We’re going to be discussing one of the most confounding issues that new and experienced creators encounter when making their videos, how long should a YouTube video be. This qualm that people have is related to the duration of their videos, and asking themselves whether a video is too long, too short, or whether the pacing of their videos is good or bad. As far as the technology itself goes, YouTube doesn’t impose any restrictions on video length, and I’ve personally seen full-blown, four-hour documentaries that analyze a video game and contrast it to philosophical issues and Russian literature and drama. However, if you’re a new user on the platform, the maximum duration of your video can only be up to 15 minutes, but if you verify your account via SMS this curtailment is removed.

How long should a YouTube video be?

This really depends on many factors. The first thing to consider is whether your video is something to be monetized or not. If it is, we recommend making something that is more than 8 minutes in duration, seeing as how this will enable you to put more ads in your video than if it weren’t. On the other hand, some people really prefer bite-sized videos that are only a few minutes long, and get their audience that way.  The best benefit of these shorter videos is that you can pinpoint your niche and target group with laser precision. For example, if you make a 20-minute video about a new pair of running shoes and explain the whole history of how it came to might be interesting to watch, a shorter and more concise review of these same shoes could hit your target demographic more precisely, and they will stay on the video for a longer amount of time, perceptually speaking. The same goes for interviews and podcasts that last for an hour or longer. Certain creators such as Joe Rogan and H3H3 Productions have found a way to attract a larger audience by posting snippets of their shows for people to enjoy in a more manageable way, without having to wade through the entire show just to find the part that interested them the most.

Why is the duration of the video important?

Besides the reason of having more ads on longer videos, the duration of a video is also important for the retention rate, which I’ve briefly mentioned in the previous segment. This is something that we will discuss in more depth in an upcoming video but suffice to say that the more of a single video people watch, the more likely it is to get recommended by the algorithm and gain organic growth.

Size – does it matter?

This saying is definitely true if the video you’ve posted is not only long, but also interesting and keeps the viewer watching for as long as possible, i.e. Has a retention rate of about 70-80%. If your video is long, say 12 minutes, and viewers watch only 3 minutes of it, which is a 25% percent retention rate, then this saying isn’t true. The end goal is to make a video that can keep a user watching for as long as possible. People that are able to make this kind of content are aware that they can cause a reaction and emotion in their viewers, which is usually followed by getting engagement via likes and comment. The last two are very important factors for the algorithm, and they get rewarded by being ranked higher up on the list and becoming recommended videos for other users. So, whether yours is wide or short, it’s what you put into it that counts!

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