Ever wonder how much of  a typical online marketing video is actually watched? Wistia shared their findings which upheld the same mantra I’ve been repeating for several years now. Shorter is better.

The above graph sums it up very clearly. In videos 0-30 seconds somewhere around 82% of your video gets watched or roughly 18% of your audience is clicking away from the video. At 30-60 seconds roughly a quarter of your audience is leaving and at 1-2 minutes over 30% are dropping off. The key takeaway here is your business video should be built to serve a specific purpose. The longer you make it, the less people will watch it to completion. So rather than cramming everything about your product into one video, break up that video into snackable content that will keep your audience engaged.

This graph sums up what the audience engagement is in videos of varying lengths. In my original post a few years ago, 10.39% of viewers clicking away after ten seconds and 53.56% leaving after one minute.  What’s interesting to note here is that this number hasn’t changed much for shorter videos, but for longer videos you’ll notice the dropoff is precipitous. What this is showing, is that most of the audience is deciding in the first few seconds whether or not to watch and once they make the commitment, the engagement sort of levels off. The other dip you’ll notice is toward the end when the videos are wrapping up. This can probably be attributed to meandering wrap ups and summarizations at the end of videos.  To avoid this, in addition to making sure you keep your videos brief and to the point, keep your call-to-action at the end of the video direct and to the point. In other words be direct with what you want the viewer to take for a next step whether that is to sign up for a demo, make a donation or to watch another video that takes a deeper dive into the product offering.

I’m usually not a fan of animated GIFs, but this one is pretty cool. What this is doing is visualizing that audience engagement by length of video. The solid orange line represents the average for that video length while the faded lines around it represent the engagement graph for actual videos. What the key takeaway here is just because you make a video short or long doesn’t automatically guarantee you’re going to get the results you expect. There are short videos with incredibly high dropoffs in here and there are longer videos with very high engagement. Making it shorter will increase your odds of watch to completion, however proper script writing to appeal to your demographic is critical to your video’s success. If you are primarily selling to teenagers, don’t write the script in stuffy corporate speak…make sure it speaks to them like a peer would.

The statistics bear out that little has changed since my original post several years ago. Shorter videos are still providing a higher engagement level than longer videos. If you’ve got a lot to say and your message is more complex, consider breaking it down into shorter videos that can be linked together.

Think of your video content like your website. Would you put everything you have to say on the home page of your website? No, because the end user would get bored scrolling down your one page and it doesn’t get them to interact and slowly develop that relationship with you brand through browsing your content. So why should your video content strategy be any different?

Thanks to Wistia doing the heavy lifting putting these statistics together by compiling millions of data points from videos they are hosting over the last couple years. You can read the full report on the Wistia website.


Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts