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!     

Live Streaming on Social, What You Need to Know Part 2: Best Practices

If you’ve read the first part of our What Your Brand Needs To Know About Live Streaming On Social Media blog post, you know social media interest around live streaming has dramatically increased during the pandemic. You even know which social media platforms are most associated with this increased interest. However, understanding what live streaming content is most effective on which social media platform? That’s what this blog post is for. 

Here by platform, is a best practices primer on where your live streaming content would be the most appropriate.  

When Brands Should Be Using YouTube For Live Streaming 

Considering how YouTube is the social media platform most associated with video, and has so many different options around video, it’s the social platform where there’s the most situations where live streaming through them makes sense. For example, it’s easy to use around fundraisers, you just need to verify your phone number and check off a pre-approved charitable cause. YouTube has frequently been used by brands to raise money for charitable causes during the pandemic, such as the One World: Together At Home fundraiser, The Actors Fund’s #StarsInTheHouse fundraising series which reunited casts like Desperate Housewives, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band livestream fundraiser.  

YouTube is also being used for sponsorship opportunities around livestreams, such as American Express sponsoring a livestream with Alanis Morissette and the Broadway cast of Jagged Little Pill which got over 250,000 video views on YouTube; and for virtual premieres. For example Hyundai premiered the all new TUCSON on YouTube, generating 20K views in the first 3 hours it was up. 

When Brands Should Be Using Twitch For Live Streaming


One of the biggest advantages of using live streaming through Twitch is Amazon Watch Parties. Thanks to corporate integration, as long as everyone involved has an Amazon account, they can view Amazon’s library of movies and TV shows together through Twitch, commenting in real-time. For example, the Jenna & Julien podcast  hosted a Knives Out watch party on their Twitch channel.   

Since Twitch is a social platform extremely focused on gaming, brand live streams with a strong gaming angle should be hosted there. Tony Hawk, skateboarder and star of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 video game, appeared in a Chipotle livestream on Twitch that gave away 5,000 burritos and generated 61,403 total views. Additionally, as Twitch is a platform whose audience skews younger, it’s also ideal for live streams targeting a younger demographic, such as when We Bare Bears creator Daniel Chong Live streamed the movie’s premiere on Twitch. Even fashion is experimenting with Twitch, as Burberry is live streaming their Spring/Summer 2021 show there. 

When Brands Should Be Using Twitter For Live Streaming

While Twitter powered by Periscope does offer the ability to stream live video, for brands the biggest value Twitter offers brands around live streaming is amplifying the public conversation for watch parties, as opposed to streaming video directly. For example, there were 35,055 Tweets using the hashtag #DickinsonAtHome on July 30, 2020 around Hailee Steinfeld hosting a Twitter watch party of Dickinson’s first episode. Between May 11 – August 11, 2020 there were also 10,381 Tweets using the hashtag #MaiselMonday around a weekly watch party for season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which was followed by a live Q&A on Amazon Live; while a Michelle Obama Tweet about a global watch party for her Netflix show Becoming generated 39,529 responses.  

Overall, between March – August 2020, there were 858,794 Tweets mentioning a Watch Party. 

When Brands Should Use Facebook For Live Streaming 

Facebook is a platform that proportionally has a larger percentage of older users, and along those lines, it makes the most sense to live stream content there that can appeal to an older demographic. That often means live streaming sports related content, for example The Chicago Blackhawks streaming a training camp scrimmage or Heineken promoting a Champions League pregame show. Facebook is also a great live streaming platform for older musical acts such as Hampton Water sharing a Jon Bon Jovi concert on Facebook or The New Kids On The Block live streaming. Essentially if you’re targeting an audience older than millennials, Facebook should be viewed as a key live streaming platform. 

 When Brands Should Use Instagram For Live Streaming


Musical content and beauty tutorials both tend to do especially well on IG Live, so when brands find a way to combine the two, that’s an especially sweet spot for marketers. For example, Megan Thee Stallion generated 5.8 million views on a Revlon makeup tutorial she shared while Fenty Beauty generated over 100,000 views for a DJ set they live streamed for Juneteenth.

When Brands Should Use TikTok For Live Streaming 

TikTok is all about cool visuals and engaging (often lip-synced) audio. To that point, TikTok recently announced that they will be live streaming two fashion shows a week, from brands like Louis Vuitton and Alice + Olivia while they also premiered a special augmented-reality, live-streamed concert from The Weeknd. Meanwhile Sarah Cooper, who lip-syncs an impersonation of President Trump has become the platform’s breakout star, while drag content such as the #MyPride Realness livestream also performs well. For brands that want to stand out around TikTok live streaming, finding clever ways to mash up visuals and audio is a must. 


Live streaming is a communication tool that’s increasingly being embraced on social media, but it’s also important for brands to realize that audience expectations around live streaming can vary drastically from platform to platform. Having a bird’s eye view of what live streaming content is performing best in which contexts is critical in putting together your live streaming strategy. 

