Should I Make My YouTube Videos A Certain Length

YouTube is the most utilized video platform in the world, with an estimated viewership of over 1 billion people. Establishing a foothold as a content creator requires strategic planning to create the correct type of content for the audience’s needs.

Because of this reach, YouTube is a powerhouse that provides creators with an unparalleled opportunity to connect with audiences and showcase their expertise. However, YouTube is also highly competitive in terms of standing out among all the other content, and one constant question that comes to mind is: Should I make my YouTube videos a certain length?

So, if you’re looking at running and managing a YouTube channel successfully and want to grow your YouTube channel like a boss, one of the most important things you need to consider is whether the length of your videos is optimized for your audience.

For some people, longer-form videos are what they’re searching for, while for others, short-form videos that are quick and entertaining are more in line with what they’re looking for. Understanding user intent and search parameters will help you create content that your audience wants, boosting your channel’s success.

To answer the question about what video length is ideal for the outcomes you may want, various factors may impact that decision, ranging from understanding your audience’s preferences to the increased interest in short-form content and the value of in-depth content that can only be provided through long-form videos.

Navigating this terrain more effectively as a content creator will require you to study and understand your audience’s behavior and how they prefer to consume content.

One of the more crucial aspects of your audience’s behavior you need to understand to connect with them better is to grasp how they consume your videos.

Typically, people who consume long-form videos watch and stream them on larger devices like a TV, computer, and tablet. Short-form videos are usually consumed on smaller devices like smartphones.

That said, the proliferation and some may say dependence on smartphones and other mobile devices, has made short, easy-to-consume content all the rage. With platforms like TikTok, Instagram reels, and YouTube Shorts, consumers have more options than ever.

Recognizing these trends and adapting your content strategy accordingly will help creators develop the type of content to reach audiences more effectively in the future. With that said, answering the question, “Should I make my YouTube videos a certain length?”

The answer is it depends.

Keep in mind that the two formats are completely different but can operate collaboratively for your channels and your audience.

In a nutshell, short-form videos and long-form videos each serve a purpose depending on the target audience and your campaign objectives.

Short-form videos are defined as being quick, typically less than 5 minutes, though many, such as on platforms like TikTok, are 60 seconds or less.

Long-form videos typically have multiple chapters; the average length ranges from 30 to 60 minutes.

So, let’s look at the various factors involved in how your audience may consume your content and the outcome objectives you have in mind to decide the correct type of video and length to create for optimal performance.

The first thing to understand is the value YouTube places on video length and how the audience will consume it.

Understanding The Importance Of Video Length On YouTube

Understanding The Importance Of Video Length On YouTube

The length of your video and content creation should match your audience’s demands and interests. For example, people looking for fun, quirky, entertaining videos are most likely not interested in an hour-long compilation of funny videos, especially if they consume the content on mobile devices.

But longer-form content would be ideal for people looking for in-depth tutorials, allowing you to create solutions in much greater detail than a short, 60-second video.

Another factor is that video length can impact performance and audience engagement, especially if people are looking for specific solutions and you provide something irrelevant in size and tone.

With that said, here’s why video length is essential on YouTube:

