate your story the longer your video will need to be and vice versa.


The entire video itself is content and content is king when explaining your ask. But, your team should be cautious about inserting too much detail.  Over-explaining will burden your video, make it too long, and leave no curiosity for your target audience to enjoy and ask for more. 


Distribution, here relates to the platform(s) that the video will be published on, and it is a very worthwhile consideration. Studies show that the average Facebook and Instagram videos are 30 seconds to 1 minute in length. YouTube videos on the other hand, can be much longer with preferred lengths in excess of 10 minutes. Videos shown on network television are usually in between at 1 to 2 minutes. Screen size is also a factor. According to the IAB, smaller screen sizes have been shown to work better with shorter content, and the converse is true.