Short, short, short - the sub-2 minute video is the mantra on everybody's lips more than ever before.
Major league video streamers, Wistia, supported this with the release of their 2015 viewing statistics which suggest ".... videos get abandoned after 2.8 minutes".The rest of Wistia's stats reinforce the view that "short, ie, 2 mins or less, is best if you want to avoid abandonment".
Once this dataset was released into the marketing blogosphere, businesses rushed to ask for 2 minute videos - or even shorter, until the 2 minute marketing video became the new mantra.
So where's the lie in this?
This "abandonment misperception" isn't quite true, and you can test this out for yourself.
Here are two tests - one based on your own eyes & experience - and the other based on evidence.
Test 1 - Your eyes & experience test
Your own eyes & experience will quickly refute the misperception that short = best.
Do this: Take a look on YouTube at a bunch of random corporate videos, digital marketing videos, explainer videos and similar - or check out videos on the sites of your smaller competitors.
I guarantee that within a few minutes you'll be despairing at how clumsily some of them are made (not all mind you)
Most of these weak videos will be the result of shoe string budgets queuing up to buy low cost package formulas.
Even so, I'm often left groaning at the clumsiness of the editing, or I'm rapidly sent to sleep by the absolute boredom of a dull story and a shallow voiceover.
After seeing these videos, it's no surprise clients want shorter programmes. It's no wonder they abandon viewing so early.
Because so many videos are creakingly dull.
There's a whole segment of the video production industry that's manufacturing really third rate boring stuff
- for a whole bunch of clients who know no better. Or at least not yet.
Test 2 - The evidence test
Evidence puts a lie to bed, so consider the following.
A recent survey of seniors execs states:
"Senior executives will watch a 4 minute or longer video if they think there's something in it for them.
The way to communicate this is by front loading the first 30 seconds with incentives to watch for the full 4 minutes."
It seems senior decision makers will watch a long video - if they think it's going to be good
- and seems wholly relevant to their needs.
The test is for you to weigh up this evidence that long videos can work.
What's the answer
The conclusion is that good marketing video will get watched, and bad video will get abandoned (that wasn't too hard, was it).
This leaves today's marketer with 3 answers:
Answer 1 - Make the best video you can afford with the best people you can find.
Make a video people will want to watch.
Payback on a good video is a certainty, if you give the video prominence on your web page.
Answer 2 - Understand your audience better - their needs, their pain.
Make the video about your audience - and not just you.
If your video is super relevant to your audience, and still tells a good story, your audience will watch for longer than the abandonment statistics suggest.
Answer 3 - Ask to see your video producer's last 10 videos. They should be on their YouTube channel, so this is easy.
You need hard proof they make videos worth watching.
Watch these 10 videos and ask yourself if you're really happy with the standard
- or were you falling asleep after the first few viewings?
The simplest truth of all is that if your video is genuinely engaging & relevant then your audience will watch.
The rest is lies & fables swallowed wholesale by the marketing blogosphere, and then daily repeated as "truth".
2 minute marketing videos can be good. And so can longer ones.
The secret is to engage - and keep your audience engaged - for as long as they need in order to understand the video's proposition.
Genuine audience engagement via marketing video is the truth. The rest is the lie.