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Abundance vs. Relevance. What is the ideal length of an explainer video?

Usually, when customers contact us they know beforehand that they want an animated explainer or promotional video that is both short and powerful. Their experience as viewers has led them to understand that attention spans are short, the bombardment of stimuli is constant, and patience in the digital world is far from abundant. The challenge, however, is to help them achieve a balance between the quantity and relevance of the information they wish to transmit and the right amount of time.

In our experience, clients are passionate in their expertise. They know their product or service perfectly, but they have great difficulty summarizing the core values and factors that differentiate them from the competition. We, as storytellers, focus more on the relevance of the attributes of a product or service than on an (often extensive) list of its characteristics. At Sloop we know that it is more effective to transmit ideas from a place of emotion than to try to sell them as the best option on the market simply by describing their benefits one by one.

Another factor to take into account: most clients are under the impression that an animated video can convey in much less time that which can be transmitted orally. While it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, in practice, the viewer needs sufficient time to absorb the information presented at the right pace and without being overloaded with information. Otherwise, the potential consumer could lose interest and abandon the experience.

An animated piece we did for Photobud, an innovative solution for photo editing and enhancement, is a good example of efficient use of time in a video. We wanted to minimize the amount of time used to explain each step in the app’s workflow to avoid diverting the attention of the viewer from what was really important: the platform’s solution to the user.

We decided to explain those steps in a quick, straightforward way, so we could make better use of the time left to generate empathy and engage the audience with fun storytelling and visuals.

So, what is the ideal length for an explainer video? The one in which the amount of information delivered is seen as both relevant and emotionally useful by the consumer, and which makes logical sense without being boring. This way, each new piece of information is automatically perceived as sought after and necessary, and is questioned much less.

Finding that balance is not easy, but is an indispensable part of our job as directors and producers.

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