How Long Should Your Videos Be?

Do longer videos get more love from the YouTube
algorithm? Are hour-long podcasts getting more exposure
than your 2 minute short film? I’m Cristos, VP of Engineering, and in this video, let’s
talk about video length as it pertains to YouTube’s search & discovery systems. Search and Discovery:What is the Perfect Length for YouTube? YouTube’s search and discovery systems
try to help each individual viewer find what they want to watch. This means they will surface videos that viewers
are interested in watching, and also that viewers will find satisfying after watching. Now, when you hear that second part, you might
think, ah-ha! I knew it. The algorithm directly rewards long videos
because they are more satisfying and cause people to watch longer. Podcasts will take over! But that’s not the case. If it were, you’d never see music videos
with millions and sometimes billions of views. You’d never see hit animated videos either. YouTube’s search and recommendation systems
use hundreds of signals to determine how to rank videos, and certainly, the average view
duration of a video, and average percent viewed, are some of them. What you don’t want to do though is start
padding the length of your videos just for the sake of making them longer. We’ve seen creators try this, and it often
hurts – not helps – the performance of their videos. After all, if the quality of your videos decline
and viewers start clicking away early, that is not a positive signal. Now, if you have the choice of making an amazing
20 minute video that keeps people riveted — instead of an amazing 10 minute video
– would the 20 minute version get more exposure? Quite possibly. The reason is that viewers may find the 20
minute version more satisfying. Viewers of the 10 minute version may watch
something less satisfying after that video, or just leave YouTube less satisfied. But we know that how long someone watches
is only one way to estimate satisfaction. That’s why we’re now using satisfaction
surveys as well – maybe you’ve seen them? They randomly ask viewers to rate a video
after they’ve watched it. This helps us further understand the difference
between a video that wasted your time… versus one that was well worth your time. The best thing to do as a creator? Don’t over-think your video’s length. As they say, “the run-time should match
the content”. If it takes 2 minutes to communicate what
you want to say, make a 2 minute video. If it takes 20 minutes, make it 20 minutes. If viewers really enjoy watching it, our Search
& Discovery systems should do their job surfacing it to others. I hope that helps. To learn more about how YouTube works and
how to grow your audience, be sure to subscribe here on the Official YouTube Creators channel. Thanks.


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