How to Decide the Length of Your Explainer Video

Explainer videos are one of the most effective marketing strategies today. Many business owners use videos to help them reach out to more audiences and make conversions in a short time.

Although using explainer videos has been proven to help businesses increase sales, many of them fail to craft the right videos to hook the audience from the beginning. Most would wonder if there’s any secret in making explainer videos that makes them so effective. The thing is, there’s no secret at all.

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Photo by Ryan Clark on Unsplash

Making a marketing video means understanding the cause and how it can improve marketing campaigns in achieving goals. Therefore, marketers should know what makes a strategy work despite it having no specific rules.

When creating explainer videos, concisely conveying the brand’s messages is another key ingredient to success. One of the most important things is to know the right duration. You should deliver those messages without cluttering them down and make everything dull.

Video Length vs. Audience Engagement

The explainer video duration is essential to ensure that it’s enough for delivering messages. Whether you have blocks of text that you want to convert into videos or a few paragraphs of copy, it’s critical to bring all the brand values and its messages within a period of time.

Not to mention that explainer video length plays an important role in keeping the audience engagement right when they start watching it. A study from Wistia found out that there’s a great correlation between video length and audience engagement, which pretty much summarizes how long video content should be.

After reaching its peak, the audience engagement has seen plummeting down as the video duration increases. The one reason is that viewers quickly lose interest in keeping their attention to watch marketing content.

Although making a longer marketing video may derail you from attracting customers, you shouldn’t make your videos too short. You need to adhere to the optimum duration to capture your audience’s attention while also keeping them engaged quickly. If you’re unsure how to make a high-performing explainer video, you can send it over to a production company like Breadnbeyond to help you craft the content.

How Long Should an Explainer Video Be?

We can see from the graph below that most viewers keep the retention right after playing videos. Within two minutes of duration, viewers retention is seen to be around 70%. This number is pretty high, considering you can capture the attention of over half of viewers on the internet.

However, you can also notice how the average engagement rate drops over 5% in the third minute and continues to sky fall significantly when the duration increases. That means marketers can obtain the maximum engagement rates by creating videos within 1 and 2 minutes.

Here are a few key points from the graph.

1. Explainer videos up to 2 minutes long have more engagement

Your engagement rates are steady in this duration. So, a 90-second video will retain the attention for as long as 30-second. With this in mind, marketers should keep videos short and under two minutes to get an optimum engagement rate.  

2. A significant drop happens between 2 and 3 minutes.

The average engagement rates keep declining every second. This suggests that if your videos are more than 2 minutes, it’s better to cut off the second to avoid exponential decay.

3. A constant engagement in between 6 to 12 minutes.

Between this duration, your engagement rates begin to level off. During this time, there’s no significant change, meaning that producing a 7-minute or 11-minute video won’t change the engagement that much.

4. Beyond 12 minutes is a bit risky

After 12 minutes, your explainer videos don’t get as much engagement compared to a shorter duration. A longer video is often used to convey a narrative-driven story rather than simple marketing information.

Therefore, unless you’re making short movies or story-driven video campaigns, it’s best to keep your content under 12 minutes. More importantly, producing a longer video will cost more and not guarantee a bigger engagement rate.

Why 90 Seconds?

After the short explanation above, you should know that explainer videos in under two minutes will work best for your campaign. The reason is that viewers expect quick information that they can understand shortly.

A longer explainer video won’t hook them in the first place. If they happen to watch longer product marketing videos, they would rather stop watching. However, why should your explainer videos be 90 seconds?

According to the graph above, the constant engagement rates happen within the first two minutes. That means in 90-second of your videos; you can retain the attention for another 30-second. This is why you shouldn’t make an exact 2-minute video, as you’ll have no time to hold your viewers’ attention closely.

Therefore, it’s best to adhere to the 90-second rule as it’s a short and sweet duration for your marketing content. Your viewers won’t get to keep watching longer videos.

Tips to Make Your Explainer Videos Concise and Clear

Have a focused message

What’s your brand story? The way you tell it will make all the difference. You need to make your story exciting and captivating. You should research how people like stories that get them hooked from the very beginning.

If there’s one thing, you should know about videography in this day and age of social media channels, every second counts. That means brevity is key. Hence, the short videos.

Less can be more when telling a tale on video because they will only take up space rather than engaging viewers’ attention span with extended periods without anything happening.

Plan your voice overs and visual elements

The correlation between animation and storytelling is complex, but they can’t succeed without the other. Animations will illustrate your story while voice-overs help tell it. However, both will work best if you carefully craft your animation and narration to make interesting content.

Since the visual element plays a vital role in every marketing video, you should be cautious that your images represent your messages well. It’d be much better if they fit your narration, so viewers can enjoy your content easily.


One of the critical matters when making explainer videos is to convey marketing messages concisely within a period of time. You should deliver values in a video duration that viewers will likely watch until the end.

After all, educating and informing your audience about your brand is essential in every marketing campaign. This, by all means, can be achieved when you produce the video right at the sweet ‘spot.’

Make sure that your audience and potential customers stay interested enough to watch your videos. So, they can effectively absorb your marketing messages while also retaining them in the long run.

About the Author

Andre Oentoro

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).

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