Want more ListenFirst insights around live streaming best practices? Request a demo today! 

Why The #StopHateForProfit Boycott Isn’t Benefiting Twitter

This is the third in our series of check ins on how the #StopHateForProfit boycott asking brands to stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram is impacting social media and brand’s relationship to those platforms. In this week’s installment, we share a general update while also specifically focusing on how Twitter is or isn’t being impacted by the boycott of their competitors. 

It Appears The Boycott Is Going To Hold Through All Of July 

Methodology: Looking at the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands from the ListenFirst Data Co-op launched between July 1 – 26, 2020 compared to the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands launched between July 1-26, 2019.

As we head towards the end of July, data from the ListenFirst Data Co-op shows the #StopHateForProfit boycott continues at the same rate of participation. Brands shared -70% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram, comparing July 20-26, 2020 to the same time in 2019. That’s consistent with what we’ve seen looking at the entire month so far with -73% less Facebook and Instagram ads by brands from July 1-26 compared to the same period in 2019. 

Will brands return to those platforms in August, when the one month advertising boycott is lifted?  

The Spending Freeze Hasn’t Necessarily Benefitted Twitter 

Twitter Paid Spend, on the other hand, while down -42%, is down less than Facebook and Instagram. The money brands aren’t spending on Facebook and Instagram hasn’t translated to brands spending more on Twitter ads. 

During The Boycott Top Advertisers Posting Less Organically On Twitter

Methodology: Looking at the volume of new posts 485 Top Advertisers posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr between July 1-26, 2020 compared to July 1-26, 2019

While the #StopHateForProfit boycott is centered on Facebook owned companies, in terms of organic posts it’s actually Twitter where brands have proportionally become most hesitant to post. Comparing July 1-26 during 2020 to 2019, the amount of new posts Top Advertiser brands shared on social  decreased by -18%. Breaking that down by platform, comparing July 1-26 in 2020 to 2019, the volume of posts Top Advertiser brands posted on Twitter decreased by -24%, with the number of Top Advertiser brands posts decreasing by -18% on Instagram and by -4% on Facebook. 

The fact that Top Advertisers are decreasing the amount of posts they are sharing on Twitter more than on Facebook and Instagram speaks to the lack of live events occurring. Twitter is the social platform most used for real-time reaction; and there’s just isn’t that much going on right now to react to. Other than protests, public in-person events have stopped happening entirely; sports are only beginning to start up again, and there’s only so much people can talk about the coronavirus.    

Cancel Culture One Topic That Is Being Talked About More On Twitter 

Methodology: Looking at the volume of Tweets using either the phrase “Cancel Culture” or the hashtag #CancelCulture between July 2019 through July 27, 2020. 

One topic that people have been talking about more on Twitter is Cancel Culture. Since George Floyd died on May 25, sparking an unprecedented level of grass root protesting, there’s been a huge increase in the volume of Tweets discussing Cancel Culture. There were 127,631 Tweets mentioning Cancel Culture in April 2020, which increased to 320,933 Tweets in May, to 1,297,423 Tweets in June, to an amazing 2,299,211 Tweets discussing Cancel Culture so far in July.

It’s important to make the distinction that Twitter conversations about Cancel Culture are often framed around the point of view that Cancel Culture has gone too far, meaning the person posting is advocating for a specific person or thing not to be canceled. Additionally, of course brands like Ben & Jerry’s have received incredible amounts of positive feedback for posting about social justice issues, including defunding the police to great acclaim. Still it’s a trend that brands should be aware of, as they participate in the real-time conversation occurring on Twitter.     

Want to learn more about how ListenFirst can help brands understand social media trends around owned, earned and paid content ? Request a Demo Today!

5 Takeaways From How Brands Celebrated Juneteenth On Social Media

Juneteenth was first celebrated as a holiday in Austin in 1867, and was first officially recognized as a state holiday by Texas in 1980. However, the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests advocating for social justice have raised multicultural awareness of Juneteenth to an unprecedented extent this year. 

This sea change is quantifiable at a brand level. For instance on June 19, 2020, 352 of 1,100 social media posts shared by S&P 500 brands were Juneteenth related. In comparison on June 19, 2019 only 4 out of 1,551 posts shared by S&P 500 brands on social media mentioned Juneteenth. There were also noticeably less posts this year than last, as brands have pulled back on sharing their usual content to dedicate space for supporting racial justice.

While there’s no pre-existing playbook for what type of messaging around the holiday resonates with audiences we were able to identify 5 key takeaways from what Juneteenth brand content connected the best this year. 

