Up until recently, our videos have been short and snappy.

We did this on purpose because...

  1. Short concentration spans would welcome short videos.
  2. We thought that YouTube would conclude that viewers abandoning videos half way meant that our videos weren't worth watching/suggesting.

Well, it turns out that we were wrong on both counts.

With regards to concentration spans, we now realise that borderline converts have large concentration spans. They're considering the biggest decision of their lives. They're looking for comfort and guidance, not entertainment. In fact, they actually appreciate long videos.

As for abandonment rates sending bad signals to YouTube, it turns out YouTube isn't that fussed. In fact, YouTube accepts high abandonment as a modern reality. So, rather than obsess over video completion rates, YouTube assesses how many minutes we can keep its users glued to YouTube. So, if people usually watch half a video, long videos will keep them on YouTube for longer. Thus they'll suggest our videos more often.

So, as of last week, we're no longer obsessing over video length. Instead, we'll stay focused on ensuring that the content is meaningful, focused and engaging. And if that means a video ends up being 15 minutes long, then so be it.

So far, our new approach has paid off and, as you can see, YouTube is now suggesting our videos twice as much as it used to.

If you'd like to watch one of our new long videos, we recommend you to watch Yusuf from India.