4 Insights You Need To Know About Video Length On Social Media

In theory, the answer to how long your brand’s video content should be on social media should always be the shorter, the better. For example, a 2015 Microsoft study found the average adult attention span is only 8 seconds, while TikTok has exploded in popularity, with 1 billion active global users, in large part because they placed tight limitations on how long videos can be. 

However, digging into the data, it’s clear that optimal video length is far more situational than just making the blanket statement that less is more. Not every piece of video is just an “average” level of interest to the audience, and not all ideas can be best communicated in just 8 seconds. Here are the top 4 insights marketers need to know about video length on social media. 

Insight #1: Optimal Video Length Varies By Social Platform 

Each social media platform has its own culture, and it would be a mistake to assume that the right video length for brand content would be the same across multiple audiences. For instance, looking at the 10 best performing video posts for episodic TV shows between January – August 2021; their average video length was 47 seconds long on TikTok,  1:20 minutes on Twitter, 4:17 minutes on Facebook,  and 4:11 minutes on YouTube. 

Nickelodeon’s top performing video so far in 2021 has been a 16 second clip, where Charli D’Amelio got slimed. That video got nearly 9.4 million responses on TikTok.  When that footage was shared on YouTube, it  included more build up to the slimming and was expanded to 1:05 minutes, receiving an additional 22,545 responses. Since the audience goes on YouTube expecting longer videos compared to TikTok, the additional time made sense.  

Insight  #2: Video Length Is Vertical Specific 


Get in there any way you can.

♬ original sound – benandjerrys

While the average length of top performing TikTok videos was 47 seconds for TV shows, between January – August 2021 the average length for the 10 best performing video posts for CPG Food on TikTok was 13 seconds long. The best performing CPG Food TikTok video was a Ben and Jerry’s clip about trying to scoop into frozen solid ice cream. The video clocked in at 9 seconds. 

In the same time period, the top 10 CPG Food posts averaged 1:42 minutes on YouTube,  0:34 seconds on Facebook, and 0:29 seconds on Twitter. 

That data just highlights how critical it is to benchmark your performance against brands in your own vertical to determine the most effective video length for your brand content. The audience’s attention span for a trailer of the latest Marvel movie and a video about heartburn medication is not going to be the same, and an apples to apples comparison is needed for length optimization. 

Insight #3. Let Influencers Dictate Video Length In Partnership Posts 

When working on paid partnerships, it’s important video length be at least in the ballpark of what the content creator normally posts on social, both because that’s what the influencer is most experienced at producing and because that’s what their audience expects of them.    


From #SephoraSquad member @christineleeee: Easy claw-clip hairstyles! Which one is your fave? #SephoraSquad

♬ original sound – sephora

For instance, almost all the TikToks videos by beauty influencer Christine Le are between 6-32 seconds. The most popular Sephora TikTok between January – August 2021 was 22 seconds long and had 4.5 million views, featuring Christine Le showing off claw-clip hairstyles. Additionally, a Christine Le TikTok sponsored by Sephora showing off all night setting spray which was 14 seconds long, received 14.8 million views. These partnerships posts worked in large part because they were in the exact same format of Christine Le non-sponsored posts.   

Meanwhile, the comedy troop Dude Perfect tends to make videos that are slightly longer. For example, their best performing Instagram post so far this year generating 402,512 responses was about a baseball-basketball hybrid stunt and was 2:11 minutes long. Therefore, it makes sense that Dude Perfect’s sponsored content would be longer as well. Their top performing sponsored content video on Instagram with 103,685 responses was a 48 seconds long promotion for Nerf Curve Blasters, with their sponsored content posts being as long as 1:14 minutes.     

Insight #4. Certain Types Of Content Require Longer Video Length 

While generally the trend is shorter videos equal higher engagement, situationally there’s still types of content that are more effective at a longer length, such as makeup tutorials, unboxing videos, or other “how to” content. For example, the top performing YouTube video by Fenty Beauty between August  22, 2020 – August 21, 2021 with 748,030 views was a Tutorial Tuesday featuring Rihanna putting on powder foundation that clocked in at a little over two minutes. 


FallonFlashback: @vindiesel shows off the various languages he had to learn when voicing Groot #FallonTonight #VinDiesel

♬ original sound – FallonTonight

Also videos from the entertainment industry such as film trailers or talk show clips often perform better when they’re longer. For example, so far in 2021, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon post that generated the most responses on TikTok was Vin Diesel talking as Groot in different languages which was 1:23 minutes long. Meanwhile, the top performing film content on Facebook between January – September 2021 was the second F9 trailer which got 1,910,366 responses and was 3:20 minutes long.  

