Independent Films by the Numbers

The marketing of Independent Films

The Best YouTube Video Length? — 8 Min.

I am programming a more intense study as I write, but I wanted to close out my initial study on the best length for a YouTube video. Common knowledge has it that since most videos on YouTube are less than 3 minutes that it is best to follow the pack and make many short videos. My study of the differences between randomly selected videos and those deemed popular/most viewed has questioned this pack logic.

What I have found is that videos under two minutes are less like to be widely watched that expected by their frequency in the population, while videos 5 minutes are over are much more likely to become popular that expected by chance and their population frequency. The strongest performance beyond chance comes from 8 minute videos, which have a stunning chi-squared value of 188 on 1 degree of freedom. Scores higher than 10.8 are able to reject a null hypothesis of the observed being the same as the expected with a confidence level of 99.9%!

I have charted this patterning by plotting the runtimes of YouTube videos against the chi-squared values looking at the expected number of popular videos based upon the population frequencies for those same runtimes. To make the chart easier to understand, I made the chi-squared values negative for cases where the observed was less than expected. Enjoy.

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