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 

@benandjerrys

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.    

@sephora

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. 

@fallontonight

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!     

Optimizing Sports-Related Sponsored Content On Social

When a brand wants the biggest, broadest TV audience, the solution is often advertising during live sports. For the same reason, the social media accounts of sports leagues and individual teams is some of the most valuable real estate for sponsored content on social media.

Sports fanbases are loyal and extremely engaged, and paid partnerships with the most popular leagues and teams often means brand messaging is seen by a far wider audience than through owned organic posts.

For the following report, ListenFirst analyzed the sponsored content posts of the MLB, NHL, MLS, NBA, and NFL at both the league and team level between July 2020 – June 2021 to determine the tactics and best practices that are most effective for brands around these paid partnership posts.

Going Beyond Social Listening

Social media listening is a great way to measure the conversations happening and to analyze the sentiment around your brand. However, with listening alone, you’re only hearing from the vocal minority.

The majority of your consumers are not the ones making noise. They’re busy living their lives and showing you how they feel by click-based engagement with your post.

In this report, we’ll share why social listening isn’t enough and why analytics is critical so you can focus on the data that really matters to help grow your business.

Brand Strategy for TikTok: A Guide To Campaign Success

How can my brand get the most out of our TikTok campaign?

TikTok is the fastest growing social media channel in the market – one that is achieving video views that reach the billions. Some brands have jumped in and have been very successful, while others are just getting started. Either way, there is much to learn by analyzing what works for your brand and for others in your market.

This report lets brands know how to approach establishing your TikTok campaign and after analyzing thousands of brands, shares some insights into what works on this dynamic platform.

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!