How long should a social media video be? That’s a million-dollar question every marketer asks.

And the answer boils down to this: the ideal video length varies for each social media platform, video type, niche, and the target market consuming your video content.

However, it’s a given that you need short videos more than long ones since most social media video content focuses on brand awareness and falls into top of the funnel.

On top of this, people have short attention spans – eight seconds according to a Microsoft study, backing the case for short videos.

So let’s dive a little deeper into the ideal video length for each network alongside some proven tips to make the perfect social media videos.

How long should a social media video be?

Two things to keep in mind as you create great content: the shorter it is the better, and video lengths we share below aren’t set in stone.

At best, these are ideal lengths that give you the best ROI. You can always experiment though. Simply remember that for long-form videos to be successful, you need to sharpen your storytelling skills.

Let’s start:

Ideal YouTube video length

  • Organic YouTube videos: 10 minutes
  • Pre-roll video ads: 15-20 seconds
  • Bumper ads: 6 seconds

Sure you can go past the 10-min mark for your YouTube videos. Social Media Examiner suggests videos that are 7-15 minutes long perform the best on the platform. Influencers, for instance, create videos that run longer than 15 minutes (see below). But don’t shoot a long video just for the sake of it.

It also helps to keep in mind that the best duration for YouTube video ads depends on your video type and target audience.

A product or service video, for example, catches your potential customers’ attention best when short (and your audience is likely to complete it too).

How-to videos or educational videos, on the other hand, tend to be longer such as this video that runs well past the 18-minute time stamp:

Ideal Facebook video length

  • Organic Facebook video post: 24-90 seconds
  • Facebook Story: up to 20 seconds
  • Facebook ads: less than 15 seconds

If Facebook Live is part of your social media strategy, you can be more flexible with this video type. In fact, the longer, the better as it gives users active on Facebook ample time to join the live conversation. So it’s a good idea to host a live video that runs for 10 minutes minimum.

Ideal Twitter video length

  • Organic Twitter video tweet: 20-45 seconds
  • Video ads: 20-45 seconds

Since the platform commends brevity, it makes sense to create short videos while still driving home the message.

Essentially, you can create a LinkedIn video ad for a maximum duration of 30 seconds (minimum 3 seconds). However, 15 seconds is ideal because your audience on LinkedIn are B2B professionals with tight schedules.

The best part? You can experiment with long-form video on LinkedIn to tell a product or brand story. In fact, a LinkedIn study concluded that long videos can encourage as many clicks as short ones if they tell a complex story effectively. Even so, don’t exceed 10 minutes as the social network considers this the cut-off point.

Ideal Instagram video length

  • In-feed Instagram videos: 26-30 seconds
  • Instagram video ads: 15 seconds
  • Instagram Stories: 15 seconds
  • IGTV or Instagram TV: 10 minutes
  • Reels: 15 seconds (maximum 30 seconds)

As in the case of LinkedIn stories, you can add multiple Story cards for a longer Instagram Story video. However, it’s best to not exceed 45 seconds. In other words, keep your stories to three cards to ensure your audience watches the video in full.

Ideal TikTok video length

  • Native video length: 9-15 seconds

Basically, a TikTok video can’t be shorter than one second or longer than 60 seconds.

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Additionally, if you plan on creating 60-second long videos, you’ll need to string together four 15-second video segments together. Want to go even longer? Upload a video from elsewhere on TikTok and you can go past the 60-second mark.

That said, it’s best to stick with bite-sized video content on TikTok, as that’s what the user base there enjoys the most. Not to forget, the first milliseconds of your content matter the most on the platform to get viewers’ attention, and subsequently, the algorithm’s.

5 key tips to post engaging videos on social media

With optimal video lengths out of the way, let’s get to some essential tips for creating engaging videos for each social media platform.

Always prioritize quality over quantity

Base your social media marketing strategy on top quality video content, even if that means you can’t create a video per day.

An easy way to go about doing so is to focus on providing value. Every time you plan and create a video, ask yourself: does this video offer value to my target viewers?

If the answer is yes, your audience is likely to watch the video till the end, even if it doesn’t fall within the optimal length estimate.

Not to forget, a value-packed video drives more conversions too.

Create a script for your social video before filming and editing it

Writing a video script helps you get your messaging across. It also gives you an idea of how long the video is going to be.

What’s more, you can easily work an engaging hook in the script, and you won’t forget your video’s call to action (CTA) as well.

Optimize the metadata in all your videos according to each platform’s best practices

Your video’s metadata is the supplementary content that goes with videos such as the title, cover image, and summary.

Adding this data helps you optimize your video for ranking on the platform. To make sure you’re making the most of it though, be sure to optimize the metadata based on each channel’s best practices.

For example, create an engaging branded cover and caption to go with videos on Instagram. Leverage platform-specific design elements such as stickers, text, and polls to engage your viewers and get them to watch the complete video.

Add an interactive Question Sticker, for instance, to encourage them to watch till the end. You can also use the Sound-on Sticker to prompt viewers to turn on the volume.

Similarly, add a title bearing the keyword at the start (ideally), a description, tags, and an end screen for videos on YouTube.

On Facebook, on the other hand, you need a thought-out video description to capture your audience’s attention.

Make sure your videos respect the ideal specs for each platform

As you create content for each social media platform, you need to be mindful of the size and other specifications.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to bear in mind:

  • YouTube video specs: 1280 x 720 pixels.
  • Facebook video specs: 1280 x 720 (720p) or 1920 x 1080 (1080p).
  • Twitter video specs: 1280x720 (landscape), 720x720 (square), 720x1280 (portrait).
  • LinkedIn video specs: 4096 x 2304 (maximum).
  • Instagram video specs: 1920 x 1080 pixels.
  • TikTok video specs: 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Can’t keep track of correct size dimensions for each social channel? Don’t worry. The right social media video maker such as PlayPlay can help you select the ideal format for each platform in one click.

You can also create a video and change its format in PlayPlay in one click, so that a single video is good to go on all platforms (provided it suits the audience’s consumption preference).

Always have a sound-off video strategy

People watch videos with their sound off on multiple social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. This means you need to be proactive in ensuring your video message gets across even as their sound is off. How? With the help of captions.

It’s best to add subtitles to your YouTube videos too, as these expand the reach of your video content by making it more accessible to viewers.

Create social media videos with the optimal length

So now that you have the answer to how long should a social media video be, stop speculating and start creating. 🎬

Fancy a head start? Get on to PlayPlay for free and create thumb-stopping videos for any social network in no time.