How long should my video be?

Look to the left. Now to the right. Are you alone? No one has to know the answer to this question. This is a moment of truth. How many times in a day do you check your smartphone? How many times while you’re reading this blog do you think you’ll have a quick glance at your email inbox.

News flash: attention spans are shrinking!

That much we know. But, before making any determination on length you have to consider your audience. Where do they live?

Your answer impacts which platform you should use to share the video. The answer really is don’t just create one video at a fixed length. In this multi-channel world, it is very ambitious and bold to ask a lone video (regardless of length) to do everything. To maximize performance, vary the length of the same concept. What you put on Instagram will not be the same content you share during a live event.

With all that said you’ve got to learn to crawl before you walk. In essence, in order to break the rules you have to learn them first.  So here are the basics when it comes to length.

Go Shorty…

Remember when we mentioned those short attention spans? Let’s get back to that. To cater to viewers’ fleeting attention advertisers now film snackable, six-second versions of their 15- or 30-second ads.

Six seconds?! Yes. This is a very viable length right now. But remember, the video does not have to do everything… it just needs to get the attention you desire and cause the viewer to want more.

The overwhelming majority of videos we create are less than two minutes in length. Our team embraces the shrinking attention spans and shifting audience expectations, and we are always advising our clients on how to adjust their content to match.

We find that when it comes to product videos, some demos, and explainer videos, the shorter and more succinct the better.

1. Explainer Videos

In essence, an explainer video is one which provides an overview of a problem and demonstrates how your product or service provides a solution.

As these are generally quite top-of-funnel, meaning you are likely engaging your audience for the first time to get their attention and get them wanting more,  it’s best to keep them concise.

Recommended Length: 60 seconds or less

We produced a high-level infographic to explain what stands for.       
A deep and sophisticated philosophy does not have to be difficult to demonstrate with video.

2. Product Videos/ Sizzle Videos

If you think of the explainer video as the “what.” Then your product/ sizzle video is the “why.” These videos let your viewers experience your product or solution.

And at this stage, it’s okay to go a little longer. At this point, you’ll have piqued their interest!

Recommended Length: One to two minutes 

A product video doesn’t have to be something tangible. It can be a concept or an event. We produced Visit Tampa Bay’s Sales/Sizzle video as a tool for them to attract more meetings and large scale conventions to the area.

3. Webinars

Webinars are great opportunities to delve deep into subjects of interest to your audience.

With webinars, you also have a lot of flexibility on video length. It all depends on what you’re presenting and how you want to present it.

Recommended Length: 15 minutes plus Q&A

                               Our crew assisting with Bayer’s CTEPH webinar. 

4. Social Videos

What better way to connect with your audience than through their favorite social channels?

The rising popularity of IGTV is the world’s way of recognizing people are watching less TV and consuming more digital content. Instagram TV allows creators to upload high quality, long-form videos. It allows users to create channels where they can upload videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long.

IGTV is in fact the exception and not the norm (for now). In general, short and sweet videos are perfect for engaging with your audience on social.

And while it’s important to keep tweaking your video approach as social needs are always changing, here’s what’s working well right now.

Instagram stories can be longer, but they go away. And remember money talks. If you put money behind your push on Instagram and Facebook the rules are different. Posts can be longer. So below are for those of you going it without the added push.

Recommended Lengths:

  • Instagram: 15-30 seconds
  • Twitter: 15-60 seconds
  • LinkedIn: 15 seconds-tw0 minutes
  • Facebook: 15 seconds-two minutes

Video Pitches

Are you pitching a reporter or maybe you’re producing a sales pitch?

If you think six seconds is short, consider that your email pitch may be competing against 799 other email pitches.

As professionals who have lived on the other side of the pitch, we recommend keeping pitches short and sweet.

You can check out more on video-pitching here.

Recommended Length: 30-45 seconds

Long-form Content isn’t Dead

Now with all that said, we are NOT swearing off long-form content. It comes down to your goal and many times the platform. Webinars, certain event videos (like our example below) and many product demos can be 3 minutes and more. The bigger questions are: How well do you know your audience and can you meet them there?

We created a longer-form video for Habitat for Humanity based on what we knew about the audience and the circumstances under which they would be watching. 

In a nutshell, even though short content performs well, consumers also seem to have an appetite for in-depth educational content.

