We’re PMYB, a leading influencer marketing agency that develops and implements influencer strategies for the biggest brands and most-promising startups across the world. That includes global video social media platform, Tik Tok, the world’s number one app for content creators (which recently merged with musical.ly). We understand that in order to conquer social media, mastering video is so important. We’ve put together to assist you when deciding the length of your influencer video ads.
Undoubtedly, influencer video ads are becoming an integral part of wider marketing strategies for companies. In this era of decreased attention spans and reduced interest in reading, video has become a more dominant medium for spreading the message of brands.
As we reported in our recent article, 46 Video Content Marketing Stats and Facts, businesses and marketers who used video grew their revenue 49% faster than non-video users in 2017. 97% of marketers believe that video helped increase user understanding of their product or service. Also, 76% think that it helps increase both traffic and sales.
Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by the power video has on consumers. Television ads were once seen as the pinnacle of advertising success. They still can be effective in driving awareness, particularly, when targeting Baby Boomers. But in terms of measurement and cost-effectiveness, digital wins almost everytime.
And even Baby Boomers are now spending more time on YouTube and other social networks each year.
However, not all social networks are the same. You cannot just transfer your TV ads to Instagram and expect them to work. Similarly, influencer video ads that succeed on YouTube will not necessarily work on Facebook Video or in an Instagram Story. You need to adapt your influencer video ads for each social video platform – That includes the length of them.
Average Watch Times on Social Networks
Most people are only prepared to devote a limited time to watch videos that appear in their social streams. They will take a quick look to see what the video’s about. If it’s on a topic that interests them or a person that interests them, they may watch a short section and move on. People only view the full duration of videos that powerfully capture their attention, however.
For this reason, the bulk of influencer video ads shared are short. It’s sensible to only share longer videos to people further down the sales funnel. For example, sometimes we produce influencer unboxing videos to convert potential customers who have already shown interest in a product. They want to see what they will find in the box if they make the purchase.
People are more likely to watch longer videos, like unboxing videos, on the certain video platforms such as YouTube. Effective influencer video marketers adapt the videos they share to match the network they use.
At PMYB, we ensure that almost every decision we make is informed by solid data. And that’s what has allowed us to build high levels of trust with our clients.
1. YouTube Videos – 3 to 5 Minutes
YouTube differs from most networks in this article, being a specialist video platform. It doesn’t just have a newsfeed for videos, it’s also a search engine.
If somebody likes a particular influencer, they will subscribe to their channel. After that, YouTube will recommend new videos on a user’s subscribed channels whenever they open the app.
You might think that YouTube would be ideal for very long videos (over 10 minutes long). But in reality, even the majority of YouTube viewers aren’t prepared to spend so long watching videos, unless they are about a subject that greatly interests them.
Hubspot believes you’re likely to receive most engagement on YouTube influencer video ads if they are no more than 2 minutes long. However, based on our findings anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes can be ideal for keeping your audience’s attention when incorporating influencer brand endorsements. It depends on a number of factors, including the demographic, the type of video, type of product and campaign objective.
When investigating we discovered that in the top ten most popular YouTube videos, the shortest was 42 seconds, and the longest was 9 minutes and 15 seconds. And unsurprisingly the average video length was 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
However, you shouldn’t completely avoid creating longer videos. Of course, you can still share them to push people further down the sales funnel. If we look at the general statistics for YouTube, the average length is nearer 14 minutes. To quote Greg Jarboe, president of SEO PR, “On YouTube, you search for the video because you have a problem to solve or there’s something you want to learn or you just want to be entertained.” If you share a video that meets that criterion you can get away with it being longer.
2. Instagram Posts – 30 seconds
Instagram now has three ways you can share videos on their network. You have been able to share video in a traditional Instagram post since 2013. You could initially share a 15-second video, in much the same way you could share a photograph.
Sure, that initial 15-second limit has now grown to a minute. But few people who scroll through their standard Instagram feed will spend a full 60 seconds watching a video unless it particularly intrigues them.
Hubspot found 30-second videos to be the sweet spot on Instagram. People scroll through their Instagram feeds for a quick visual fix. They are unlikely to spend more than 30 seconds before they want to move onto the next item in their feed.
Traditionally influencers have used Instagram to share trailers to longer videos they place on YouTube. It will be interesting to see if video influencers begin using traditional Instagram video posts as trailers for longer videos on IGTV.
3. Instagram Stories – 15 seconds
By definition, Instagram Stories tells a tale in a series of still images and short video clips. The maximum length of any particular video clip in your Story is 15 seconds.
Instagram Stories differs from all of the other platforms (apart from Snapchat obviously) in that your Story only remains visible for 24 hours.
You can add as many video clips as you like to your Story. Theoretically, you could break a long video into a sequence of 15-second clips.
However, if you want maximum engagement, you do not want the entire Story to be too long. If you’re going to share a long video on Instagram, it is better to use the new IGTV platform.
Connor Voss of Veteran Home Loans believes, “When viewers are engaging with Stories, they’re expecting to see video and, often, to interact—so placing a video ad [within] Instagram Stories can reach users who are more open to watching videos and to swiping up to see more products or read the rest of an article.”
Instagram also provides you with the opportunity to live stream video for up to an hour. A copy of your live stream is added to your Instagram Stories and Live section once you have completed your stream. It remains visible for 24 hours. Although this video can last up to an hour, you can’t expect casual viewers to devote that much of their time to your replay. You will generally target these viewers to your existing customers or people who are close to buying your product.
4. Instagram’s IGTV – 2 to 3 minutes
IGTV is Instagram’s new answer to YouTube, offering a place that influencers, brands, and indeed any user can share longer videos. We recently discussed how global brands have begun to use IGTV.
