The length of your internet video can play a huge factor in how many views it gets. Even though YouTube will let you upload videos up to 10 minutes long, the recommended length that’s cited most often in the world of video marketing is 3 minutes or less. If you reference the graph below, an even better length would actually be 90 seconds or less. But are internet attention spans really that short? If we can take a hard look at that question, we may be able to unlock the secret to attracting unlimited video views. I have a few theories on why people usually click away so quickly:
- SKIMMING. A video requires so much of our attention that we tend to watch just enough to be able to “skim it” vs. “reading the entire book”
- BROWSING. We’re never 100% sure what a video will be about until we click PLAY, so we usually find something that’s not an exact match and need to click away to video-after-video until we finally find what we’re looking for
- SKIPPING. With 24 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, there’s a lot of filler online which has created a general skepticism that a web video will be worth our time
But does it really matter if people watch all of our video? I discovered recently that you can watch just a few seconds of a YouTube video and it will still count as a view. It’s true! Test this out yourself and you can rack up as many as 300 views per day until YouTube freezes the video and requires that more of it gets watched in order to count as a view.
Again, why should a full viewing matter? My theory is that when a video is watched all the way through it’s more likely to go viral and get millions of views vs. being limited to the thousands. The reason: if our video is so long and boring that people don’t want to finish it, it’s very unlikely that they’ll share the video with their friends.
Think about it. How often have you recommended a movie to someone when you only saw a small part of it on TV?
Video views are a huge part of getting our videos to rise to the top of a YouTube search, yes, but more importantly: having remarkable content that engages people is likely the key ingredient that will take your video from a single-time accidental click to something that is watched multiple times, favorited, shared and added to the Hall of Fame ranks of viral video classics of keyboard-playing cats. Maybe the answer to this blog post is really another question:
What type of YouTube video is considered to be remarkable content?