Remember, time is money. But don’t sell your story short.  Hit reply and tell us if you think this article was helpful.


About the Author: Roshni Hannon

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.


Your Story. Your Data. Your Property.

“That is amazing!”

A visceral reaction to a conversation I had about 6 months ago.

I have been friends with Richie Etwaru and Michael DePalma for years.

Michael and Richie in front of my Alma Mater, Syracuse University. 

We’ve done TEDx talks and worked together on some personal ventures, but most importantly we are friends and collective fans.

There are few people I know who get my brain working faster than these two. And I always love the dialogue and intellectual stimulation.

The idea behind did not disappoint.

It is one of those ideas that strikes you over and over again in waves. With each wave adding more and more depth, simultaneously raising deeper global implications.

Doing Good and Doing Well.
The leaders of and internet backpack company Imcon International discuss their partnership during a Mad Bear shoot.

The question posed:

What if all people on the planet owned the data they produce as their property?

Michael and I talking during the shoot in Washington, D.C.

Makes sense. You own other things you produce, like your ideas, inventions, art, writings and beyond. So, why shouldn’t you also own your data; especially since every day you create data from your spending habits to your medical history to your geospatial data to your energy consumption, etc…

“But hold on,” I said, “no one is selling my health records, that is protected by HIPAA.”


Richie and Michael explained, every time you have a lab test, fill a prescription, have a procedure; you are creating a new data point. And, then your health records are de-identified (name and some simple info about you as a person are removed) and the record is sold on an open market estimated to be worth about $67 Billion a year. And, that is only the market size for health records, the general data market is currently estimated between $150-200B annually.

Imcon’s technology at work. See the guy in the upper righthand corner? He’s able to Skype with us from a remote location in Africa. Why is this so awesome?  Check out the video below. 

It was then that the concept hit me like a ton of bricks. What if I had a say?

Right now, I have no control of where my records may go. What research or marketing services my records might support. And, I certainly receive no money or compensation for any of my data that is sold.

The next step is really what got my mind spinning:

What if everyone with a digital presence had this level of control? What would this new individual centric data economy mean to the world and business at large?

This video highlights the perfect partnership between and Imcon International.

That is the concept behind the #My31 movement.

People can download the app (now available for Android and iPhone) and claim their data as their property. They will even receive a digital title for their data (just like you receive a title for your car or house). Then in the app, people can decide how, where and if their data is used. These choices are recorded immutably on a blockchain which adds trust and transparency. Then once enough people sign up, the company would be able to offer businesses access to explicitly consented data which is more valuable because it can be verified to be true. Plus, if someone chooses to support cancer research (for example), it is possible to share more information than is currently provided to researchers. This way the individual would be able to claim a larger percentage of the profits while allowing pharmaceutical companies to bring cures to market faster, with less cost with drugs that do more good. Win-win!

Simply put, you’ve heard of Fair Trade Coffee? This is Fair Trade Data.

Now you can see what I meant, the more you think about the concept the deeper the global implications.

So why call it the #My31 Movement?

Right now, there are 30 human rights that were enacted by the United Nations in 1948. These human rights were created looking at mistakes of the past but they really do not adequately cover our digital world. Property ownership of your personal data would be human right number 31. So that is where we ended up with #My31.

So yes, I have jumped on board and have been a (Hu)-manitarian ever since. In the process, Mad Bear has signed on to become the Official Video Marketing Company of the 31st Human Right. Something I am immensely proud of…

The idea has a life of its own and so far reaction to the idea has been nothing short of amazing.

I could go on to talk about IBM and other partnerships that have been developed. I could talk about the true uniqueness of the app both in design and function. I could talk about the doors that have opened like an invitation to speak at the UN Internet Governance Forum in Paris this November. And I definitely could go on to talk about what the concept could mean for the world if everyone had the ability to passively generate income through their data, let alone what this will mean going forward into future as our data sets grow exponentially.

Some people talk about data being the currency of the future and while I do not disagree with this concept, I think it falls short of the true impact of what it means and the opportunities the world is presented with once the value of data is embraced by an ever growing digital world.

One day, you could put a down payment on a house with your data or in the very least buy a set of golf clubs with it. Perhaps your data will be considered part of your estate and will be giving it to your kids because it has such value. Or perhaps the passive income generated from data could be used to fund a universal basic income and solve aspects of poverty.

