Should a B2B Corporate Video Be Short & Sweet or Long & Detailed?

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Should a B2B Corporate Video Be Short & Sweet or Long & Detailed?

The_Long_Road_AheadIn recent years, there’s been an upward trend in B2B corporate videos with an increasing number of CEOs expressing a preference for watching a video over reading text if both are available on the same webpage.

The dilemma for many B2B marketers is whether B2B corporate videos should be short and sweet in deference to executives’ busy working days, or whether a long, detailed video would have a better chance of holding their attention.

Testing Length with Adobe EchoSign

One way to test the best length for a B2B video is to look at two videos for the same product to see which one performed the best. Adobe’s EchoSign published two separate videos for the same product at the same time, but with a variation in length and format.

The first video, ‘Sign Here, There or Anywhere,’ is short and to the point. A mere thirty seconds long, this video gives a brief demonstration of the benefits of the product, and is good-natured and fun.

The second video, ‘Adobe EchoSign with Salesforce: Sign Here, There or Anywhere,’ takes the product and shows its benefits in a detailed story. Coming in at just over three minutes long, it does feel rather long for a B2B corporate video, but how did they compare in terms of views on YouTube?

While many people may assume the shorter video would be more suited for corporate clients, it’s only managed to rack up just shy of 4,000 views since its release last October, which is a pretty poor figure. On the other hand, the longer video, where the benefits of the product are clearly demonstrated in a story that perhaps many corporate executives can relate to, has attracted a viewing figure of just under a million for the same duration.

Granted this is only one example, and there may be differences in the way the two videos were marketed. But it does suggest we shouldn’t assume B2B videos are better short and sweet.

Successful B2B Videos

A few years ago, Corning Glass smashed all expectations with a B2B video entitled ‘A Day Made of Glass… Made Possible by Corning’.

Released in February 2011, this video breaks all the so-called rules. It’s five and a half minutes long for a start, and it’s not funny and doesn’t have any famous people in it. It’s also about a product that could be considered fairly boring: glass.

Yet to date, this video has gone viral in a major way, attracting over 23 million views.

The video was part of Corning’s ‘Possibilities Made Real’ campaign, aimed at inspiring large-scale investors to incorporate the use of specialty glass into electronics used in everyday life. It shows how glass can improve lives at home, work, commuting and shopping.

So why the huge success? Well, it has an appeal for tech lovers as it clearly shows a technology that’s practical at some point in the future, if not yet affordable (all the technology portrayed is being researched in Corning’s labs). Direct customers also responded positively with enquiries pouring in as a result of the video from companies keen to find out more. Perhaps its success can also be attributed to the inspirational nature of the video, and the fact that it shows a future that’s not so far away.

Another B2B video that’s seen huge success due to its inspirational nature is IBM’s ‘A Boy and His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie’.

This wondrous video clocks in at one and a half minutes, consisting of a thirty-second introduction before presenting a video that’s been certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest stop-motion animation film ever made.

IBM has been conducting research in the field of atomic-scale memory, which could transform computing with the introduction of devices with an unprecedented amount of memory.

The video was created by the manipulation of single atoms on a copper plate, and it tells the story of a boy and an atom who meet and become friends. It’s been widely acknowledged as a bit of fun – less of a scientific breakthrough and more of a conversation starter to get people interested in science and technology – but for our purposes, it does show that shorter B2B videos can be equally successful.

Is There an Ideal Length for a B2B Corporate Video?

This quick study highlights that there isn’t an ideal length for a B2B video. What matters far more than the length of the video, is the content.

When planning the content of a B2B video, there are two important factors to consider before deciding on its length. Who the target audience is, and what you want to achieve with the video. There’s little point making a video with the aim of clinching a sale and aiming it at junior executives with no purchasing power, and even less point in making an educational video aimed at people considered thought leaders in the field.

Once you’ve decided on these two factors, then decide on a suitable length to fit the video’s purpose. If you’re making a product demonstration video and are able to sum up the product’s key features in ninety seconds, don’t make a ten-minute video about it. Whereas if you want to demonstrate thought leadership in your field of expertise, you won’t achieve much in those ninety seconds.

What’s essential is capturing the attention of your target audience within the first ten seconds or so of the video, and providing something of value and interest so they can’t afford not to watch it.

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