It is probably too early to tell yet what the optimal viewing length is for influencer video ads on IGTV. Early birds experimenting on the platform tend to repurpose existing videos.
However, there is one notable difference compared to YouTube. IGTV is for vertically dimensional videos. That limits how many videos you can bring across successfully from YouTube.
Ultimately, IGTV has similar goals to YouTube. IGTV videos should ideally be longer than those shared on traditional Instagram and Instagram Stories, as per it’s reason for existence. But it is likely that short influencer videos of 2-3 minutes will receive the most engagement.
5. Facebook Videos – 1 Minute
Although Facebook is the grandfather of modern social networks, they didn’t launch their video platform until 2007. This was two years after YouTube arrived on the scene.
A typical Facebook newsfeed consists of a mishmash of text statuses, images and video posts. Facebook continually modifies its algorithm to make each user’s feed more relevant to his or her interests.
Facebook users love short, snappy videos. Although they are prepared to spend more time watching them than on sites like Twitter, the optimal time for a Facebook influencer video appears to be one minute before the typical user moves to the next cat meme in their feed.
Influencer videos tend to perform better on Facebook than video ads posted on official Facebook business pages. This is because Facebook only shows a small percentage of posts from pages in newsfeeds nowadays.
6. Twitter Videos – 45 Seconds
The essence of Twitter is brevity. Alright, it has moved on from its traditional 140 character tweets, and posts closer to the new 280-character limit are now typical. But most people still prefer shorter tweets, and some still resist tweets much longer than the traditional norm.
This means that there is no benefit to sharing a long video on Twitter. It is better to restrict your videos to 45-second clips.
The Effectiveness of Different Types of Influencer Video Endorsement
The most significant requirement to create an effective influencer ad is that is aligned with the influencers usual content.
There are several reasons for this. Firstly, people don’t like intrusive ads. They only choose to watch videos from influencers because they trust them and want to see what he or she has to say. If they believe that their influencers are merely peddling products, they will lose respect for them, and cease watching their videos.
Another point to consider when working on YouTube (and presumably IGTV over time) is how videos appear in the search engine. A 3-minute video that most people watch the entirety of will be more likely to rank better than a 10-minute video, where only the first couple of minutes typically get watched. You should consider the algorithm of each social platform you’re tackling. That’s even what we’ve done with this article (Google tends to favour longer articles).
What Time and Day Should You Post Your Influencer Ad Videos?
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what time of the week your influencers publish new videos on YouTube or IGTV. These social networks tend to push influencer content to viewers at all times. That’s because these platforms know that influencer content is the most engaging content online.
Many influencers will operate a set schedule and upload new videos at a consistent time. Regular followers tend to know their schedule and can expect when to find new videos.
For traditional social networks, with social feeds of different types of content, the publishing time is more important for maximum engagement. For these networks, it makes little difference whether it is an influencer video being uploaded, images, or simple text posts.
Sprout Social has analysed data from a range of social media users to determine the best posting times for social visibility. While these tests focus on American consumers in their Central Time Zone (CTZ) the data is likely to be just as relevant here in the UK.
According to their 2018 research, the optimal posting times for peak engagement for most businesses are:
- Facebook – Wednesday at noon and 2 p.m. and Thursday at 1 and 2 p.m.
- Instagram – Wednesday at 3 p.m., Thursday at 5 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 to 4 p.m. and Friday at 5 a.m.
- Twitter – Friday 9 to 10 a.m.
Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, In-Feed and Post-Roll Endorsements
Influencer video ads usually aren’t purely ads. Influencers tend to just incorporate endorsements into their videos – This is the most effective way to drive results on the likes of YouTube.
YouTube has offered in-stream video ads for some time, and Facebook has recently added this as well. Newsfeed video ads are paid standalone ads that appear in users’ news feeds, rather than within another video. With most people having short attention spans, for a marketing message to be effective, it needs to appear early in a video. That means that if you intend to include an ad in a video, as distinct from creating an advertising video, making it a pre-roll ad makes sense.
The longer your video is, the fewer people will watch it until the end. This makes post-roll endorsements particularly problematic. Fewer viewers will make it that far through a video of five minutes or longer.
At PMYB, we tend to incorporate the combination of a quick pre-roll and longer mid-roll endorsement in our influencer video ad content. We have found this to be particularly effective.
Facebook’s Viewership Investigation
Earlier this year Facebook published how people consume different types of video advertising (both on their own platform and those of their competitors). They found that when people watched videos in their feeds on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, there was a relatively gradual drop-off of viewers the more prolonged the video.
For videos with skippable pre-roll and mid-roll ads, you keep peoples’ attention for the non-skippable portion of the ad. Then there is a big drop as most of the audience skips through to the main video. After that, there is a gradual decline, the longer the video.
Non-skippable pre and mid-roll ads lead to a slower drop-off rate. People choose to watch these because they see the video as being relevant to them. Hence they are prepared to put up with any unskippable ads.
With Stories, people look at the first slide. If they like it, they generally watch the rest. If they don’t, they usually move on straight away.
How Long Your Influencer Video Ads Should Be
To conclude, it’s pretty clear that the length of influencer video ads should be determined by a number of factors. That includes the social media platform, the demographic, the brand’s industry and the way the audience locates the video.
If your audience is finding your video through a search engine, they are more likely going to sit through the entirety of the video.
Additionally, one more thing you should consider, which we haven’t yet mentioned in the article, is how engaging the influencer you are utilising is. PMYB utilises Chromo-Influencers™, the most in-demand influencers who have struck genuine accords with the people who follow them. Their audiences aren’t just numbers, they are genuine fans.
To learn more about Chromo-Influencers™ and how we developed our disruptive way of identifying them, read here.