That’s not to suggest that in all instances, film videos should be over a minute long. Just look at the top 5 TikToks from films so far in 2021. They were all from F9 and between 6-22 seconds long. It’s important to analyze owned and competitor social media posts at scale to understand the exact circumstances where shorter is better.

For example, consider a call to action like “Tell us you’re a Fast & Furious fan without telling us you’re a Fast & Furious fan”. That can be communicated in 6 seconds, while an actual trailer requires more time to communicate the movie’s actual story. 

Looking for more insights on how to properly analyze video length on social media? Request a ListenFirst demo today!     

What Social Networks Were The Most Talked About In 2020

Whether it was a complete game changer or accelerating trends that were already in motion; the pandemic dramatically impacted what social media platforms we were using and discussing during the past year. To help quantify which social media platforms fell in and out of favor during 2020; we used our social listening abilities on Twitter to identify the following 5 insights your brand needs to know about the most widely used social media platforms.  

Methodology: Minus owned Tweets, looking at the number of times a social media platform was mentioned on Twitter between 2018 – 2020. 

Insight #1. Discussion about Facebook Decreased Dramatically 

There were 261,423,808 Tweets that mentioned Facebook in 2020; a decrease of -66% from 2019. It does not appear this trend is being driven by the pandemic, as starting in Q1 2019; the conversation around Facebook has decreased from the previous quarter 6 out of 7 times.  

Snapchat and LinkedIn were the other social networks that were discussed less in the past year. There were 19,512,228 Tweets mentioning Snapchat in 2020, down -7% from 2019. Meanwhile, there were 16,447,966 Tweets mentioning LinkedIn in 2020 which was a -6% decrease from 2019. In both cases, Snapchat and LinkedIn were less discussed for the second consecutive year. 

Insight #2. The Conversation Around TikTok Is Way Up, Particularly By Gen X 

There were 129,168,704 Tweets mentioning TikTok in 2020, which was a 360% increase from 2019. While President Trump’s attempts to ban TikTok in the United States certainly impacted the volume of conversation around the video app, it wasn’t the primary driver of that trend. There were 3,689,862 Tweets mentioning TikTok and either “Trump” or “Ban” in 2020; meaning the topic only accounted for about 4% of the increase in discussion about TIkTok. 

With 2020 being the year that TikTok became more mainstream, the demographics of people aware of the app has changed as well. In 2018, the audience for people Tweeting about TikTok was 74% Millennials and 12% Generation X.  By 2020, that had shifted to the audience for people Tweeting about TikTok being 57% Millennials and 29% Generation X. TikTok is now something on the radar of people born between 1965 and 1980; much more than was the case even 2 years ago.

Insight #3. Interest In Video And Messaging Exploded In 2020 

Especially with people stuck at home during the pandemic starving for entertainment; there was a significant uptick in the  real-time conversation around social media networks that are video focused in the past past year. For example, there were 1,330,442,552 Tweets that mentioned YouTube in 2020; a 48% increase from that number in 2019.  Similarly, there were 117,303,382 Tweets mentioning Twitch in 2020, an 86% increase from the volume of Twitch related Tweets in 2019.

There was also an increase in Tweets about social media networks that are messaging based. For instance, 72,317,756 Tweets mentioned WhatsApp in 2020; which was a 31% increase from 2019. Meanwhile Discord, which is a VoIP, instant messaging and digital distribution platform was discussed in 26,481,473 Tweets, which is up 135% from the volume of Tweets mentioning them in 2019.

Insight #4. The Conversation About Instagram Was Flat

Despite 2020 generally involving much less hanging out with other people, meaning fewer traditional opportunities to take traditional Instagram photos, there were 528,481,055 Tweets mentioning Instagram in 2020 which is statistically a 0% change from 2019. Tumblr was the other social media platform where the real-time conversation about them was essentially flat during the pandemic. It was mentioned in 23,179,798 Tweets in 2020, just a -1% decrease from 2019.   

Insight #5. The Twitter Audience For Pinterest, Twitch, and Discord Skews The Most Towards Gen Z 

Since not all age groups use Twitter equally, there are some considerable limitations in trying to determine the generational makeup of other social networks using their audience data. That stipulated, directionally there are some conclusions that can be established by looking at the audience of people posting about specific social networks. For instance, looking at Q4 2020, the audience of people Tweeting about LinkedIn was only 3% in the Generation Z age group. No audience around the Twitter mentions of any other social media platforms we checked in Q4 2020 has a lower percentage of Generation Z followers. 

