How Long Should Meta Ad Videos Be?

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Ali Blount AUTHOR: Ali Blount
Aug 22, 2023
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Video remains the dominant content format on social media, so we’re always asked about optimizing the experience. The most common question we get from clients: how long should my videos be?

As your team’s investment in visual storytelling grows, determining the optimal video length for your audiences can be a helpful way to boost the performance of paid social campaigns. Let’s look at CI client data to see how different video lengths play out across Meta’s platforms.

A TAILORED ANALYSIS FOR ARTS MARKETERS

The general consensus among marketers is that Meta videos should fall somewhere between 1–2 minutes. After that point, completion and conversion rates tend to drop off.

However, this span is pretty broad and doesn’t consider the unique nature of arts organizations and their audiences. There also isn’t much guidance out there when it comes to organic videos versus paid. So we dug into our clients’ campaign data for answers tailored to our industry.

For this analysis, we looked at paid social media campaigns in aggregate over the last year and prioritized efficiency in driving purchases and page views instead of engagement or virality.

THE VIDEO SWEET SPOT

The length that consistently showed the strongest results on Meta across all major metrics was 30–39 seconds. These videos were long enough to capture people’s attention and effectively communicate key ideas, but not so long that they competed with users’ short attention spans.

That’s not to say that you should always aim for your videos to fall within this range. The 16–29 second span also saw excellent results, as did videos that clocked in anywhere from 70 seconds to 119 seconds.

The ideal length of your video depends on the strength of your content; if you’ve created a compelling story, people will stick with you for longer. But generally speaking, try to keep videos on the shorter side. The closer you get to the one-and-a-half-minute mark, the more likely users will scroll away from your post.

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WHAT TO AVOID

Considering using a video that falls outside of that sweet spot? Whether it’s very short (1–15 seconds) or very long (140+ seconds), leaning too far in either direction puts campaign performance at risk.

  • Don’t lose people early. We all know that social media users have short attention spans, but a blip of content with no clear purpose will likely lose folks quickly. Given Meta’s multimedia experience, an especially short video is likely unsatisfying, so take full advantage of your storytelling potential.
  • Don’t stretch it out unnecessarily. On the flip side, don’t feel like you need to fill time to lengthen a video. Focus on grabbing attention while showcasing the most compelling parts of your programming.
  • Carefully consider long-form content. Videos over four minutes had results all over the map, suggesting that length isn’t a deterrent when a video is truly fascinating. If you’re unsure whether your audiences will go for a longer video, conduct an A/B test with a shorter clip to see which performs better.

THE TAKEAWAY: KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET

Ultimately, the strength of your video content matters above all—but when in doubt, 30–39 seconds is a good guideline.

And remember: Video length is just one factor in campaign performance. Don’t gloss over the importance of expert storytelling and creative messaging. If your video is compelling enough, it will hold people’s attention no matter the length, so make sure you have a solid concept to drive clicks and increase conversions.