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I’ve Never Watched a Video That Couldn’t Benefit From Being Shorter

The primary place video is watched these days is on mobile devices. This means small screens and lots of distractions. Add in changes in the human attention span, and I can’t emphaize enough to keep the total run time low to avoid viewer fatigue.

Heres a simple idea: Keep your videos short. It is better to have five 3-minute videos than one 15-minute episode. I try to keep most client videos to less than 10 minutes (in fact less than 5 in almost all cases).

With the rise of the web, videos tend to be consumed during things like work breaks, downtime, and airplane flights. Others will use them during commutes on the morning train or the subway. Think of video as portable, on-demand learning or entertainment.

Here are some strategies to keeping the runtime down:

  • Limit the number of topics covered. How may points do you need to make? I try to stick to one (with a hard limit of three).
  • Can the video be split? If a topic runs too long, look to see if you can create shorter segments that stand alone. This way the viewer can download Part 1 and start watching it while theyre waiting for the rest to download or be released. Theres nothing wrong with multiple parts.
  • Get a fresh opinion. Show the video to other people and note when they first look away from their screen or at their watch. Thats when they started to get bored.

Shorter is better… especially when youre just getting started.

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