On the other hand, the audience of people Tweeting about Pinterest, Twitch, and Discord was 7% from Generation Z during Q4 2020 ; the highest such total during that time period. That doesn’t mean that the audience for Pinterest, Twitch, and Discord is only 7% Generation Z; it’s presumably quite higher. However for brands that are looking to reach Generation Z through social media platforms, it is an indication that Pinterest, Twitch, and Discord merit further investigation while LinkedIn would likely be a dead end. 

Want more social listening based insights on how your brand should approach social media? Request a ListenFirst demo now! 

Learning From #StopHateForProfit July And If The Boycott Is Carrying Into August

With more than 1,100 businesses ultimately signing up for the Anti-Defamation League’s  #StopHateForProfit Boycott of Facebook and Instagram ads in July 2020, the campaign succeeded at getting both the press and the public’s attention. However, what facts actually changed on the ground for brands around social media? Now that July has ended, we answer those questions as well as look at if the boycott is continuing on into August. 

Here are the 5 most interesting insights ListenFirst found. 

Insight #1. Brands Shared –67% Less New Facebook Ads In July 

Methodology: Looking at the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands from the ListenFirst Data Co-op launched between July 2020 compared to the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands launched between July 2019.

Data from the ListenFirst Data Co-op shows that the #StopHateForProfit boycott resulted in brands sharing -67% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram in July 2020 compared to July 2019. While there are reports of a few companies increasing their Facebook spend in July, on the whole the level of brand participation in the Stop Hate For Profit boycott was fairly dramatic. 

Insight #2. The Facebook Boycott Isn’t Ending Just Because July Did 

Early evidence indicates that brands are advertising less going into August. During August 1-2, 2020; ListenFirst Data Co-op brands shared -97% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram compared to August 1-2, 2019. Adjusting that for the fact that August began on the weekend, brands shared -73% less new Facebook and Instagram ads during the first weekend of August 2020 compared to the first weekend of August 2019. 

Insight #3. There’s No Indication There Were Less Organic Posts Because Of The Boycott 

Methodology: Measuring the volume of new posts 485 Top Advertisers posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr during July 2020 compared to July 2019.

Looking at 485 Top Advertisers, they shared 54,540 new posts on social media in July 2020 which was an -11% decrease from the number of posts they shared in July 2019. Broken down by platform, Top Advertiser brands shared -20% less posts on Twitter, -14% less Instagram posts, and -1% less Facebook posts in July 2020 compared to July 2019.  While clearly Top Advertiser brands were sharing less organic posts across the board in July 2020, Facebook was the platform where Top Advertisers were the most hesitant to cut back on the amount of new posts they shared. 

Brands refusing to post ads on Facebook in July meant exactly that and didn’t extend to Top Advertiser brands also scaling back the amount of organic posts they were sharing on Facebook during the month.  At the same time, since 2018 we’ve seen a long term trend of Top Advertisers posting less organic posts on social platforms, which speaks to why the number of new posts on Twitter and Instagram are down year over year. 

Insight #4. The Ban Likely Did Affect Facebook Engagement

Methodology: ListenFirst Social Engagement measures the volume of post responses (likes, reactions, comments, shares, retweets, replies) and fan growth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram around 485 Top Advertisers brands during July 2020 compared to July 2019.

Overall, ListenFirst social engagement for Top Advertiser brands was up 7%  in July 2020 compared to July 2019, but at closer examination that growth has nothing to do with Facebook. Comparing July in 2020 to July 2019; Top Advertisers saw social engagement increase by 7% on Instagram, while social engagement decreased by -21% on Facebook. 

Since the social engagement signals of post responses and fan growth can both be impacted by paid amplification; Facebook engagement is likely down so significantly for Top Advertiser brands because their Facebook page and posts were much less likely to be amplified in July.  For instance, between January – June 2020 , Top Advertiser brands increased the amount of social engagement around them on Facebook by 12% compared to January – June 2019. Without that paid boost, Facebook engagement decreased. 

Insight #5. Sports, Not Summer (Streaming) Movies, Behind Lift In Instagram Engagement 

That Instagram social engagement around Top Advertiser brands was up 7% during July 2020 compared to July 2019 was a new and positive development during quarantine. For example, between April – June 2020; Top Advertisers saw their Instagram social engagement decreased by -22% compared to April – June 2019.  So what changed in July? As we’ve previously discussed, the return of the sports was a big factor, for instance around the basketball restart, the NBA increased their Instagram engagement by 67% in July 2020 compared to July 2019. Meanwhile in the same time period, ESPN generated 45% more social engagement on Instagram. 