  • Audience Retention: The longer you can keep viewers engaged and watching your content, the more relevant and higher ranking your content will receive on the channel.That’s because YouTube’s algorithm recognizes the importance of watch times and prioritizes videos that keep viewers watching for longer.With long-form content, audience retention signals to the platform that audiences receive your content as valuable, improving the ranking of your content and boosting visibility in search results and recommendations.
  • Watch Time: One of the more important metrics that the YouTube platform prioritizes is video watch time, which is defined as the total time viewers spend watching your videos.Since long-form videos take longer to consume, keeping viewers on your content and channel longer will boost how the algorithm analyzes your content and channel ranking and how it will increase and promote your content for greater visibility.
  • Monetization: A significant difference in video length is that the monetization opportunities with long-form videos are potentially more excellent with longer videos than with short-form content.Longer videos have more significant ad placement opportunities, including end cards and CTAs (call-to-actions) that provide increased monetization opportunities.Remember that greater monetization opportunities must be balanced with viewer experience. Don’t go full NASCAR and have ads on every aspect of your video content. Instead, think about the balance of getting your ad placement in line with viewer experience so you don’t turn off potential viewers, leading to higher bounce rates, which can negatively impact your video relevance to the platform.
  • Content Depth: Another thing to remember is that certain types of content are best suited for different lengths.For example, have a cute video of a kid doing something funny in response to a situation. Short-form would be the best opportunity to get the most engagement.But, in other circumstances, content such as tutorials, educational videos, reviews, or in-depth discussions will want to go more in-depth and require longer formats to adequately explain and cover the topic.If you create valuable and helpful content, this comprehensive information can establish your brand as an authority, further building your reputation and the trust of your audience.
  • Mobile Viewing: A recent study from Pew Research shows that over 80% of people consume videos on smartphones. Hence, it’s essential to consider the duration of your video and how the audience will watch it. And since most viewers will be watching on a smart device, where short attention spans are commonplace, devising a strategy of short-form videos that match the user experience is essential.That’s not to say there isn’t value in long-form videos, but creating some short videos that can be attention grabbers and be used as a lead generation to longer-form content may be the best strategy.
  • Experimentation and Analytics: Another factor in determining how long your videos should be is analyzing your retention rates by experimenting with different lengths to help you best understand your audience.Tools like YouTube Analytics will help you track your content performance and engagement, and you can use this data in future content creation for optimal length and view times. Also, having resources such as a full-service YouTube management agency like Raffiti Media that can create, track, and optimize content for the best outcomes is a great idea to help your brand and channel overcome the competitive environment that is the YouTube platform.

Look, ultimately, the length of your videos should match your audience’s expectations, interests, preferences, and the way they are best consuming content.

Creating high-quality, engaging content can be time-consuming, and experimenting with the right length and format is crucial, so having an expert help like Raffiti Media can boost your video performance by being able to analyze quickly what matters most to your audience.

But before we get into what the best option for your content is, there’s another thing you need to consider. That is the audience’s attention span.

The Challenge Of Dwindling Attention Spans

The Challenge Of Dwindling Attention Spans

One of the biggest challenges that creators, educators, and anyone trying to hold attention is that people’s attention spans are shrinking. And one of the biggest challenges to attention spans is being distracted.

And with mobile phones and screens, the rate of distractions is increasing drastically due to the combination of the proliferation of use and the volume of content that can be seen and displayed.

Numerous studies have shown that decreased attention is rapidly growing, and as a content creator, understanding this phenomenon will help you develop more engaging content for your audience.

According to research, the average attention span is approximately 8 seconds, meaning you must do it quickly to grab their attention and make an impression.

In an environment like YouTube, where millions of options are available, grabbing attention is crucial to stand out from your audience.

Here’s a list of reasons why it’s a challenge to hold viewers attention and ways to address it:

  • Content Overload: As a platform, YouTube is the most watched worldwide, offering millions of videos. With so many options and a decreased attention span, viewers are more fickle than ever. The abundance of options can make it challenging for creators to stand out.
  • Scrolling Behavior: Another component is that with platforms like YouTube, consumers are used to scrolling quickly through content, further accelerating the trend of shorter attention spans. Due to this behavior, you’ll need to create a hook within that 8-second (or less) window to grab and hold the viewer’s attention.
  • Mobile Viewing: Since most viewers are accessing video content on YouTube from mobile phones and devices, this increases the number of potential distractions, furthering the development of shorter attention spans. This makes it crucial for creators to optimize content to suit mobile viewing, and to do this, you’ll need to make your content concise and engaging.
  • Algorithmic Competition: The YouTube platform’s algorithm puts a premium on videos with high engagement and long watch times.In order to stand out above all the other content on the platform, creators will need to make videos that match the audience’s preferences of consumption to improve ranking higher with search results.
  • Diverse Audience Preferences: As a platform, YouTube provides something for nearly everyone, which can make it a challenge if creators aren’t aware of their target audience’s specific niche and preferences.The more specific the content is to match the audience’s preferences, the more relevant it is, leading to better engagement, which is a crucial metric for the algorithm.To adapt your content for better engagement and overcome the attention span deficit, YouTube creators can use a strategic approach to content creation that optimizes it for this phenomenon to create better engagement.
  • Create Engaging Introductions: To capture the audience’s attention within the first few seconds, the first thing to consider is crafting engaging introductions to hook their interests. These intros should be clear and communicate what the rest of the content will dive into so the audience can decide whether to continue watching.
  • Keep Content Concise: Another key is creating content that eliminates unnecessary sections that can distract the viewer. Focus on the main points of your content, build around that, and have a script with a clear beginning, middle, and end section. In other words, make content that gets to the point, stays on message, and doesn’t deviate or waste time.
  • Optimized Mobile Viewing: Since the majority of content is consumed on mobile devices, optimize your content to fit the screen accordingly. This includes using clear visuals, legible text, and engaging storytelling techniques that will resonate with mobile phone and smaller screen users.
  • Experiment with Your Video Lengths: Short videos are more appealing to many people with shorter attention spans who are viewing on their mobile devices. Experiment with different video lengths and content types to determine how your audience will most likely consume them.
  • Encourage Interaction: Be willing to create and foster a sense of community around your content, including encouraging your audience to comment, like, and respond to your content. Ask questions, prompt conversations, and comments, and consider interactive elements such as conducting polls or quizzes. Anything that encourages viewers to be more engaged with your content.