Brands That Averaged The Most Responses To Their Juneteenth Social Media Posts

RankBrandAverage Volume Of Responses To Juneteenth Related Posts# of Juneteenth Related PostsExamples
1NFL52,8016Sample Post
2NBA34,90650Sample Post
3Facebook30,0428Sample Post
4Sephora22,1851Sample Post
5Netflix17,9151Sample Post
6Ulta Beauty14,9712Sample Post
7Old Navy12,8442Sample Post
8US Navy10,8303Sample Post
9Delta Air Lines8,3141Sample Post
10Twitter6,2151Sample Post

Methodology: Looks at the average numbers of social media content responses on posts by either S&P 500 Brands or Top Advertisers (485 brands) mentioning Juneteenth on June 19, 2020. ListenFirst Content Responses measure the Likes, Shares, Comments, and Retweets a post gets on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

Insight #1: Sports Leagues Generated The Most Responses To Their Juneteenth Posts 

On June 19, 2020, the NFL was the brand that generated the most response to its Juneteenth related social media posts, with those 6 posts receiving on average 52,801 responses.  Meanwhile the NBA had the second highest total, with its amazing 50 Juneteenth related social media posts shared on the day averaging 34,906 responses. 


The NFL announced that it would be shutting down league offices in commemoration of Juneteenth while the NBA highlighted the social justice protesting efforts of its players, among its many other Juneteenth related posts. Athletes like Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, and Stephen Jackson have been at the forefront of speaking out against police brutality, and their activism lends authority to the leagues they’re associated with. 


Any brand can speak to Juneteenth and events that speak to social justice in general, but for the audience to pay attention at any scale, that needs to be part of a longer term conversation. 

Insight #2: It’s Okay To Explain What Juneteenth Is 

When brands post about Independence Day, there’s no need to explain what the Declaration of Independence was. Similarly, posting about Thanksgiving doesn’t require a historic recap about Pilgrims. However, when a lesser known holiday becomes more prominent, it’s okay for brands to help fill in the blanks because much of the audience is hearing these facts for the first time.

This year many brands stood out in talking about Juneteenth just by explaining the basics. For instance, Facebook received 291,566 responses on a post explaining how the holiday commemorates how enslaved people in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865, while also offering 19 ways to celebrate. Meanwhile Microsoft received 4,652 responses on a Twitter thread fleshing out the history of the holiday while also offering resource ideas for further learning.    

While it’s a serious subject, comedy can still be deployed in those explanations. For example, Netflix generated 17,915 responses on a Tweet that started a thread explaining Juneteenth that used The Office’s Michael Scott’s to illustrate how many white Americans think slavery ended with Abraham Lincoln before explaining the more complicated actual answer.

Insight #3:  Use Your Platform to Amplify Black Voices

Due to what it’s commemorating, Juneteenth is a holiday where the social media audience needs to hear from Black voices not allies, and some of the most successful brands in posting about Juneteenth made sure that’s exactly what the messaging was. Social media platforms themselves understood that point as Twitter shared a Twitter Voice Note from Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi on why Juneteenth is especially meaningful this year which generated 6,215 responses. Meanwhile Facebook received 5,342 responses on a video of the cast of Black-ish being interviewed about their musical Juneteenth themed episode.

Other notable examples include Sephora using Instagram Live for a conversation with Black activists, scholars, and partners; the announcement of which generated 22,185 responses, while Maybelline received 18,453 responses on a post announcing a Instagram Live event where a makeup artist would be offering up makeup tips for deeper skin tones.


Insight #4: Real Holidays Mean Time Off 

Did you know National Hot Dog Day is July 22? You probably would if you were getting the day off for it. There are plenty of fun and frivolous holidays that don’t merit getting a paid vacation day, but the ending of slavery in this country was an immeasurably important moment in our nation’s history that deserves more reflection than just sharing a GIF.

Many brands reaffirmed the importance of Juneteenth by sharing on social media how they’re giving their employees the day off for the holiday. For example, Adobe received 380 responses to a Tweet announcing its employees would be out of the office for Juneteenth to take time for reflection and advocacy while BB&T Bank announced it was closing at 2pm on Juneteenth in a Facebook post that received 10,382 responses. U.S. Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank are other financial institutions that closed early for the holiday.


ListenFirst also gave our employees Juneteenth off so our team could commemorate Black history and culture through celebration, education, and reflection.

Insight #5: Brands Used The Opportunity To Share Additional Relevant Resources


The abolition of slavery didn’t magically erase racial inequlity in this country and many brands used the occasion of Juneteenth to share additional content and resources that spoke either to that struggle and/or provided a better understanding of the Black experience in America. For example, Amazon received 9,024 responses on a Facebook post that shared online learning tools and resources, including Black employee recommendations on films, TV shows, and books. Similarly, Hulu generated 5,389 responses on its Juneteenth watchlist while Gerber got 1,128 responses on a Facebook post showcasing amazing accounts featuring Black educators, mothers, and creators.



While Juneteenth might be a new topic for brands, it is a subject that the social media audience was receptive to talking about. For example on June 19, 2020 S&P 500 brands averaged 2,473 responses to their Juneteenth related posts compared to an average of 2,208 responses per post so far this year. Hopefully this enthusiasm will lead to even more brand engagement around Juneteenth next year.