How long should a YouTube intro be?

How Long Should a YouTube Intro Be

How long should a YouTube intro be?

If you are researching how long should a YouTube intro be – this is the post for you!

Some of the most important parts of a YouTube video are the first couple of seconds. This is otherwise known as the introduction. To answer how long should a YouTube intro be, it is worth exploring what an intro could mean in various contexts.

What is a YouTube Intro and Why is it Necessary?

A YouTube introduction takes place when someone is introducing viewers to the topic of the video. An intro summarizes what is going to happen in the video in less than 10 seconds (preferably less than 8). This helps the audience remain engaged.

Longer introductions are not recommended unless the channel already has a core loyal audience. Most people today who spend time online have a short attention span. Users often click away from videos that have introductions longer than 10 or 15 seconds.

Depending on the topic, introductions may be necessary but in other scenarios do not have to be used. This then begs the question – when using an intro – how long should a YouTube intro be?

How Long Should a YouTube Intro Be – Why Should You Care?

For most videos, there shouldn’t be an introduction. Introductions take time away from the video and can turn viewers away. This is especially true if intros are over the top or in no way connected to the topic at hand. 

Another thing to note is that an introduction is not the same as a bumper. Bumpers are what you play at the start of every video. These may include animations or theme music related to the channel, which the audience will recognize.

Bumpers repeat in every video and relate closely to branding. This is why it is worth noting that many people say intro, but mean bumper.

For those who think that introductions are a must have, they should be as short as possible, up to 8 seconds, or 10 at most. Concise and to the point, they should either explain what is going to happen in the video or add some contextual entertainment as to what can be expected from that video.

Avoid Long Introductions

It is important to avoid long introductions. Why? Because users will shy away from videos that have long introductions, especially if they are not on topic. Long introductions are also a problem for shorter videos, as they can take up a large percentage of a video and cause users to become bored and click away.

The main reason to avoid any longer introduction (long being anything over 10-15 seconds) is the patience of potential newcomers to the channel. Long-time viewers might stay, but new ones want the content – not talking, or even worse, highlight reels with a debatable choice of music. 

What Makes a Great YouTube Intro – How to Make Intros The Right Way

How long should a YouTube intro be is not the only question to ask, but rather, what would make a great YouTube intro. There are a couple of things to note before making your next video. It is important to focus on at least four aspects: Entertainment, engagement, length, and conciseness.

Entertainment and Engagement are Very Important

As much as a short intro or no intro would do well, the entire video might fail if the audience is not entertained or engaged. Depending on the type of content a YouTube channel provides, it is a good idea to focus on entertainment or engagement.

If a channel is informational or descriptive in nature, then engagement is important. That is up to the creator and presenter. An entertainment-oriented channel like a gaming channel should focus on providing something amusing or dramatic.

Entertainment-oriented channels should include interesting highlights from a video. If it’s a gaming video, a highlight reel would do great, especially if it is before a dramatic moment (also known as cliffhangers, but since it is an intro, it is not actually a cliffhanger).

Informational channels should either get straight to it or simply state what the video will be about. Some channels make interesting intros, but only in the case of a very controversial or trending topic (typically tech channels when some company does something less than favorable).

The Length – How Long Should a YouTube Intro Be

YouTube logo in the rain

The length is the next important step in making a great intro. Long introductions are out of the question, but depending on the channel that might change. Highlight reel clips can be summarized in under 5 seconds, which is perfect for such videos. You could edit two clips together to create an even more dramatic introduction.

Informational channels can make longer intros, particularly if there is more to be said about the topic. Still, the intro should be shorter than 20 seconds, at most, specifically for informational videos. With that in mind, it is important to make your intro as concise as possible so that you do not lose the interest of viewers.

Short Vs Concise – Meaning Matters

A short intro is not the same as a concise intro. Being concise is important. The fewer words, the better, if the meaning is easily understood. This is something that should be planned for ahead of filming the video.

The highlights chosen for an intro should represent the overall feeling of the video. This is important so that the audience has a general idea of what to expect.

How Long Should a YouTube Intro Be – The Ideal Length

It is always a question of how long should an intro be, or should there even be an intro. Depending on the channel and topic, the state of the channel and its branding, the number of subscribers, an intro could be used. Most people agree that an intro should not be included in a video unless necessary.

Following various social media like Reddit and Quora and multiple topics around YouTube introductions, the general consensus is that introductions should not be included in videos or be shorter than 8 seconds if included. Anything over 10 is a turn-off for most viewers, particularly for new/recommended content.

