Hey fintechs. Shorter is better. You heard it here first. But other than the length of your video, what else can you do to increase engagement? Subject-matter quality aside - we’ve put together some hints and tips on how to increase engagement on your videos (beyond making them shorter). Hope you find them useful! 👇
This guidebook was made especially for you. Whether you’ve done video marketing before or this is your first time working on a project like this, we’re sure you’ll find something useful here.
We’ve structured the guidebook to go through the top questions we’re asked that all impact a video’s engagement prospects. You can skip to the section you care most about here or get ready for about 11 minutes of reading.
We’ll summarise each section too, you’ll notice these in the dark-coloured boxes - so feel free to skim until you’ve got the info you need. Here’s what’s to come:
01 - What length should your video be?
02 - Make the first impression of your video count
03 - Actually distribute your video effectively
The majority of questions we get from fintechs about animated video engagement always start with length. So we’ll start there.
When it comes to video length, anywhere up to two minutes (based on Wistia’s research) gets the best engagement. The data comes from analysing 564,710 videos and more than 1.3 billion plays. But to blanketly approach videos by having them all under two minutes won’t work every time. It’s also worth noting that just because people have the highest engagement at the 2-minute mark, it doesn’t mean they’re finishing the entire video - it’s just that they’re engaging with these the most. Shorter videos are more likely to have viewers watch them from start to finish.
TLDR - the length of the video won’t matter if the video is crap.
Let’s frame this differently. Both the cult classic Train Spotting (a film depicting heroin addict, Renton, who narrates his drug-fueled adventures as he tries to come clean in Edinburgh) and Birdemic - Shock & Terror (a story about a romance between two characters as their small town is attacked by birds) are 93 minutes long. Haven’t heard of the second one? Yeah us neither. And we’d assume the average engagement across these two films differs pretty wildly.
Yes - these are both films, not marketing videos. But the point stands. A bad 2-minute video will get less engagement that a good 2-minute video. The question of length vs engagement only comes into play if the videos we’re discussing are equally as good, or equally bad (we suppose).
Anyway, quality aside (that’s for another article), here’s how video length and engagement match up across social media channels:
Recent research led by Hootsuite shows us that the best video lengths differ across networks. Here’s a rundown of their findings:
Elon Musk’s purchase may lead to the implosion of Twitter. Or, it may go through some serious changes very soon but current video length guidelines sit at 44 seconds. A great place to push a teaser with a link to the full video.
Wow, LinkedIn business boffs are only a mere double the attention span of TikTokers (15 seconds). Make of that what you will.
You can have up to 10 minutes of content in a LinkedIn video. But LinkedIn determined that 30-second videos (or under) boast a 200% lift in completion rates (meaning users watched the whole thing instead of clicking away). But they did also report that long-form could work depending on your goals.
So they’re more on the fence.
The Wistia stats we displayed up top are the go-to for YouTube. But with some uploads with huge popularity sitting at hours in length on the platform, there is no real golden bullet for engagement here.
It’s dependent on your goals.
If you’re running specifically ads, then that 2-minute mark is your aim.
If you’re looking to create a content series that explores topics in more depth there’s a sweet spot between 12-15 minutes.
But ultimately, experimenting here is the best approach.
Although you can upload up to 60 minutes of video, the report recommends sticking to under a minute, and certainly no longer than 5 minutes.
If you’re uploading content to your Insta-story stick to 15 seconds of video per slide and a maximum of three slides. If you didn’t know - both your video and story content can be shared across Instagram and Facebook.
There are now Instagram reels y’know - created to compete with the rising popularity of TikTok. You can choose between 15-60 seconds here. But the idea is to be quick and punchy.
We’d recommend using the same approach to Facebook as Instagram. If you’re using any social scheduling tools - you can easily upload the same content between the network. Although we would suggest personalising the copy that goes out to the separate communities.
While the human attention span may be lessening, we don’t buy into the 8-second goldfish analogy. Like Dr Gemma Briggs, a psychology lecturer at the Open University, we think that attention span is more task-dependent and nuanced.
But, that doesn’t mean the first seconds of your video don’t matter. They do - especially if we consider format.
If you were creating a YouTube ad (for example) viewers could skip your ad after 5 seconds. And around 90% of viewers do.
If you’re creating a video for your landing page, and are setting it to autoplay, you’ll want your audio, visuals, subtitles and any other bits to keep your visitor from rushing to the pause button (or worse). If you’re opting not to have autoplay on, your thumbnail or video title copy is going to have to do the job for you.
Here are some ways you can make your first impression count:
Don’t make your visitor wait too long for the value they’re looking for. Start your video either offering value upfront, giving a summary of the content or surprising them. You want your viewer to very quickly is thinking “tell me more”.
