When creating videos specifically for social media, there’s a lot to consider. How do you grab a viewer within the first few seconds? How do you write copy that actually elicits action from your viewers? And, most importantly, how do you make sure your audience actually watches the full length of the video you worked so hard on?
The cornerstone of crafting effective videos of your own is building ads that get viewers to watch through to the final frame. A massive key to boosting those completion rates is remembering to craft a video that’s an optimal length for each social media platform.
As a general rule, it’s important to note that the ideal length for a video is however long it takes to showcase your brand and drive action from your people. Still, there are some best practices for each platform, so we’ve compiled video length best practices and guidelines to help you understand how much time you really have to work with.
Facebook video lengths
- Maximum video length: 240 minutes
- Optimal video length: 15 seconds to 3+ minutes
Because video is a huge part of its platform and ad network, Facebook allows for some very long max video lengths. But just because the platform lets you play around with a runtime that resembles an afternoon Netflix binge doesn’t mean you have unlimited time to grab your audience.
Before firing up your Facebook video editor, consider the type of video you want to make. When it comes to videos designed for quick conversion and business awareness, Facebook suggests keeping your videos less than a minute long (and under 20 seconds for Facebook stories). But for longer videos like episodic series and live streams, the site says 3+ minutes is best to maximize viewership.
What’s the best time to post on Facebook?
There are multiple theories. According to Hubspot, Thursdays and Fridays from 1-3 PM are the best time to post on Facebook. Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursday and Friday.
Posting between the hours of 1-4 PM usually results in the highest average click-through rates during the weekdays. Facebook’s popularity doesn’t drop off during the weekend. A study from TrackMaven analyzed 5,800 pages and 1.5 million posts on Facebook. They found posting on Facebook “is most crowded during the weekdays, but people pay more attention during the weekend with increased engagements (comments and shares) on Sundays with Thursday following close behind.”
Pay attention to different time zones. About half of the US population lives in the Eastern Time Zone (ET). Combined with the Central Time Zone (CT), those two alone account for over 75% of the total US population.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Time Zone is 3 hours ahead of the Pacific Standard Time (PST), which still allows you to launch your campaigns in places like California within the 1-4 PM time gap. If your target audience is in a different continent than the US you should adjust the beginning of your campaigns.
Instagram video lengths
- Maximum video length:
- IG story: 15 seconds
- Grid video: 60 seconds
- IGTV: 10 minutes*
- Optimal video length:
- IG story: 1 – 7 slides
- Grid video: 60 seconds or less
- IGTV: 2 to 5 minutes
When putting together Instagram stories, think deeply about the number of story slides you need to tell your story. Each slide should have a single clear message or goal and your fully assembled story should include a clear hook and CTA. To make sure your audience sees all of your work, aim for 1 – 7 story slides at a time.
When it comes to grid video, keep it under a minute, then be smart about your packaging. Pick a thumbnail that makes it stand out in your grid — or even that explore page — and include on-screen text or captions to capture the interest of the (many, many) people scrolling through their feed while on mute.
IGTV allows you to break out of that 60-second limit and send users to a longer, more comprehensive video experience. Utilize that time to get your people further down into the funnel: offer them more information than you can in a simple video ad, but make sure not to overload your audience with info, either.
There’s some insight that suggests keeping it to 2 – 5 minutes is the best way to maximize completion rates. Pro-tip: don’t forget to plug your latest IGTV video in your feed and on your stories to send max people to your longer-form vid.
*Verified accounts can upload long-form video content up to 60 minutes long, but they must be uploaded from a computer.
What’s the best time to post on Instagram?
Instagram is the most popular Monday-Saturday. Posting before work hours and after work is a popular strategy for brands who are looking to reach potential customers with a small window of increased activity between 3-4 PM. (After all, the kids are getting out of school and people need an afternoon break to scroll their feeds.)
Luckily, Instagram also has basic analytics for Business Accounts, so you can explore the data for your particular account or brand. Play around with posting times on Instagram, especially if you’re targeting an international audience.
