How long should a video be for social media?

Social media optimal video lengths for engagement

As stated by Vimeo, creating "effective videos is [achieved by] building ads that get viewers to watch through to the final frame".  

If a viewer doesn't finish the video, then the all important CTA (call to action) will be missed, and the message of the advert could be wasted. To make sure your messaging is delivered spot-on, we've complied a list of 'best practices' for video lengths across the major social media platforms.


  • Optimal video length: 15 seconds to 2+ minutes
  • Maximum video length: 4 hours

Facebook says that “shorter videos get more completed views” on the platform. More people will watch to the end of a video that is 15 seconds or shorter. The platform offers several video formats and lengths to the user. Second place to YouTube, its maximum video length is 4 hours, with livestreams lasting up to 8 hours.

Having said that, the optimal timings for adverts are 15 seconds and 2 – 5 minutes for longer-form content. Similar to Instagram, Facebook will show adverts on their stories. Be aware that an advert that runs over 15 seconds will be separated out onto different cards, meaning the user has to tap across to finish the ad.



  • Optimal video length:

    • IG story: 1 – 7 slides
    • Grid video: 26 seconds
    • IGTV: 2 to 5 minutes
    • Reels: 15 – 30 seconds
  • Maximum video length:

    • IG story: 15 seconds
    • Grid video: 60 seconds
    • IGTV: 10 minutes
    • Reels: 30 seconds

Instagram Feed videos have been shown to perform best at a very specific 26 seconds! Using sound on feed videos isn’t essential for engagement, rather it’s use of captions that boost engagement and provide accessibility, of course. What is important, is a clear thumbnail, as this will be the static on your feed and the loading image for users before the video plays. For Instagram stories, it has been shown that 1 – 7 slides is the optimal length with short punchy messaging on each slide for dynamic effect. IGTV offers up the chance to present longer form content, though 2 – 5 minutes is best practice for high completion rates. For maximum engagement, Instagram’s algorithm currently favours Reels. Currently maxing out at 30 seconds, Reels can be considered the direct response to the TikTok boom of fast-paced video content. As opposed to Instagram Stories, Reels prefers organic content and authenticity, including product demonstrations and educational content.



  • Optimal video length: 43 – 45 seconds
  • Maximum video length: 2 minutes 20 seconds

Every second counts clearly, as Twitter believes the optimal video length on their platform is 43 – 45 seconds. In fact, it is believed that this video length makes it more likely to be featured on the platform’s ‘video of the day’ and generally boost engagement. Despite this, Twitter do not offer an ‘optimal’ time length for advertisers. The social media network limits its tweets to 280 characters and they seem to favour short-form content for video too. Videos under 60 seconds will automatically loop, benefiting the ‘total plays’ button. Vimeo still believe that the first 1 – 3 seconds of a Twitter video are the “most important for hooking your audience“.



Optimal video length:

  • Feed video: 30 seconds
  • LinkedIn stories: 20 seconds or less

Maximum video length:

  • Native video: 10 minutes
  • Video ad: 30 minutes
  • LinkedIn stories: 20 seconds

LinkedIn has recently launched ‘stories’ to help them compete with other social media giants. Due to this, there is limited data on best practices for LinkedIn ‘stories’ lengths. For feed videos, LinkedIn states that advertisers should keep videos to a length of 30 seconds or less. In 2018, the platform reported that videos of this length saw a 200% increase in completion rates. However, this data feels a little dated now and LinkedIn themselves strongly encourage A/B testing a variety of video lengths. It’s important to remember that the content of the video plays an important role in defining what the most engaging length should be.



  • Optimal video length: 6 – 15 seconds
  • Maximum video length: 15 minutes

Pinterest introduced video ‘pins’ in 2019 as another way for creators and brands to reach viewers. The minimum video pin length is 4 seconds, though the Pinterest team suggests boosting your length at least 6 for maximum impact. Compared to video giants like TikTok and YouTube, this may not be a network you want to prioritise for your social media video campaigns. Having said that, Pinterest reported that users watch over 1 billion videos daily on the platform. Pinterest Premiere has recently launched, improving the overall advertising experience on the network.



  • Optimal video length: 3 – 5 seconds
  • Maximum video length: 3 minutes

While the maximum video length on Snapchat is 3 minutes for ads, the platform states that the “sweet spot” for ads is 3 – 5 seconds. Snapchat encourages advertisers to place any call to action in the opening frame, or first 3 seconds. The network has some strict parameters in place to ensure your ad is effective, including perfect timing of voiceovers to match any ‘call to action’ and clear branding of the product/service within the first 2 seconds of the advert.



  • Optimal video length: 10 – 15 minutes
  • Maximum video length: 12 hours

YouTube’s platform is based entirely on videos, which means there is much more flexibility in length of content. In fact, the longest video on YouTube is a whopping 596 hours and has over 2 million views. This video won’t load for most people, and YouTube responded to excessively lengthly content by placing a cap of 12 hours or 128 GB file size. The optimal time tends to be above the 10 minute mark, as this is the point at which creators are able to insert ads. That being said, some creators choose to create shorter ‘fast–paced’ content such as David Dobrik, a controversial influencer who keeps his vlog lengths to a consistent 4:20 minutes.



  • Optimal video length: 9 – 15 seconds
  • Maximum video length: 60 seconds

Tik Tok has taken the world by storm in the past 18 months, turning users into viral sensations through their powerful algorithm. The success of the app, particularly with a younger demographic, is that the content is fast-paced. Videos can be recorded for 15 seconds or 60 seconds, with optimal engagement being at 15 seconds or less. Messaging has to be high impact and delivered quickly for effectiveness. Despite being a competitive landscape, the app’s algorithm has seen smaller businesses become internet sensations with minimal effort in marketing. Some businesses achieve millions of views and are able to link a CTA in their bio. 

The insights and figures we’ve collated above should give you a good foundation to develop your next social media strategy. Once you know where to post and what length of content, the next step is creating that content. Video is highly engaging, and the preferred output by most brands in 2021. At Tricks, we pride ourselves on our animation skills and art direction. Check out some of our social media campaigns containing video content here.

How long should a video be for social media?

Gordon Barry

31 August 2021

5 minutes read