I invite you to explore the concept on your own and see if it has as profound an impact on you as it has had on me.

And this is no longer just an idea I heard from my two friends Richie and Michael. It is all in the process of actually happening.

I truly believe the world is a better place if people own their data as their property.


About the Author: Glenn Zimmerman

Glenn has what is best described as “Superhero Syndrome.” His affliction began as a child and has progressed with age.

He got into extreme skiing and extreme sports before they were a thing because every superhero should try flying at least once.

While at Boston University, it was his desire to save the day that brought him to Post- Soviet Russia where he explored the emerging homeless population.

His Syndrome brought him to journalism school at Syracuse University to get his MS in Mass Communications. He later became an award winning reporter with the number one station in Detroit (WXYZ-TV) and with NBC’s flagship station in New York (WNBC- TV).

And, it was the reason he formed the video agency Mad Bear Productions.

With Mad Bear, he harnesses the power of story to help business, non-profits and events engage with their target audience. Video is his tool and he wields it mightily.

Glenn is a sought after speaker on video engagement and mass media. It is all part of his quest to help save the day, one story at a time.

The Gift of Video. It’s the Gift That Keeps on Giving.

Some of the best stories and memories are created during the holidays. So it’s only fitting that our Team of Storytellers take a moment to reflect on all the ways in which life has been particularly kind to us. We love giving the gift of video.

It is 100% the gift that keeps on giving. Read on… and you might just agree!

Video Boosts Conversions and Sales

First things first. We love using videos to help businesses make some serious money. And who isn’t thankful for that? Research shows that nearly 75% of users who watched an explainer-video about a product ended up buying it. Not only that, but video shows great ROI,  video builds trust, it’s mobile friendly and it’s engaging. So what are you waiting for!  In the video below Mad Bear’s CEO, Glenn Zimmerman, tells us exactly how thankful video can make all of us.

Immersive Experiences

If you’ve experienced virtual reality and/or 360 video then you already know why we are thankful for them. Virtual reality and 360 technology have changed the meaning of experiential.  It’s not just about travel anymore. Virtual reality and 360 video can and have become the tickets to success for businesses and education. Let’s face it. It’s all about the experience and it doesn’t get much better than an immersive one. You can experience our recent VR project with Busch Gardens of Tampa Bay and Visit Tampa Bay. It was recently picked up by VeeR, a Global Virtual Reality platform, and the video earned the most views for the month of October on the entire platform.

Interactivity and Connection

We’re thankful for the emotional and interactive nature of video. It’s not just about consumption. Think about it more often than not, you’re conferencing, FaceTime-ing, or reacting in real-time to a live video feed. We are all so much more connected. Any time you’re able to make a connection that’s a great thing. These trends then amount to converting viewers from passive consumers, to active participants. Videos prompt people to take action.


Video has the power to engage and delight viewers like no other medium. It can put a smile on your face, or a tear in your eye. We are thankful for the ability to touch emotions in our viewers. People remember what they feel. Our Team takes pride in that. We know that an emotional response to a video makes you memorable. And when you’re memorable you’re successful. See and just like that- now you are thankful too. We recently produced a longer-form video for Habitat for Humanity that strikes a range of emotions. Check it out below.


What is better than the thrill of the unknown? Video has progressed so far in such a short amount of time. It’s changing at every step of the production process. At Mad Bear Productions we’re thankful for the idea and promise of what might come next as it’s an opportunity to better tell YOUR story. From our Team to yours, have a very safe and happy Holiday season!


About the Author: Roshni Hannon

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

The Power of the Preview

They can be the source of angst, excitement, irritation or joy. In no more than two minutes, previews have the ability to make us feel an array of emotions. Video marketers  can learn a lot from a preview.

We are going to use the “Game of Thrones” as an example because our Team at Mad Bear is a big fan. The season trailers are fantastic. Sometimes – as is often the case with movie trailers- the preview is sometimes much better than the show/movie itself.  What do you mean we have to wait a year???

There is big money invested in network television and movies. Much of the success of series or a film, hinges on the handful of 1 to 2- minute movie trailers that promote them. Whenever an industry pours millions into making brief video snapshots as entertaining and persuasive as possible, we’re interested, and we think you should be too.

