Skip to content






Part 1 - Planning an effective business video

Beating the 2nd cost mistake: Getting the video runtime right


Video runtime, just in case you’re not sure, is the length of your video. Should it be 3 minutes? 2 minutes? 1 minute? 10 minutes? More? Less?

Everyone argues this point, with the popular idea that video has to be as short as possible or else audiences will switch off.

Now I love short videos.

And many video makers and their clients seem terrified of producing a long video.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

The right length is the length that’s relevant to your audience, that delivers the right actions.

If they’re interested in what you’re saying, your proposition, they’ll keep watching.

It’s all about relevance.

For example, if you’re still reading now, it’s because after 1,600 words you still find this relevant to what you're trying to achieve, which is to make an effective business video.

Now try this: A recent survey showed that C Level Executives are happy to watch a 3 or 4 minute video, with two provisos:

1: Tell them it’s going to a be a 3 or 4 or 5 minute video, right at the beginning.

2: Front load the first 30 seconds of the video with benefit so they can see quickly what's in it for them if they stay the course and watch.

Everybody's got time to see a game-changing video.

The only reason people switch off, or abandon the viewing, is because the message is no longer relevant.

The conclusion is:

> Some videos need to be shorter, as the message is powerful & requires only a simple action.

> Some videos need to be longer, as the message is necessarily complex, technical or explains a series of work practices.

For example, when selling a new enterprise-scale technology platform, or bulk inducting contractors to a big new site

So now it’s time to hear my Theory of Watchability. Here goes:

“When a video starts, you need to quickly grab the audience's attention with a strong message and a strong visual they can immediately relate to

- often this is something that bothers them.

You need this to win their attention, their unspoken permission to watch.

Now you have their attention, their permission, retain it. And never lose it.

This means you can tell them as much or as little as you like

- so long as it’s immediately relevant to them, their immediate needs or passions,

- and doesn’t distract with side issues, or trivia or boilerplate, or even distracting whizzy visuals.

They’ll keep watching if you do this. And stay watching.

So keep staying relevant to their issues, their problems as they see it.

And then they’ll get to the end of your video

- and perform the action you require

Bingo. Job done. They got to the end!”

Success is when they get to the end and then do as you ask. Nothing more, Nothing less.

Reaching the end means:

1: all the money you spent on your video is not part-wasted on abandonment or loss of interest

2: the viewer is now on-message and now knows what to do

3: they perform the action you require of them

It’s an extremely simple idea.

Alternatively, I could suggest that “an effective viewing is an unbroken stream of attention from beginning to end, resulting in a desired action.”

We both know that keeping them glued to the screen is the secret to success.

Captive audience or not

You also have to consider whether you have a captive audience or not.

At one extreme you have a social media video on Facebook that can be abandoned after a few seconds.

At the other end you have a roomful of people who are there to watch such as in a sales webinar or worksite site induction.

How captive your audience is matters.

If 50% of Facebook video viewers get 50% of the way through your video, this is a success.

With a captive audience, the values are different. They have to remember the many things you're going to tell them.

Always consider how captive your audience is first, before settling on your messages.


Call: 0044 1695 726887
Rossiter & Co Ltd | Registered in England
Reg. No: 4333515 | VAT No: GB483622044