Video has been on the rise in recent years on the web and the trend is not decreasing. Online videos now account for 50% of mobile traffic. 78% of Internet users watch at least one online video per week, and 55% watch them daily.
But not all videos are created equal, and only a few manage to hold the viewer's interest until the end. As there is more and more content on the Internet, our selective power becomes stronger and stronger, to the detriment of content that is considered boring or irrelevant to our interests.
Thus 65% of viewers watch more than three quarters of the video: 
   •20% of visitors stop watching a video after 10 seconds or less and about 30%             after 30 seconds.
   •45% of visitors stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% after 2 minutes.
   •Videos of 15 seconds or less are shared 37% more often than those between 30           seconds and 1 minute.
The figures show us that the trend towards shorter and shorter formats would be a simple solution to gain audience.
But the reality is quite different.
Short videos? not necessarily. Hence the importance of content.
If the time factor alone can be the cause of a strong audience, we can also point to the heart of what a video is on the web: its content.
Indeed, a so-called "meme" video will often fulfill the number 1 criterion to be unanimously appreciated: entertainment (or even emotion) and this whatever its duration (although often quite short).
On the other hand, it is easy to imagine that an explainer video will only touch a few people. But there is another factor that we often forget when we talk about audience:
the target !
Indeed, isn't it better to make few views but reach the right people? those who are likely to want to know more? And to do this, it's better that this instructive video is seen until the end.
"Anyone who teaches me deserves my respect, 
honoring and attention."
- Sonia Rumzi
By bringing the right information to the right person but without being too long or boring, your video will be seen in its entirety by the target audience, which is essential when trying to reach a particular category of people.
Add to that an attractive form and it's done ;-)
Its structure, its rhythm and finally its originality are also crucial aspects. 
That's why at Pixileon we strive to adapt the narrative to the content and we always try to distinguish ourselves visually from other productions in order to capture the viewer's attention more easily. 

Prodern Video ©PIXILEON

There is no ready-made recipe telling us what is the ideal time for such or such type of video and such type of audience, but here are nevertheless some recommendations to define a relevant duration:

Define the target:
This is the first thing to do: who is my message aimed at, who would be interested in the content of my clip? are they young? in this case we will prefer very short videos of 30 to 45 sec or even animated gifs of 20 sec that can be shared easily. On the other hand, is the target audience older (e.g. retired people, people specializing in a particular field doing research) in this case we can turn to longer formats of 1 to 2 minutes for example.

Define the moment:
It seems obvious that between a person who quickly checks his facebook wall or his twitter feed at lunch time and a person surfing on an article on vacation or on the weekend, the attention time will differ. Think about when the video will be featured, this will also have an impact on its duration. For example, if it is an animated greeting card featuring your brand during the holiday season, there is no reason why it cannot be particularly long.

Define the content: 
Will it be a marketing video? a data-visualization? an advertisement? or a motion design video combining more or less the previous categories? (for more info on the different types of videos go to my article "what is motion design?") will it be an instructive content? or entertaining? both?
For a marketing video whose purpose is to be broadcast on social networks, it seems quite obvious to make sure that the speech is brief, we are now bombarded with content that is often automatically triggered on social networks and the less the video will be long, the faster we can move to another content. This one should not exceed 30 seconds for a simple content and around 1 minute for a more sophisticated and complex content but in this case it must be strong in terms of originality and emotionally engaging.
In case of a purely instructive content, the duration, if attempted to be less than 3 or 4 minutes, is of little importance. Indeed, as mentioned above, as long as the video deals with a specific subject, it will be seen in its entirety since it is the target audience that will seek the information or that will be attracted to it by a social network and will watch it. The goal here is not the number, but the "quality" of the audience. 
If the content is purely entertaining, and will mainly serve to increase brand awareness among a wider audience: it is better to stick to videos of less than a minute with quality content.
Once again, everything is linked: the larger the target, the greater the risk of boredom and therefore of "zapping". We are not talking about music videos which are themselves constrained by the format of the title itself.

This 45 sec animated video was posted on a specific period : holidays

In conclusion, the length of a video depends on many factors, and these factors will guide you towards the format to choose and not the other way around.
It's not because the trend is towards less attention span that you won't be able to captivate your target audience with your content if the video is longer, as long as it is interesting, engaging and speaks to the right audience.
In fact, we sometimes redirect our clients to match the length of the video to the target audience and its content.

Bonus Tip !
How do I know how long my video will be based on my script? (if it is already written):
Once you have defined the ideal time of your video according to the criteria listed above and you have already written the script of your video, and even better if it is the text that will be used as a basis for the voice over; there is only one thing to do to know if you "are in time": Read your text out loud and time yourself! 
The method is almost foolproof (especially in case of a voice-over). 
Give yourself 10 to 15 seconds of leeway, and if you are completely out of time, then you know what you have to do: reduce, shorten, simplify! One thing is certain in this field, the simpler a speech is, the clearer it is and the more easily it is assimilated.
Your subject matter is too long? don't panic: cut it into several very short videos :-)

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