It’s likely that you have heard the old adage “less is more” at some point. Although this saying is a bit of a cliche, it can be helpful to remember when considering the length of your animated video. As viewers become more and more accustomed to the instant gratification of online content, attention spans are dwindling.
According to a study conducted by the Associated Press, the average American attention span was a mere 12 seconds in 2000. By 2012, the average attention span had shortened to just 9 seconds (thanks Keyboard Cat). Notice a trend? This may not paint your audience in a positive light, but it’s data you can’t ignore. In general, shorter is often better when it comes to video content, but the length of your content depends on your purpose.
Here are some helpful guidelines for using animated video:
Use a Hook
Use short videos with a hook to quickly engage customers. Videos with an interesting hook can serve a variety of purposes from briefly introducing a product or company to piquing the curiosity of your customer. Ideally, the hook will inspire your audience to learn more, explore additional content, or perhaps even make a purchase. The ideal length for a this type of video is under 30 seconds and it is most commonly used on website homepages or as commercials for retargeting ad campaigns.
Provide Valuable Information
Informational videos are used to explain or give more information about a product or service. In these cases, your audience will likely have a slightly longer attention span. The customer probably sought out this video for a specific information purpose, so it is likely that they will expect it to be a little longer. Informative videos can last anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or two and should address specific questions customers may have about your product or service.
Break it Up
Avoid lengthy videos (longer than 3 minutes) regardless of content. It's common for business owners to think that more information is better, but we already know this is untrue. Don’t try to put every little piece of information into a video. Some information is best conveyed through written content on your website or through social media outlets. If you feel like you have a lot of content that needs to be in a video, the best advice is to break it up into smaller, easily digestible pieces. Many businesses take advantage of this and create a series of short animated videos for content marketing purposes.
Bonus: Consider Attention Span
Since we know that audience attention span is very short, it’s important to put your message in the beginning of your animated video. If a viewer bails at 15 seconds and the most important information is at the end of the video, then you are out of luck. By front-loading videos with the most important information, or with a hook, you can avoid this common mistake. If you're really aggressive, try creating even shorter videos that can be used in conjunction with social networks such as Vine. At six seconds long, Vine videos provide the perfect bite-sized chunk of content and are becoming increasingly popular among the world's largest brands.
Animated video can be a great addition to your marketing efforts, but you must consider your audience's attention span and the type of content they will most enjoy. Lengthy videos may be appealing to you, but customers are guaranteed to lose interest in long videos. Take time to match the content type with video length and you will experience much more success with your animated video.