Alternatively, you could make a killer thumbnail (or cover image if you’re so inclined) that succinctly summarises the value of the video, or entices the visitor to watch - like this one from 11:FS:
The same goes for your video title, it should be clear, offer obvious value or entice your viewer (all three would be great). If your video is placed somewhere where both the title and the thumbnail will be seen (like YouTube), you could have your title and thumbnail work together to give showcase the bigger picture to your viewer, like this example from Shopify:
In short - tell the visitor what they’re getting, oh, and avoid sensationalist clickbait at all costs.
If you’re wondering how best to embed your video onto your landing page, take a look at this guide from Wave.
A lot of website visitors, social scrollers and so on like browsing with their sound off. At least initially. And in most cases, the sound is always disabled until the scroller dictates otherwise. Therefore, you can’t just rely on sound to draw your viewer in.
By animating your text, a section of the video or adding some of your bolder brand colours you’re more likely to get the visitor to stop scrolling and notice your video.
Here’s a cool example of Klarna doing just that:
If you’re sharing stats, share them in the introduction, on the thumbnail, in animation or in any other way you can think of. Don’t make your viewer wait to hear about key or surprising statistics — you’ll want to share those straight before telling the story behind them.
There is such a thing as autogenerated subtitles. But they always suck. And from an accessibility point of view, subtitles are a no-brainer. But they go beyond pure accessibility, they can entice people into your video as well.
Go back to the point above where we talked about a majority of viewers playing a video without sound. Without subtitles, your viewer could scroll past your video none the wiser as to the value they’re missing.
Don’t know how to add subtitles to your YouTube video? Check out this quick guide. Adding subtitles to your Vimeo videos? Here’s a guide for that too.
There, now you’ve no excuse.
So much video consumption is on mobile (58.99% of global internet traffic is now mobile). So don’t forget about making your videos work for small screens as well as big ones. Clarity is always the key.
So don’t squeeze loads into any single shot, keep your thumbnails clear and uncluttered, and like we said above: write and upload your subtitles. They’ll be a better fit.
We bring this up in all our guidebooks. Sorry, not sorry.
Want more engagement on your videos? Time to start distributing them more effectively. Think of it as the 20/80 rule, 20% is creation and 80% is distribution. Here are some tips for that:
If the only place your video lives is your website on a low-traffic page then… it’s not going to do much. That might sound obvious, but we’ve seen it happen. Make sure you’re choosing the right page to host your video, and if you’ve got low traffic generally (under 1k visits a month, for example) - take a look at the next ideas.
The rule we’re trying to get at here is that you shouldn’t just host your video on your website. Even a high-traffic website. By just hosting your animation in one place, your restricting the value it can offer you.
From Facebook to TikTok, social media platforms all have different ways to host and promote your videos from reels to paid advertising to organic posting.
The way to choose the right channel? Know your audience, what communities they’re part of and which social channels they’re on. There’s NO point in jumping to every channel, or the latest one simply because it’s the latest one.
In short - if your audience is there, it’s worth investing in it.
If you’ve got members of your team who are well-networked or are happy to put themselves out there and build a personal brand, use them. Having characters, and micro-influencers on your team can be a real bonus when looking for social media success.
Always aim for multiple versions of your video content. Different lengths, different versions, snippets and more. That way you’ll have a variety of things to share and promote. It will also give you the best opportunity to find the highest performer.
If you’ve only got one version length to your video - you’re only getting one result.
There are a lot of opportunities to distribute your videos via paid. Google’s Performance Max allows multiple assets, and different social media channels offer you a variety of ways to advertise and push your content. Use them.
Have one set of video ads to engage and entice passive searchers or social media browsers. Then once they’ve visited your website or your company page, make use of retargeting with a slightly differentiated set of videos and messaging more appropriate to their stage in the buying journey.
If you’re running any outbound campaigns - creating animations that showcase your brand and product might sit really nicely next to some simple introductory copy.
For inbound email marketing campaigns (or newsletters) animations can act as a great piece of unique content or could be repurposed so stills or assets can be injected into your emails. The possibilities are endless.
Those are some of our best hints and tips on how to increase engagement on your videos (beyond making them shorter). We're going to be adding to this and updating it too - so do reach out with any questions, concerns or stuff you think should be in there!
We're firm believers in the power of video as part of your content marketing mix, but then again at this point, you'd have to not read any marketing material ever to think otherwise. But animation on the other hand.... vastly underutilized. And for fintechs, there's no better medium to explain, engage, retain and convert your customers.
If you’d like help creating a killer animation for your fintech, or you’d like to talk to us about getting started, or even want some help in where your video fits within a wider content strategy, reach out to us.
Author: Josef James & Gabriel Whitehead
One or two emails from us a month filled with some bite-sized advice that will help you:
- Not be boring.
- Create better animated and video content.
- Help you think about content strategy, creative and more.
- With hints and tips around measurement and testing (if you're into that!).