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The Best Social Media Video Length: Tips for Every Channel

Jennifer Meech
November 19, 2020
Last Updated On
December 14, 2023
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The rise of video content on social media has been one of the fastest-growing marketing trends of the decade. And for good reason — 72% of consumers prefer learning about a product or service through video than static content. In comparison, video ads generate a 48% higher conversion rate than static ads on social media. With the increasing demand for content in motion, brands across industries harness video's power to capture and convert online consumers.

Technology has completely transformed consumer behavior. Internet users spend almost seven hours watching online videos weekly, and consumers under 36 spend more time watching videos on social media than on traditional mediums. Consumers depend on social media channels to discover new products and services, keep up with the latest trends, and inform purchase decisions more than ever. Video is undoubtedly the most effective medium for businesses to impact today’s online consumer on their channel of choice.

How Long Should Your Social Media Video Be?

The ideal length of your social media video is a broad question with an even broader answer. And why is that? Because every social media platform has different video requirements and performance metrics. While a 30-second video may perform best for you on Instagram Reels or TikTok, users on YouTube may be looking for something a little longer, like 2-5 minutes. Trial and error is your best friend when posting video content. 

That being said, across the board, videos that are around the length of 15 seconds are considered optimal. This is because the video is long enough to provide context and detail about the product or situation but also short enough that viewers don’t find themselves losing interest or spacing out in that short amount of time. A great rule of thumb is the more concise and informative, the better. 

Recommended Video Length for Social Media

While YouTube will always reign supreme, other digital channels are new. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are prioritizing video features and functionality to empower brands to diversify their content strategies and find new ways to engage consumers. From Instagram Reels to Pinterest Video, video has become an essential content pillar for developing an impactful social media strategy—and it has proven to be more effective at engaging and converting social media users than static content.

As consumers spend more time watching video content online, they have higher expectations for the content they interact with. Not to mention, many brands are vying for their attention with dynamic video content. Brands need to have a pulse on their unique audience’s tastes and stay in tune with best practices to create content that stands out in the crowded digital space, especially regarding optimal video length.

Best Instagram Video Length

Instagram is committed to equipping brands with the tools and features they need to integrate video into every aspect of their content strategy. From Instagram Stories and in-feed videos to newer features like Reels and Instagram Live, the opportunities for brands to engage target audiences with content in motion are endless.

Maximum video length:

  • Stories: 15 seconds
  • Reels: 60 seconds
  • In-feed video: 60 seconds

Optimal video length:

  • Stories: 1–7 slides
  • Reels: 15-60 seconds
  • In-feed video: 60 seconds or less

Best Video Length for TikTok

TikTok has exploded in popularity in the last few years with the rise of social entertainment and short-form video. The app makes it easy for creators and those new to social media to create funny, engaging videos for their TikTok marketing strategy that can go viral. TikTok has pre-set timings of 15 seconds, 1 minute, and 3 minutes, but now it even allows some creators to create videos up to 10 minutes long. Short-form content still prevails on the app. However, Dash Hudson research revealed that over half of TikToks are between 6 and 20 seconds long, and retention rate steeply declines after the first 5 seconds. Therefore, TikToks should be as short as it takes to convey your idea.

Maximum video length: 10 minutes

Optimal video length: 20 seconds or under

Best Length for YouTube Video

YouTube is built for short and long-form content, making it unique from other social media platforms. This environment allows creators to dabble in both shorter content, like YouTube Shorts and longer-form content that can be as long as an hour. Because of this adaptability, YouTube will always remain one of the top-performing video-first platforms for users seeking entertainment.

Maximum video length: 

  • Regular Video: 12 hours
  • Shorts: 60 seconds

Optimal video length: 

  • Regular Video: 7-15 minutes
  • Shorts: 15-60 seconds

Best Video Length for Twitter

When you think of Twitter, video is rarely your first thought. But now, the social media platform is ripe with video, typically re-purposed from other channels like Instagram or TikTok. Twitter users can even turn off automatic playback since video content appears so often in users’ feeds. 