To summarize, if an intro is included, it should be shorter than 8 seconds and absolutely no longer than 10.

What to Include in a YouTube Intro – Optimize Your YouTube Intro

An intro, when included, should include aspects that will signal to viewers what the video is all about. The intro should make the topic of the video very clear.

Following are some tips as to what an intro should include in order to make the most of the time for the viewer.

The Topic of the Video – Mediated Concisely

An intro should be relevant to the video’s topic but displayed in a concise manner. An intro could include a couple of highlights from the longer video content or a short cliffhanger to excite and prepare an audience for what they are about to watch. In general, the intro should be concise and relate to the overall topic of the video.

Mentioning Yourself – It is Your Channel

An intro is nothing when you fail to mention who you are and what your channel does. Introducing yourself is important, which can also be done after the intro or bumper, depending on the type of channel and video.

Given that a YouTube channel can also be monetized, mentioning the channel’s name and presenter is recommended. This is also important when it comes to branding and marketing your channel.

Branding – Use Bumpers

Many successful channels have a repeating animation or jingle when they introduce you to a topic, usually after the introduction. You could utilize a bumper for your channel, which is a great way to present your logo, channel’s name, and create a memorable way for your audience to recognize your channel. 

Audio and visual stimuli are some of the most proven ways of connecting people to advertisements. For example, people remember the jingle from decades old commercials, like Old Spice. Creating a jingle with a bumper is one way to help your channel become more popular.

Engagement – Being Concise May Not Be Enough

Using a boring intro that is long or unentertaining may cause people to leave your video before it even truly begins. Adding some flair to the intro, whether it is dramatic facial expressions (which are really popular), or jokes about the topic at hand, should make viewers more interested and more likely to stay for the entirety of the video, especially if they are new to the channel. You could also just get straight to the point with your topic and express how passionate you are about the topic at hand.

Things to Avoid in a YouTube Intro

Below are a few thins to avoid when creating an intro for your next YouTube video to maximize success.

Profanity or Hard Language

Unless your channel’s branding is somewhat mature, profanity might not get you any viewers, not to mention that it will likely get you demonetized. I would highly recommend avouding profanity at all costs.

Long, Boring Talks

These will not get you anywhere. At the end of the day, you should be grateful that people are taking the time to watch your video. Reward your viewers with engaging content, don’t punish them with long, boring lectures.

Inconsistency in Intros

This is particularly important for the channel’s branding. If some of your videos have introductions, but others do not, things are likely to get confusing for viewers. Long-time viewers, as well as newcomers, could get distracted by the inconsistencies on your channel.

Tips for Making Great YouTube Intros – Editing and Directing

Video editing with Canon lens

There are a couple of ways that you can enhance your YouTube video intros using some simple techniques as well as more advanced video editing.

Make Things Simple

A complicated introduction with an over-the-top animation and various sounds and music might confuse the viewer and come across as poorly done. Intros should be quick and to the point, without anything to hinder your audience’s understanding of what to expect in the video. A simple, concise introduction or a couple of highlight clips should work.

Music Enhances Video Content

Most creators have music or jingles in their YouTube bumpers to increase engagement and brand awareness. Some creators, like Justin Brown – Primal Video, advise using templates, but also recommend working with a motion graphic designer for something custom and brand-specific.

Adding music (when done correctly) makes everything better, and most templates and bumper-making tools enable the use of music from their libraries.

Consistency in Colors and Fonts

Typography is important whenever you have written or typed text on your screen. Choosing the right fonts and sizes, as well as placements, can mean the difference between a good or bad logo or intro, in this case.

Colors are also important, especially for bumpers. Organizing them in an aesthetically pleasing way should be a priority. Whether referring to the color wheel or by hiring a graphic designer, colors should assist in brand recognition for your YouTube channel.

Summary and Conclusion – To Intro or not to Intro?

YouTube is a place where there is no specific formula for success – many channels do things differently than others and still succeed. Some have long introductions, others have no intro at all. For your own project, consider making videos with no introduction (different than bumpers, remember), but if you really want one, make it shorter than 8, but no longer than 10 seconds. Keep it concise, entertaining, and make sure that it complements the video. 

Intro or no intro, engagement, and entertainment are important, and the quality of the content should never be compromised. Want to learn more about YouTube? Check out this guide on creating a YouTube thumbnail.

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Morgan is a recognized video marketing expert and content creator. She also runs a video production company and has a passion for teaching all things video.