The Perfect YouTube Video Length (according to YouTube)
YouTube Vice President of Engineering explains the ideal YouTube video length to help get your videos seen
It’s a question as old as YouTube itself.
Do longer videos – or shorter videos – get more love from YouTube? Do ultra-long podcasts get more exposure than your two minute short film?
Read on to find out what Cristos Goodrow – YouTube’s Vice President of Engineering – says is the perfect length for your next YouTube video:
“YouTube’s ‘Search & Discovery’ systems try to help each individual viewer find what they want to watch. This means they will surface videos that viewers are interested and also that viewers will find satisfying after watching.
Now when you hear that second part you might think – aha! – the algorithm directly rewards long videos because they are more satisfying and cause people to watch longer.
Podcasts will take over! Well, that’s not the case.
If it were, you’d never see music videos with millions and sometimes billions of views, you never see hit animated videos either. YouTube’s Search and Recommendation systems use hundreds of determine how to rank videos and certainly the average view duration of a video.”
“The best thing to do as a creator – don’t overthink your videos, the run time should match the content”
– Cristos Goodrow, Vice President of Engineering, YouTube
“Certainly the average view duration of a video and the average percent viewed are some of them. What you don’t want to do though, is padding the length of your videos, just for the sake of making them longer.
We seen creators try this and it often hurts – not helps – the performance of their videos. After all, if the quality of your videos decline, and viewers start clicking away early, that is not a positive signal.
Now if you have the choice of making an amazing 20-minute video that keeps people riveted, instead of an amazing 10-minute video, would the 20-minute version get more exposure? Quite possibly.
The reason is that viewers may find the 20-minute version more satisfying, and viewers of the 10-minute version may watch something less satisfying after that video, or just leave YouTube less satisfied.
But we know that how long someone watches is only one way to estimate satisfaction. That’s why we’re now using satisfaction surveys as well. Maybe you’ve seen them. They randomly ask viewers to rate a video after they watched it.
This helps [YouTube] further understand the difference between a video that wasted a viewer’s time, versus one that was well worth your time.
The best thing to do as a creator don’t overthink your videos, the run time should match the content.
If it takes two minutes to communicate what you want to say make a two-minute video. If it takes 20 minutes, make it 20 minutes. If viewers really enjoy watching it [YouTube’s] Search and Discovery systems should do their jobs surfacing it to others.”
To learn more about making great YouTube videos, check out our blog, and subscribe to YouTube’s creator channel.
(Cristos comments transcribed from this YouTube Creators video.)
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