When creators understand the challenges of dwindling attention spans, they can better create content creation strategies that match their audience’s attention, preferences, and ways they consume content for better watch times and engagement, which are crucial metrics the platform uses for ranking purposes.

Short Videos Are Ideal For Quick Consumption

Quick, snappy videos are ideal for shorter attention spans. Short videos less than 5 minutes long are excellent for platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and even YouTube. Depending on your target audience and campaign objectives, these videos can be lead generation or standalone content. They can convey a specific message or showcase a quick tutorial or product review.

Long-Form Content For In-Depth Engagement

However, any in-depth discussion should focus on the longer format, which is 10 minutes or longer. The extended format allows for a more comprehensive discussion, breakdown, and overall depth of information on your subject matter. This format is valuable for educational reviews, interviews, documentaries, and complex topics requiring more profound explanations.

Audience Preference And Video Topic

Audience Preference And Video Topic

Ideally, you can create and post content that your audience voraciously consumes. However, with limited attention spans and heightened competition, the ideal length of your videos will depend on your target audience and how they consume content. By understanding your audience’s preferences, you can better provide the type of content they want and how they wish to watch it.

For example, while younger audiences prefer shorter videos, older audiences may prefer more in-depth content that only longer videos can provide for a thorough analysis.

By analyzing your content and pairing it with audience interests, you’ll have better insights into creating content that matches your audience’s attention span, leading to better overall engagement.

Answering The Short And Long (Videos) Of It

When you’re trying to answer, “Should I make my YouTube videos to a certain length?” The answer truly depends on your audience’s preferences and interests.

By understanding where your audience is, how they want their content, and the type of content you’re providing them, you’d better be able to create the perfect length of video to match their interests.

The ideal length of any content will drive views and watch times, meaning that if you’re targeting younger, more mobile (and with less attention span) audiences, short-form content is probably ideal.

However, if crafted correctly, short-form videos can also be used as a lead generation and nurturing touch point toward long-form videos.

But if your audience is targeted for more in-depth content, then long-form content is the format for you.

Ultimately, you’ll want the length of your content to match viewer interest and how they will consume it. When crafting your content, consider the following:

  • Ways of Content Consumption 
  • Audience engagement
  • Content type
  • YouTube’s Algorithm
  • Test and experiment for optimal content
  • Quality content over quantity

It can be a lot of work to create, optimize, and succeed on YouTube, and when you add the need to test and design content around viewer preferences, many content creators are finding they need a team of experts to help them succeed.

That’s where Raffiti Media comes in. We’ve partnered with hundreds of YouTubers to generate thousands of organic views and likes, boosting visibility performance and helping those creators generate success from their channels.

You can check out all our tutorials and pointers on the Raffiti Media Blog to help you succeed, or if you’d like a more hands-on approach with your YouTube channel and get the success it deserves, contact Raffit Media today for a free 1-on-1 strategy call and see how we can boost your visibility and channel performance.

Should I Make My YouTube Videos A Certain Length?