The Growth of Video in Social Media

Best Practices and Video Lengths on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook

Video is one of the best ways to grow engagement on your social media channels. YouTube popularized video content when it came onto the scene in 2005. Since then, video content has really changed. Just go back into the history of a channel on YouTube that has been on since the beginning and you can really see those changes first hand.

 With the recent rise of TikTok, the short video format has really taken off. The huge popularity of the platform has caused competing social platforms to release their own versions of TikToks, like Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts formats. 

 So what works–short or long videos?

What is right for your business?

And what works on each platform?

 Let’s take a look at the answers to those very questions.

 Why Short Videos Work

People love digesting content in small bites and that is why short videos work. Attention spans are short and that means videos that are 60 seconds or less can get huge engagement. In fact, many platforms who have multiple types of content really give priority to these short video clips in their algorithm. These short videos are often fun and lighthearted in nature, like on TikTok and Instagram. But that doesn’t mean short videos can’t be more serious either. They can also be quick behind the scenes, or you can even speed up the video on platforms like Instagram to show a process, such as artists who show the making of a project. You can also use short videos on platforms with multiple types of content to tease other content you put on the platform. For example, if you are launching a new product or feature, you can tease a future live video in which you show off the new product and do a Q&A.

When Longer Videos Work

Don’t worry though, long format videos still work! There are two main reasons people seek out video in longer formats: to get information or to be entertained. This is why tutorials, product showcases, behind the scenes, question and answer sessions, educational demonstrations and even entertainment such as comedy bits or “I tried fill in the blank” videos work in longer formats. One of the most popular forms of longer format videos are lives (lives can be short teasers too). These are perfect for Q&A sessions, product demonstrations and so much more. They are a great way to increase engagement and are often pushed more by a platform’s algorithm. 

 Do What Works For Your Brand!

Each brand is unique and that means you need to do what works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different video lengths to find out what works. You may find that only longer videos get you the engagement you want. Or you may find only short videos fit the voice of your brand. And in many cases, you’ll find that both long and short videos help increase engagement. 

 The Top Video Social Platforms: Specifics

Now that we’ve looked at video in a broad way, let’s take a look at some best practices for each social platform that uses video.

 YouTube

  • Best Length: For monetization, your edited videos should be at least 8 minutes long, though anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes is usually considered best. After 15 minutes, you’ll notice you may have some audience retention loss, depending on the content you are creating and your viewers. Shorts are up to 15 seconds long and are currently in Beta in the U.S.
  • Strategic Consideration: Shorts can be lighthearted and fun like TikToks or teasers for upcoming videos. This format is in Beta currently so play around with it and find what works for you. When it comes to longer format videos, YouTube is really pushing lives in their algorithm so if you want to increase your visibility, try doing a Q&A, a product demonstration or a “create with me” where you work on a project while chatting with users. Your edited videos can be anything you want, but no matter the content and length you create on YouTube, keep things consistent in your branding and voice.

 TikTok

  • Best Length: Depending on the content you create, your video should be between 15 and 60 seconds.
  • Strategic Consideration: This platform has a more lighthearted, fun vibe and users will expect your videos to be more along those lines. Make sure to watch a bunch of TikToks to see what the platform is like before jumping in. Brands have had great success showing off products or showing behind the scenes. 

 Facebook

  • Best Length: For best audience retention, the majority of people will watch a video all the way to the end if it is 15 seconds long. But if you are after higher engagement, aim for 2 to 5 minutes in length. 
  • Strategic Consideration: Facebook is a juggernaut and you can find all kinds of content on the platform from funny and silly videos to product demonstrations and live Q&As. Don’t be afraid to play around a bit to see what works for your brand. But just like with YouTube, be consistent with your branding and voice. 

 Instagram

  • Best Length: For Reels, your video should be between 15 and 30 seconds and for the regular feed your videos can be up to 60 seconds. Anything over 60 seconds must be done in IGTV; however, the platform limits your videos to a max of 1 hour. Lives on Instagram are also done in IGTV and have the same limit on time as pre-recorded videos. 
  • Strategic Consideration: Like Facebook, you can find a variety of videos on Instagram. From product demonstrations to process videos, live Q&As to lighthearted videos, it’s all there! Instagram is solely a visual platform, so brands that have products do really well on the platform. Other brands that can find traction here include schools and universities, non-profits, and sports teams; in other words, if you have interesting visuals to show, you’ll find engagement here. Play around with lengths and content to see what works best for your brand, but be sure to keep your branding and voice consistent. 
 Other Platforms to Consider

Besides the big four we just looked at, there are a few more platforms that utilize video that you might consider including Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and SnapChat. Each uses video in very different ways so be sure that the social platform fits your branding and needs before diving in to video on them. 

 Putting It to Practice

Still not sure how to help use video strategically to increase your brand awareness and engagement? Call in a pro to help! Attuned is an invested partner that helps clients break through and achieve their vision. Contact us today to talk about how our dedicated experts can help your brand get out of a marketing rut and grow!