With that said, here are 3 things we can all learn from previews and trailers.

Make them Feel Something! Maybe its excitement, longing, sadness, desire, camaraderie – what ever it is that drives your point home — make it happen in your video. Figure out how to break down your brand narrative into a mini-story. Are you saving the world by saving customers’ time or money? Are you skyrocketing end-users to career-stardom because of how good they’ll look after buying from you? Or do you want them to feel a thrill so great that they’ll have to go and experience it for themselves? (like in the video below) Our Behind the Scenes Virtual Reality shoot gives viewers just enough of a taste of what they could go and experience for themselves to encourage them to try this new technology. Regardless if they’ve never tried VR before or if they are comfortable in a 360 world, they will be inclined to explore.

Hook ’em! Good trailers don’t open with a whimper—they start with a growl. Suspense-filled music, fog, a curious piece of dialog to spark curiosity. Do the same with your marketing videos, and do it fast. Because unlike a movie theater, marketing videos do NOT have a captive audience. If  your goal is to increase membership to an organization, think about your audience and the type of pace that appeals to them. For the the video below, our Team created a quick sizzle reel for the American Marketing Association of Tampa Bay. So we went with fast-paced and energizing.

Create Anticipation! The goal is to have viewers take action after they watch your video. A trailer hasn’t done its job if you don’t want to actually see the movie afterward. Your marketing video should similarly leave out the best part while hinting at the grand finale. Our goal in the video below was to remind families to sign up for camp and if your daughter has never been to a Girl Scout camp… the video implies “she is missing out”. You could even take it a step further and instead of waiting for your viewer to hopefully buy from you later on, capitalize with a CTA or lead form within the video itself. Any viewer who has made it that far is clearly qualified and interested and it’s time to move them forward in the epic drama of their customer journey!

Marketing lessons are everywhere. Video trailers are all about giving the audience a brief introduction to the ‘product.’ They rely on being short, relevant and engaging. And they combine voice, movement, sound and design to create an audio-visual experience which, if executed correctly, leave the viewer absolutely needing to find out more. Sounds familiar, huh?


About the Author: Roshni Hannon

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

The Human Spirit: Stronger Than Any Storm

Often life passes quickly. One day becomes another and we notice very little about individual moments. Many times when something happens we take pause. We hear about a school shooting, a plane crash or a beloved actor passing. We have little to do but watch through a lens, like it’s a production being played out on the big stage, and the tragedy unfolds before us. Then it’s over. The curtain falls and we go back to our everyday lives.

Then all of a sudden one day YOU’RE on the stage. It’s in these moments that we find out who we really are. Many of experienced this recently, with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I wanted to share my personal story.

I always find that in moments of chaos time slows down just enough for me to be able to contemplate things in a way I don’t normally have the time for. Sounds strange, but it’s true. What I learned and what I hope you take away from my story is that through tragedy there is true bonding, a need to feel connected; Even if only for a moment.

Most of the country watched, as a very angry and powerful Irma swirled around in the Atlantic. The hurricane dominated all conversations whether you were at the grocery store, gym or just getting gas. Strangers felt the need to say something about it to me. I didn’t mind, made me feel like it was us verses Irma.

Mad Bear CEO, Glenn Zimmerman, helping his neighbors prep for Irma

Once the storm’s path became ominous for all of Florida, like everyone else we knew, we stocked up and took refuge in our Tampa house. Neighbors all out and about helping each other put up crazy hurricane shutters that made it look like we were preparing for the purge. We had offers for help from people we hardly knew. Irma brought out the best in many of us.

It Takes a Village! Communities coming together to help keep one another safe

We decided to ride out the storm. But, overnight everything changed. At 5’oclock in the morning we were awakened to our doorbell. It was our neighbor with whom we have never spoken. He told us they were evacuating with their two young children and that we were welcome to go with them. They have an RV. You see, Irma moved her path directly over Tampa. So, thanks to this neighbor with whom we now have a forever bond in the wee hours of September 9th, my husband, my two kids and our French Bulldog (Chewbacca) piled into our car with only our essentials and decided to evacuate. It’s crazy to how you are able to spring into action when push comes to shove. My husband and I were both overcome with gratitude to the neighbor we barely knew. It was like he became family in a split second; Funny how a hurricane can do that.