  • Maximum video length: 2 minutes 20 seconds
  • Optimal video length: 15 seconds or less

Best Facebook Video Length

Facebook remains a top channel for almost every brand. More than any other channel, Facebook spans generations and is key to any digital advertising campaign. Facebook users are keen to share video content with their networks, giving brands the opportunity to make a lasting impression and tap into the power of referral.

  • Maximum video length: 240 minutes
  • Optimal video length: 15 seconds to 3+ minutes

Best Video Length for Pinterest

Pinterest’s enhanced video features are paying off for marketers. Users are already in a purchase mindset when they head to Pinterest, so it is no surprise that Pinners are 2.6x more likely to purchase after viewing a video. Knowing how to post videos on Pinterest helps Pinners see products in action and takes them a step further down the sales funnel.

  • Maximum video length: 15 seconds
  • Optimal video length: 4 seconds - 15 minutes

Marketers must also consider usability on different devices (smartphones are now the primary device for video consumption), speed and specs. The video content is only one piece of the puzzle; ensuring your target audience has a frictionless experience viewing your video is critical to making an impact.

Video Length Best Practices

In addition to making your videos the right length, there are some additional considerations and tactics social teams should consider to enhance viewer engagement and message clarity.

Understanding Audience Position in the Sales Funnel

The stage of your audience in the sales funnel significantly impacts the ideal video length. Early-stage viewers prefer shorter, more digestible content, while those further along may engage more with detailed, longer videos. Tailoring video length to the audience's funnel stage enhances engagement and conversion.

Platform-Specific Recommendations

Each social media platform has its nuances in optimal video length. For instance, TikTok videos are best kept between 10-15 seconds, while YouTube content can range from 5-15 minutes, catering to different audience expectations and content consumption patterns.

Importance of Video Accessibility

Ensuring your videos are accessible, such as including captions for viewers who watch without sound, is crucial. This not only broadens your audience but also enhances the user experience, catering to diverse viewing preferences.

Shorter Videos Trending — With Exceptions

While shorter videos generally perform better across most platforms, this trend varies. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook accommodate longer videos effectively, highlighting the need for a flexible approach to video length based on the platform and audience.

Consider Device Usability, Speed and Specs

Beyond content, marketers must consider how videos are consumed across different devices, with smartphones now leading in video viewership. Ensuring a seamless viewing experience, regardless of device or connection speed, is essential for impactful video marketing.

Utilize Data and Insights for Best Video Length on Social Media

Digging into data to understand what types of video content engage your target audience should be a top priority for marketers. Data-driven insights combined with channel-specific best practices will optimize your video performance.

Different video styles work for different brands. Fashion brands like Urban Outfitters, lululemon and Levi’s rely on community-sourced lo-fi content to tap into a target audience that values authenticity and relatability. Food brands like Chipotle and Wendy’s are producing short but witty social-first videos to differentiate from the competitive restaurant space. CPG brands Heinz Ketchup and Heineken have mastered the art of repurposing traditional campaign content for social media to amplify their messaging.

Once you nail down the style of video that speaks to your target audience and strengthens your brand narrative, focus on the video best practices for each social channel. Video length can make or break engagement for an organic video or conversions for a video ad.


Can you upload the same video to other channels? 

Yes. But one thing to keep in mind while building your cross-channel marketing strategy if you want to re-use the same videos is aspect ratio and length. Most channels have varying ratios and length requirements, so be sure to have multiple versions of your video available to post.

Instagram’s algorithm notably deprioritizes videos that have a TikTok watermark, so it’s a best practice for cross-channel promotion to upload native video footage.

How effective is video on social media?

Consumers spend 88% more time exploring online channels that have video content. High-performing video content holds the potential to not only boost your social performance but also add value to your native e-commerce channels.

How long should an advertisement video be?

While you may be tempted to include as much information as you can in an advertisement since you’re paying for it, this actually isn’t a great idea. The best practice when it comes to video advertisements is to keep them short and sweet. Anywhere around 15 seconds or less will do a suitable job of keeping viewers engaged. 

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