On the other hand, social engagement for streamers wasn’t necessarily up in July, even as people were home more this Summer compared to last. Netflix might have been the Top Advertiser brand with the third most Instagram social engagement in July 2020, but that was still down -6% from the amount of Instagram social engagement Netflix generated in July 2019. The biggest difference appears to be last year Netflix was promoting a new season of Stranger Things, and while The Kissing Booth 2 did come out in July for Netflix and is incredibly popular, it still didn’t provide Netflix with a Stranger Things sized lift on Instagram.   

Want to learn more about how ListenFirst can help brands understand the big picture around social media and activate around those insights? Request A Demo Today! 

Week 3 Data Around Brands Embracing “Stop Hate For Profit”

With many brands pausing their Facebook and Instagram ad spending during the month of July to protest the use of hate speech, ListenFirst continues to monitor how the boycott is impacting the social media ecosystem.  

Following up on the data we shared last week, here are our top findings for the week of July 13-19, 2020:

Methodology: Looking at the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands from the ListenFirst Data Co-op launched between July 1 – 19, 2020 compared to the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands launched between July 1-19, 2019. 

Finding #1: Brands Have Stuck With The Boycott 

Through the third week of July, brands continue to participate in the July boycott of buying Facebook ads. Between July 13-19, 2020 brands shared -72.05% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram compared to July 13-19, 2019. That’s consistent with what we’ve seen through the entire month, as during July 1-19, 2020 there were -74.26% less new Facebook and Instagram ads compared to the number of new Facebook and Instagram ads during those 19 days during 2019.

Finding #2: The Real Time Conversation Around #StopHateForProfit Slowed, Except Around Disney 

Around the news that Disney, Facebook’s biggest advertiser during the first half of the year, would be suspending their Disney Plus and Hulu ads on Facebook, there were 5,477 Tweets mentioning both Facebook and Disney between July 18-19, 2020 with 237 Tweets mentioning the #StopHateForProfit hashtag specifically. The phrase “Well Done” appeared in 11.52% of those Tweets.

However other than additional companies opting into the pause on paid,  the July boycott was far more talked about on social media before it started. There were 68,743 Tweets mentioning the #StopHateForProfit hashtag between July 1-19, 2020 which was a decrease of 53.96% from the 149,315 Tweets mentioning the hashtag between June 12 -30, 2020.

Methodology: Looking at the volume of new posts 485 Top Advertisers posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr between July 1-19, 2020 compared to July 1-19, 2019

Finding #3: Advertisers Are Not Increasing Organic Posts During The Boycott  

There were 31,599 posts that Top Advertisers shared on social media between July 1-19, 2020 which was a -22.36% decrease from the volume of posts they shared during those 19 days in 2019. Brands are not sharing more organic content on social media, to try and make up for the loss of reach, now that they’re running so many less Facebook and Instagram ads.  

Methodology: ListenFirst Social Engagement measures the volume of post responses (likes, reactions, comments, shares, retweets, replies) and fan growth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram around 485 Top Advertisers brands during July 1-19, 2020 compared to July 1-19, 2019.  

Finding #4: The Return Of Sports Is Starting To Lift Organic Engagement 

While social engagement around Top Advertiser brands had been down –17.97% during July 1-12, 2020 compared to July 1-12, 2019; there was actually 22.10% more social engagement around those brands during July 13-19 in 2020 compared to 2019. That turnaround was largely about Instagram specifically, as there was 22.63% more Instagram social engagement around Top Advertisers brands during the past week compared to July 13-19, 2019.


The NBA, which made up 20.58% of all Top Advertiser social engagement on Instagram between July 13-19, 2020, had a social engagement score of 21,420,835 during that time, which was an increase of 52.7% from the NBA’s Instagram social engagement score during July 13-19, 2019. Meanwhile, the NFL which accounted for 7.53% of all Top Advertiser social engagement on Instagram between July 13-19, 2020, had a social engagement score of 7,831,968 during that time which was a 34.13% increase from the NFL’s Instagram social engagement score during July 13-19, 2020. Around NBA activity in the Orlando restart bubble heating up and around the NFL revealing which players are getting a 99 rating in the upcoming Madden 21 video game; sports both real and simulated is starting to generate more engagement on social media.    

Want more information about how ListenFirst can help your brand monitor trends around Facebook, Instagram and the rest of social media? Request a demo today!

