The Long and Short of Advisor Videos

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

A question I often hear from advisors: How long should my videos be?

So, first, if you’ve got any prancing baby goats handy (and you’re frittering away your time on Facebook), I’d say the sky’s the limit.

But let’s say you have to resort to actual information. Then what? Opinions vary. A lot.

According to Dan Solin’s recent recommendations in his Advisor Perspectives article, “How to Use Video to Generate Leads,” a minute or less should do it. That’s based on some evidence he cites about viewer attention spans.

Tara Hunt of Truly Social offers a different perspective in her six-minute video, “How Long Should YouTube Videos Be?” Tara suggests it’s possible – and potentially highly effective – to go much, much longer. “They usually stare at me in disbelief,” says Tara about her answer. “That is because the answer aligns with knowing how the YouTube algorithm promotes videos, not to conventional wisdom about content.”

To see Tara’s advice in action, check out this “No Dumb Questions” YouTube channel hosted by Nancy Graham of PWL Capital. I’ll let you see for yourself whether Nancy’s longer scripts work for you. They do for me.

Both Dan and Tara cite reputable evidence, so whom should we believe? How about a tie-breaker? My communications colleague Robin Powell of Regis Media offers high-quality video subscriptions for evidence-based advisors, so I asked him what he thinks. Here’s his response:

“Generally I’m wary of hard-and-fast rules about content — and that includes the length of articles, podcasts and videos. What’s right for one firm may not be right for another. Yes, on the whole, shorter is better. Videos of around 30 seconds work well on Twitter, for example, while 90 seconds is about the optimal length for an explainer video. That said, for potentially complex subjects like finance, longer videos may be appropriate. Crucially, check the analytics; if people aren’t watching your videos to the end, they’re probably too long.”

Hmmm, that makes a lot of sense too.

So what’s my opinion? Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of agonizing over how long your videos should be, perhaps the better focus is to fuss over how amazing they are. I believe all three of my subject matter experts would agree to that, and each offers valid points on how to amp up your awesome.

Failing that, there’s always those baby goats.