Finding the Right Length for Your Motion Graphic

By September 18, 2018 August 26th, 2019 Content Marketing Strategy, Motion Graphics
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With Cisco projecting that 82% of all web traffic will be video by 2021, more and more brands are making video and motion graphics a central part of their marketing strategy. Branded video content on Facebook increased 258% between 2016 and 2017. What’s more, this content has proven very effective, with 64% of consumers saying that a Facebook marketing video they watched in the last month has influenced a purchasing decision.

But when you’re producing a motion graphic, it’s hard to know what best practices are in this fast-growing field — especially when it comes to video length. Too long, and you may lose their attention. Too short, and you might not get your message across.

One study conducted by video platform Wistia found that engagement holds for up to about 2 minutes. After that, there’s a steep drop-off. So that’s the first rule to follow: in most cases, you’ll want your video to be 120 seconds or less. But how do you narrow down the best length after that? It depends on your goal. Choose between the following four goals to find the motion graphic length that’s best for your project.

Goal #1: Diving into Complex Data or Information

When your goal is communicating a complex idea or delivering strong data visualizations to get your message across, we recommend a 90-second video.

The first rule to creating any great branded video is to cut the filler material or fluff. Only include the information that’s most necessary and effective for encouraging your viewer to take the next step — whether that’s clicking through to your website or buying your product. If, after all this, your video is shorter than 90 seconds, great! But if you need to go longer, don’t worry — up to 2 minutes, length shouldn’t hurt your engagement.

One example of a motion graphic that takes a deep dive into complex information is this 1:49-minute video from Epson on how 3LCD projectors work:

Goal #2: Gaining Social Media Traction for Your Motion Graphic

When you’re creating a motion graphic for sharing on social media, special considerations enter in. For instance, your video needs to remain effective even if the sound is turned off. After all, 85% of 30-second videos on Mic are watched without sound, according to media and marketing publication Digiday. And think about how many Instagram Stories or videos you’ve watched with mute on. Strong visual communication is all the more important in these contexts.

The right length for your video will depend in part on the platform. Facebook Business says 6-second spots are great for brand awareness. At the same time, older audiences (aged 35+) tend to prefer longer, 30-second spots. So if you’re opting to explain a more complex topic (Goal #1 above), you have some wiggle room to go for a longer motion graphic. If you prefer to build brand awareness, follow our advice for Goal #4 below.

A series of videos that Killer Infographics created for PEMCO offers up some strong examples of what motion graphics optimized for social sharing look like. Each is around 20 seconds long, focusing on just one simple topic. These motion graphics drove a 12x increase in social engagement for PEMCO:

Goal #3: Targeting a Specific Audience

When it comes to video length, consider your audience to determine which length is right for you. Millennials prefer 10-second spots, whereas Generation X (people aged 35–54) prefers the more traditional 30-second branded video. So if you’re posting on a platform like Snapchat, you should opt for something short, whereas if you’re going to Facebook to reach older audiences, you can opt for something longer.

The below motion graphic on the history of vaccines was made in the hopes of inspiring new generations of medical students to learn more about Carrington College. It runs three minutes long — longer than what we would recommend for most motion graphics, but ideal for its audience, a group of people accustomed to long hours of study, for whom a 3-minute video is an exceptionally efficient way to learn about this difficult concept:

Goal #4: Boosting Brand Awareness

If you’re looking to drive brand awareness, you’re better off keeping your motion graphic or video short and sweet. Since you’re probably not trying to explain a complex topic, cut all the filler and get right to the point, focusing on what makes your brand different and memorable.

Facebook Business reports that 6-second ads actually have the most impact when it comes to brand awareness and recognition. In comparison with 30-second ads, they result in an …

  • 11% increase in recall
  • 12% increase in return on ad spend
  • 271% increase in video completion

These brand-awareness benefits came through despite the fact that the average watch time was the same for both ad lengths.

The following motion graphic for Seattle credit union BECU announced and showcased the organization’s rebrand in just 30 seconds:

Whether you have one or more of these goals in mind, follow the rules of thumb outlined above and you’re sure to see improved engagement and conversion rates. Focus on creating a quality motion graphic or video first and foremost. After that, ensuring that your video is the right length might just be essential to its success.

Erin McCoy

Author Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy is director of content marketing and public relations at Killer Visual Strategies. She earned her BA in Spanish with minors in French and Russian, and holds 2 master’s degrees from the University of Washington: an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Hispanic literature. She has won nearly 2 dozen awards in photojournalism, and has dedicated those skills to boosting Killer’s brand recognition and thought leadership in visual communication. Since Erin took on her marketing/PR role, Killer has been named a member of the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row; has been featured in such publications as Inc., Forbes, Mashable, and the Huffington Post; and has been invited to present at such conferences as SXSW and SMX Advanced.

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