Twitter video lengths
- Max Twitter video length: 140 seconds
- Optimal video length: 43 – 45 seconds
Twitter still limits its characters to 280 characters per tweet, so it’s no surprise that its video capabilities also favor brevity. A recent study found that videos that ran between 43 – 45 seconds were more likely to be featured by Twitter and had the highest engagement rates in-feed. Keep your Twitter videos (and copy!) short and sweet to match the spirit of the platform.
What’s the best time to post on Twitter?
For direct to consumer conversations, Saturdays and Sundays are your most popular days communicating with your users. While your customers are still on Twitter during the workday they are less likely to click through and complete a sale than they are during the weekend.
We recommend tweeting between 12 – 6 PM and pinning your most important video content to the top of your Twitter feed is always a good idea for new customers who are visiting your Twitter page for the first time. Higher average click-through rates (CTR) tend to occur between Mondays and Thursdays, 1PM and 3 PM.
LinkedIn video lengths
- Maximum video length:
- Native video: 10 minutes
- Video ads: 30 minutes
- Optimal video length: 30 seconds or less
The social media platform for business-oriented users, LinkedIn has evolved into a very popular site for all types of video content. LinkedIn suggests users keep videos built for brand awareness under 30 seconds —as videos at that length reported a 200% lift in completion rates according to a study LinkedIn conducted.
Still, the platform suggests toying around with longer lengths if you’re looking to get your audience to take immediate action. The same study found longer-form content drove just as many clicks as shorter videos.
What’s the best time to post on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the B2B social media network par excellence. Your posting times should comply with office hours where your audience will most likely be working.
“93% of B2B marketers rating LinkedIn as the top B2B social media lead generation source” according to AdWeek. The best days to post on LinkedIn are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. In other words, stick to mid-week to avoid a case of the Mondays or the Friday slump. Ideal posting times range from 7-8 AM or 5-6 PM. Tuesday is the most popular day for posting according to AddThis.
Pinterest video lengths
- Maximum video length: 15 seconds
- Optimal video length: 6 – 15 seconds
Pinboard-based social platform Pinterest has become a hotspot for creative and engaging short-form video content. Keeping small businesses in mind, Pinterest is super transparent about video pin best practices on their site.
While the minimum video pin length is 4 seconds, the Pinterest team suggests boosting your length to land between 6 and 15 seconds for maximum impact. Pick a stunning thumbnail image, put your branding front and center, add some text, and you’ve got an enviable video pin that’ll bring more peeps to your page.
What’s the best time to post on Pinterest?
We recommend posting after work hours, particularly after 8 PM and before 11 PM. Saturday and Sundays are the most popular days of the week with users spending a longer time on Pinterest and are more likely to re-post your content during these days.
YouTube video lengths
- Organic YouTube video length: 15 minutes
- TrueView Stream Ads length: videos can be anywhere from 12 seconds to 3 minutes
- Sponsored Cards length: 15 – 20 seconds
What’s the best time to post on YouTube?
According to Entrepreneur, Thursdays through Sunday are the most popular days to post content on YouTube. On weekdays, it’s recommended you post videos anywhere between 12-4pm. On weekends, however, it’s recommended you post your YouTube videos earlier in the day, between 9-11am.
TikTok video lengths
- TikTok expanded their max video length in 2021. Once limited to 60 seconds, videos can now be anywhere between 5 seconds to 3 minutes long. However, videos with a duration of 9 to 15 seconds tend to perform best.
What’s the best time to post on YouTube?
With TikTok, consistency is key, and TikTok best practices recommend posting often when you’re trying to build a following. In fact, 90 percent of all TikTok users access the app on a daily basis, and users spend an average of 52 minutes per day browsing the app.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub‘s analysis of over 10,000 TikToks, they discovered peak times for engagement on TikTok happened at various times — like 9am on Tuesdays or 5pm on Fridays. Generally, though, mornings are a great time to post on TikTok.
Want more? Check out our social media guides.
- Your social media superguide: proven tips for social media marketing
- A complete guide to Instagram video specs
- A complete guide to Facebook video specs
- A complete guide to YouTube video specs
- A complete guide to Twitter video specs
- A complete guide to Pinterest video specs
- A complete guide to LinkedIn video specs
- A complete guide to TikTok video specs
*Originally published in July 2020, written by Jourdan Aldridge. Updated 2021.