Time to go! September 9th, 2017 Escaping Hurricane Irma

Unsure of where exactly we were headed, because quite frankly Irma wasn’t sure where she was headed. We thought Jacksonville was far enough away and it’s where my Mom and Dad live. Perfect. The drive was smooth. We even got gas and donuts! So far, Hannons:1 Irma: None. As we arrived in Jacksonville I felt my anxiety lift away. My children would be safe. I am a good, smart parent. I actually felt a bit smug. We continued to keep an eye on Irma and urgently invited friends to leave Tampa. No one accepted the offer. Thank God.

As I tucked the kids into bed on Sunday night, September 10th, I reassured them that everything was ok. Jacksonville was safe and we are praying for everyone in Tampa. No one knew what the morning would bring.

Water 2 feet deep and rising fast. September 11th, 2017

What ensued in the hours of the next morning is nothing short of a nightmare; At least for me and my family. What was already a night of uneasy sleep because we could hear howling wind and pounding rain. All I could think was, “everyone said Jacksonville would be ok, but this doesn’t sound good.” It wasn’t good. The power went out overnight. At 6’clock in the morning my Dad and I started making rounds in the house. They live near the St. John’s River. But, on this particular morning, they lived IN the St. John’s River. It took our eyes moments to adjust to what we were seeing. Water was gushing into the house from the back. It’s true what they say everything does start to move in slow motion. My son was awake and started to ask way too many questions. He was scared. It was becoming clear that if we didn’t leave soon we would be trapped and we might become a lead story somewhere. The water was rising quickly in the front and there was no way to get our cars out of the garage. The brain goes into survival mode. Throw what you need in one bag. Walk through this flood water and get OUT. We could see neighbors slowly peering out and their expressions of disbelief mimicking ours.

My 6-year-old daughter looking on in disbelief at her Grandparent’s flooded neighborhood

With the help of neighbors and friends, we made it through the flood waters to safety. Everyone is alive and my kids indeed will have a story to tell. But I will say through all the feelings, the fear of harm coming to someone I love, the sadness of my immigrant parent’s losing their dream home, the guilt that I lead my family into harm’s way, the overriding feeling was shock in people’s willingness to help us. There is something about tragedy, hardship and chaos that truly bonds people. People are good. They want to connect. They want to help. It makes them feel good. It brings me a lot of hope and sheds a lot of light on some of the darkest moments. The light continues to shine as I receive updates on all the help my parents are receiving as they try to build their life again. There you have it. Tragedy, not even Irma, can dampen the human spirit.


About the Author: Roshni Hannon

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.


In Video We Trust for Sales

As a salesperson, no matter how long your sales cycle, one of the most important things that you need to build with your buyer is trust. You could argue that getting a deal done without trust is next to impossible. If someone doesn’t trust that you have their best intentions in mind, that you can help them solve their challenges, and that you are an expert in your field, they will not buy from you. Period.

As buyers become more sophisticated and well-researched, maintaining trust throughout your sales funnel is more important than ever. Spammy tactics can kill your credibility and it is nearly impossible to recover from that first impression. The bottom line here is this: modern buyers have higher expectations of the customer experience – they want salespeople to focus on adding value and being helpful.

Leveraging video in your sales process is a game-changing way to build trust, establish authenticity, and strengthen relationships with your buyers and prospects.

Like any relationship you have to start slow.  With a prospect, as opposed to a repeat customer, perhaps you start with social. Maybe connecting on LinkedIn, liking some content and commenting on things. And then your next step, rather than sending an email, imagine the impression a personalized video would make? It would be memorable. And that’s what you want.

Experienced buyers can smell insincerity from their inbox. That’s why our Team often recommends using real employees and no script in order to build that trust.

We call this process “back scripting” because you are really editing back to a script. When done right, you will have multiple ways of creating the “script” however with real, sincere and genuine reactions vs. canned and robotic communications.

You may be thinking: “My buyers are old-school – sending them videos will freak them out or make them feel uncomfortable. This medium won’t resonate with them.” Trust us – if you focus on being thoughtful, adding value and going the extra mile to personalize your content, the responses will be overwhelmingly positive no matter who your buyer is.

Have questions on anything we’ve shared above? Please share in the comments – we’d love to hear your feedback.


About the Author: Roshni Hannon

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.