The content of a video is just as important as the package it is delivered in. While most brands already optimize their videos for mobile layouts, two key factors could further boost engagement in videos: duration and subtitles.
The average attention span of a Gen Z user is eight seconds, four seconds less than millennials. Reflecting that, the top one hundred YouTube videos’ average duration is fifty seconds, four times shorter than the average length of all posted brand videos. Leading brands have caught on. To promote their competing voice products, Google and Amazon both created a series of ads with amusing plots, which ranged from fifteen to sixty seconds each. Starbucks keeps it simple with product-focused ads clocking in under ten seconds.
Keeping videos short may cater to those with short attention spans, but including subtitles helps increase engagement—even on longer videos—according to Gartner L2’s Video 2019 report. The reasons for adding closed captioning are rampant: they cater to the deaf or hard of hearing, 85% of videos on Facebook are watched on mute and 80% more people finish watching a video when it is subtitled. Most brands have yet to adopt this feature: about twenty of the top one hundred videos on Facebook featured subtitles, while only ten of the top one hundred on Instagram did. Ahead of the pack, Nike started posting videos with subtitles in early 2019, while also lengthening their duration to 158 seconds, bringing them in line with the average length of all YouTube videos.
To ensure that users are engaged with the content, brands must optimize their viewing experience. There are two simple steps to set your video on the right path: keep it short, keep it subtitled.