The Epic Climb of Long-form Film Content

December 12, 2017

You’ve probably heard us talk at length about the importance of providing quality, customized video content (like here and here), as well as read our posts about the short attention span and lack of actual reading users on your site engage in (like here and here).

Audience patterns have not changed much over the years.

We have discussed the 3 items below at length in the blogs we linked above. The data to back these points has remained consistent for the long-haul:

  1. People don’t read websites – they scan
  2. If there is a video as an alternative to a wall of words, users will engage with the video (no matter if they are a boomer, Gen Xer, or millennial)
  3. As a result of #2, video has been invested in heavily as a viable marketing channel across multiple verticals
But here is the changing data point that intrigued our team:

We reviewed two recent studies that have lauded the engagement rates of “long-stay” or “long-form” video content. (Note: we will only be covering long-form video content in this post.) defines the “long-stay” as “anything over 60 seconds.”

Wochit discovered that “videos over 90 seconds have a much higher rate of engagement than videos of other durations. In Q3, they received 78.8% more shares (1539 compared to 861) and 74.6% more views (201,242 vs. 115,256 for all videos).”

Using these definitions, the overwhelming conclusion by both and Wochit was:

Longer video content is being welcomed by many audience sectors.

Users are not only viewing longer form video content, but their engagement rates with that long-form video content are almost 80% higher. That was a statistic significant enough to cause our team to ask some important questions.

Are these higher engagement rates driven by all long-form content or a specific type of content?

We wanted to know if all long-form content videos drove engagement rates, or if it was only a specific-type of long-form content that drove engagement. We had a hunch on what the answer was (quality, customized content drives engagement, not just any type of content), but we wanted to see it vetted out by the data.

We found that when a long-form video met the following criteria, it was typically successful:

  • Has an emotional element or evokes an emotional response
  • Tells a story (and uses a classic story arc)
  • Gives the audience a place in the story to plug in
  • Uses universal events that we have all experienced (like the eclipse or the North American Hurricane Season) as a technique to connect the audience to the story (Newswhip)
  • Engages consumers through the use of entertainment or entertaining elements (Huffpo)
  • Showcase inspiring people and real-life stories (TopRank Blog)
  • Creates an opportunity for the audience to interact with the content and/or provide feedback in real-time
  • Provides an education to the audience via in-person interviews, instruction, custom graphics, or demos (TopRank Blog)

Is there a particular “tone” to the content that people engage with at higher rates?

Today’s society is highly politicized and news reports (and people respond to) negative statistics and stories. The statistics show that both conservative and liberal leaning content overwhelmingly trends towards a negativity bias.

But does that practice vet out that video content that has higher engagement rates is also negative? Or do we see a departure from this norm when it comes to what people are sharing?

So we got curious and started to explore. Here is what we found:

  1. Only 1.2% of videos go viral (Wochit)
  2. The top 10 videos on YouTube were a mix of fun or funny, real-life and animation, and entertainment. (CNN)
  3. The most-watched Facebook video ever is of a woman in a Chewbacca mask who couldn’t stop laughing (and made all of us laugh too!) (Unilad)
  4. As of September 2017, Facebook ranked the top videos as follows (Newswhip)

The good news with these updated statistics is that you are no longer relegated to keeping your videos under 60 seconds. Data proves that long-form video engagement is on the rise, provided that the right type and format of content is presented.

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This is awesome news to our storytelling film crew and can be for your organization too. Do you have a story or something about your organization or brand that you have been wanting to share, but you knew it couldn’t be compressed into a mini-film of 60 seconds or less?

Contact us and we can help turn your idea into a long-form film that will produce results and connect with your audience. We are excited to ring in 2018 with a further exploration of these longer form content videos!


Cross & Crown

About Cross & Crown

Cross & Crown is a team of creatives who are passionate about solving problems through design and technology, taking what is there and making it better. Based in Chambersburg, PA, we strive to help educate, advocate, and thrive in a digital world.

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