Optimum length for YouTube videos
So just what is the optimum length for YouTube videos? That’s exactly what I’m going to answer definitively!
The optimum length for YouTube videos – The short answer
As long as they need to be but as short as they possibly can be.
We’re all short on time, and when we’re browsing the internet, our attention spans are fairly short too.
Generally, when people are searching on YouTube, they’re looking for an answer to a question, a solution to their problem. Sometimes they want to be entertained.
So if you possibly can, try and give them the answer to that question, solve their problem as quickly as you can. Too many YouTube videos contain fillers, waffling, talking for the sake of it.
Sometimes, because people believe that if they make longer videos, then there’s more opportunity for their viewers to watch more of the videos and therefore they’ll get more watch time on their channel. Now of course, that’s a great strategy if your audience do stick around for the full length of the video.
But chances are if you’re not diving right into the meaty topic that you promised and answered the question or solved the problem that you said you would at the beginning of the video, your viewer numbers are gonna drop off. Now there are some studies out there that suggest that the sweet spot’s somewhere between five and eight minutes long. But if you can answer the question, solve the problem in two minutes, then by all means do that, rather than making it between five and eight minutes just for the sake of it.
On the flip side of that though, we might be speaking about something which you just can’t do justice to in five, ten minutes. Maybe you need 15 minutes, maybe you need 30 minutes. There are definitely instances, especially with a more loyal and trusting audience that you’ve built up over time, where people will watch that length of content on YouTube. But particularly for newer channels, for newer audiences, the shorter videos tend to work better.
So if you are speaking on a topic which you can’t do justice in a shorter video, split that topic into two parts. Do two separate videos, a part one and a part two.
Keep an eye on your analytics
Above all, keep an eye on your analytics. So what works for me might not work for you. Your audience is different to my audience.
Every YouTube user has access to their analytics, and if you use a tool like TubeBuddy, it unlocks some amazing features. All kinds of analytics and metrics that you can use to see how long people are watching your videos and at what point they’re dropping off.
If you see that people are dropping off consistently maybe 25% way through your videos, for example, definitely consider making your videos shorter. Think about how you’re structuring and scripting the videos to see if you can just get them more concise and more succinct and get to the point quicker.
So the definitive answer for what is the optimum length of YouTube videos? The answer is as long as they need to be but as short as they possibly can be. Experiment with that sweet spot of between five and eight minutes and keep an eye on your analytics and see what’s working for your audience.
From there, if it’s working, keep doing the same thing. If it’s not, tweak and improve. As a guide, if you can aim for above 50% retention rate then you are winning at life.