Last year, we played more than a half million minutes of video on Alaska.org and client websites promoting all kinds of companies: cruise lines, hotels, tour operators, and more. What length videos will Alaska website visitors watch? We’d like to share some interesting discoveries with you.
#1: You have 10 seconds to grab them
Unlike entertainment videos created for YouTube, there isn’t time for a long intro or build-up in a marketing video: 12% of viewers leave within 10 seconds. If you can keep the viewer through that critical first hurdle, though, you’ve got them for at least another 20 seconds (see chart below). We can help you keep viewers watching by shooting gripping footage; using an edgy editing style; and setting up a story line that viewers will simply have to see through to its conclusion.
#2: Keep service information separate
Nothing creates an emotional connection or converts website visitors like well-produced video. But including purchase information in the story line creates two problems: it ruins the flow of the video, and it drives down the opportunity for conversion. Your video player should include, at a minimum, an ever-present “book now” or “more information” link, which should live in the player itself. That way, when the video is e-mailed or shared on Facebook or YouTube, the booking link travels with it.
Side note: Putting your video on YouTube is good for building awareness. But putting a YouTube player on your site has drawbacks, most notably that it can display links to your competitors’ websites on your own website.
#3: Close the deal in 60 seconds
70% of your viewers are still with you at 60 seconds; only 35% remain at 120 seconds. This doesn’t mean your video needs to end at the 60-second mark, but you must get your core message across by then. This chart tells the story.
But there’s more to the story. Viewers further along in the purchase-decision process—arguably your most valuable customers—will watch longer. We’ve produced videos for clients with different needs. Sometimes clients want to target customers evaluating alternatives just prior to purchase. And we know that 66% to 75% of these hot prospects will watch a 105-second video in its entirety.
Here’s an example of the viewing profile for one such video. Notice how different the curve is from the one above.
#4: There are no absolutes
The average length for the 25 most popular YouTube videos is 3 minutes, 49 seconds. Why so long? Because a large part of this audience is looking for video entertainment. Online marketers don’t have the same luxury. Our customers are in a decision-making frame of mind. Keep the viewing context in mind when determining the ideal length for an online video.