Commentary

Length Doesn't Matter; It's What's In the Video That Counts

Consumers care more about what’s in a brand video than how long it is. That’s the conclusion of a new study from Invodo tracking consumer response to e-commerce and shopping videos. Invodo is an online video e-commerce company with clients including Office Depot, Toys R Us, and Verizon.

Invodo surveyed more than 1,000 online consumers who had watched product videos on retail and brand sites, and the results showed that several common assumptions about online video don’t hold up. For instance, many experts say 30 seconds is the ideal length for videos, but Invodo found that about 37% of consumers spent more than three minutes watching product videos that are educational or demonstrate how to use a product. Invodo also found that two-thirds of consumers watch videos on so-called “information-intensive” products two or more times.

This study has interesting implications for brands producing how- to, informational and other product-related videos. "The biggest takeaway of this research for brands is this: Forget about adhering to any 'industry standard' time limit for product videos," said Craig Wax, CEO of Invodo. "If anything, our research suggests that packing too much content into a shorter video may be a mistake. As long as the video is compelling and helps them make a purchase decision, most consumers are willing to absorb videos much longer than 30 seconds. Focusing on video content and quality will help brands drive business results."

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Also, about 66% of consumers said seeing a video demo of a product before buying that item online made it easier for them to understand how the product works and half said that watching a product video before buying an item online made them less likely to return the product. Finally, consumers prefer more professionally produced videos with nearly half saying higher quality videos were more reliable in helping them to make purchase decisions.

The study was done in partnership with the e-commerce consultancy e-tailing group.

4 comments about "Length Doesn't Matter; It's What's In the Video That Counts".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, February 1, 2012 at 11:57 a.m.

    From all our online video work, this lesson was already clear. Shortness only matters if you're not saying anything - in which case it won't get watched without being blissfully short.

    Don't know how well this research was conducted, but experience with on demand and online video had already shown us this truth.

    Sadly, far too few producers know how to make certain that the right things are in the video. But those are lessons for the future.

  2. Russ Somers from Invodo, February 1, 2012 at 2:26 p.m.

    Thanks Doug. Some technology-only companies in the video player space have advocated a "shorter is always better" perspective based on clicks and abandons - good data, but without any consumer insight. As a technology+media company, we hear that "30-second myth" in the marketplace, and we felt a direct consumer-facing study was needed to balance the dialog. Marketers listen to data.

    I agree that the conclusion is intuitive to anyone with experience in both production and technology. Sounds like that describes you as well as it does me.

  3. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, February 1, 2012 at 6:40 p.m.

    Thinking about the "shorter is better" theory... My guess is they tracked typical agency video content. Most creative agencies are weak at developing valuable longer content. So if you are tracking views and abandons for meaningless content, it makes sense that your averages would show shorter better. But, when content delivers serious value programmed into longer video, you'd find the opposite. In that sense, this study fills a gap nicely...

  4. Scott Rogers from Mogreet, February 2, 2012 at 6:38 p.m.

    Mogreet can deliver up to forty seconds of video to virtually any mobile phone via MMS. Our media clients find that 30 seconds of news and other content plus 10 seconds of sponsor content is more than sufficient if the clips are well done. Our retail, QSR and other brand clients use 30-40 seconds to promo products, new items, etc and it's sufficient for them as well. Text MMS to 21534 if you want to try it out. Like the title says, it's what's in the video, not how long it is.

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