The Scoop - An Animation Studio's Blog

What Length Should My Video Be?

graphic of Wagnerian women and goldfish

You won’t get to the end of this post, right? It’s not a video, meme, gif or tiktok so it will be curtains by the time you get to the second paragraph. Because people have really short attention spans – don’t they?

Maybe not.

The received piece of wisdom that people have shorter attention spans than a goldfish all comes from a 2015 report Microsoft Canada did studying brain patterns of a whopping 120 people doing various tasks. A clever fellow at the BBC has done a lot of digging to debunk the myth which of course you’re going to read about here.

Attention spans aren’t getting shorter, it’s just harder to stay focused in such a hyperlinked world. If your content is good enough people will stay engaged. Ask Wagner fans.

length of video infographic

OK you can stop reading now. Go see Gotterdammerung maybe.

The best performing ad we made for a client recently was 37s, outperforming the 15s CTR by nearly 0.25%. By all means put the juicy stuff up front, get your punters interested, but if you engage and entertain there’s no need to strobe all your content in a nanosecond.

Of course all the social platforms do have their nuances in terms of ideal video length, particularly from a marketing perspective. In this respect, hubspot have done the heavy lifting and done some research on the ideal durations for platforms, which we’ll pinch here:

Keep Calm and Animate!

2d illustration of someone throwing toilet roll out of a window

Conquest, war, famine and plague notwithstanding notwithstanding, it’s probably not a bad time to be one of the busy London animation studios. People may be broke, scared and more interested in proving sourdough than being nudged along your marketing funnel but that will change soon enough.

Of course the main benefit of animation over live-action is that it’s much easier to do from a distance. In fact, for most animators, the more distance the better, particularly if you don’t have to talk to anyone, ever.

Shooting live action is a different story. Even the smallest of productions need at least 500 people to fuss around making you redo a shot you were happy with on the first take anyway. It’s expensive, fiddly and very hard to do at arm’s length. For now it seems hard to plan for much beyond a simple greenscreen shoot in a studio.

Like most London animation studios, Hocus Pocus switched to remote working pretty easily. The main difficulty has been adjusting to the general tone. We tend to make colourful, positive, personality driven films. Most of the time they’re flogging something ultimately, or at least getting people to go somewhere where they might buy something. So when people are only buying bog roll and dried pasta, there’s not much for us to say.

But as the lockdowns around the world begin to lift, so does the tone and visual language. We move away from the DIY adverts, the zoom captures, the regional reassuring (or patronizing) VOs and we emerge to a brighter, colour-filled (albeit CGI) world. And us animation studios can get back to doing what we do best: getting people to buy a load of stuff that of course they don’t know they need yet.