How 5 Home Furnishing Brands Are Increasing Engagement During the Coronavirus

As has been the case with every industry, Home Furnishing brands have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic, and with people staying home more around social distancing, Home Furnishing products are even more front and center in people’s lives. 

In that context, many Home Furnishing have actually increased the amount of posts they’re sharing, for instance in April 2020, 11 Home Furnishing Brands shared at least 75% more posts on social media compared to March 2020. That includes Ralph Lauren Home sharing in 21 social media posts in April and Beautyrest shared 7 posts, which in both cases was a +600% increase from the volume of posts they shared in March. Sleep Country Canada, LoveSac, Zara Home, Walmart, Burrow, Arhuas, The Container Store, AptDeco, and Feather are the other Home Furnishing brands that increased the volume of their social media posts by at least 75% in April. 

However, since an uptick in New Posts is generally met with an increase in Engagement, looking at Overall Engagement is not going to be an effective KPI to understanding which Home Furnishing brands are having the most success with their social strategy. Instead, we’re going to measure success on Average Response per post and answer the question, “What creative sparked more interest among users?”

Looking at the 157 Home Furnishing brands ListenFirst is tracking, only 5 of these brands saw an increase in Average Responses per post in April compared to March. 

Home Furnishing Brands That Saw The Biggest Increase In Responses Per Post I April 2020 compared to March 2020       

RankBrandAverage Responses/Post% Change
5Zara Home9,725+4%
6The Container Store679-16%
10Ralph Lauren Home4,291-41%
11Sleep Country Canada222-69%
Methodology: Average Responses per Post divides the volume of responses (likes, reactions, comments, shares, retweets, replies) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by the total number of New Posts across those social platforms during April 2020 compared to March 2020 across 157 Home Furnishing brands

With that in mind, there what each of those 5 brands did to increase the amount of engagement around their social media posts: 


Ready to upgrade the way you sleep? Here’s your chance to experience Beautyrest and Sleep First Class. Join our First…

Posted by Beautyrest on Monday, April 20, 2020

Especially in an environment with so much economic uncertainty, offering the chance to win free stuff proved a winning formula for Beautyrest. They stood out around a campaign asking people to join their “First Class Sleepers sampling program” where in exchange for posting honest reviews, that would enter you into the chance to win free products including a mattress.


Proving there’s more than one way to run a Home Furnishing promotion, Burrow saw an uptick in engagement with a slightly different strategy than Beautyrest where they offered users a chance to win $600 worth of goods. In a post that generated 591 responses on Instagram, Burrow asked users to keep the conversation on social by commenting and mentioning a friend as opposed to signing up for a program linked out to their website. Burrow also turned to man’s best friend to showcase the upside of being stuck at home, generating 379 responses around two Instagram posts reminding people that sheltering in place means quality time with your dogs. 


Given everyone’s hope for this temporary way of living in quarantine paired with FEATHER’s business model of renting furniture, FEATHER saw an uptick in responses this month. The brand focused on Instagram, sharing nearly quadruple the amount of posts to this channel and halted posts published to Facebook – driving their +66% uptick in average responses. FEATHER oftentimes referenced the current public health crisis in the copy of some of their most engaging posts like, “Working from home? Get a setup that supports you.” and “This is not your office


The world outside might not be funny right now but AptDeco still is. The brand earned their engagement lift in April with a more irrelevant take, for instance they received 761 responses on an Instagram post referencing Tiger King, asking if Carol Baskin killed her husband or not.  Meanwhile a cartoon drawing, joking about how working from home is slowly driving people nuts earned 288 responses for AptDeco. If your brand’s tone was more comedic before pandemic started, that’s the tone that self selecting social media followers will still be expecting going forward. 


With the audience not allowed to visit people in person because of social distancing, Zara Home got an engagement lift by letting people be virtual house guests. They generated 38,535 responses around an invitation on Instagram to view a breakfast with the Campbell-Rey design team on Instagram Live. The audience still craves group events and in the short term, using social media to create virtual events is in many cases the best option available for the audience to scratch that itch. 


If it’s through creating contests, directly addressing ways to get through working from home, using humor as a way to release stress or creating virtual events, there are a number of ways that Home Furnishing brands are successfully connecting with the social media audience during the age of the coronavirus. By working with a social media analytics platform able to provide insights across the entire Home Furnishing ecosystem, brands will gain a better understanding of what social tactics are working, and what will be most effective for your brand specifically around outreach. 

To learn more, download ListenFirst’s Home Furnishings Industry Special Report: Social Media in the Time of Coronavirus