How many words should be in your 60-second video? (2023)

“How many words should be in my video?”

It’s a question we get asked all the time. Video word count is a tricky balance, especially if you’re new to video making.

Include too many words and your message will be difficult for viewers to absorb. On the other hand, a video with far too few words can drag on and on. Neither is pleasant to watch. And you risk losing all of the audience-swaying power video has to offer.

But if you get your video word count just right…that’s where the magic happens.
To finally answer this question once and for all, we turned to top research on language processing — plus a healthy dose of our own Biteable video data. Here’s what we found.

Pro Tip: For even more video-pacing knowhow, read our article about finding the right length for your video scene.

Our research

Because we live and breathe video here at Biteable, we figured the best way to get hard data was to turn to our own work.

We split our research up into two categories:

  • For videos that rely mostly on spoken word, we analyzed 100 of our best-performing Biteable YouTube videos.
  • For videos that use mostly on-screen text, we dug into 100 video templatesdesigned by the Biteable pros.

We scoured this data, interviewed our own Biteable video template experts, and combined it all with what researchers have long known about human speech patterns and language processing.

Our hope is that all of the long hours we spent painstakingly counting words (thank you, Biteable staffers…you know who you are!) will help you with the timing of your own videos.

Key takeaways

Videos with spoken words

  • 120-200 spoken words-per-minute is the ideal range.
  • The complexity of your language matters.
  • If you use complex words with more syllables, stick to 120-150 wpm.
  • If you use simple language and fewer syllables, you can get away with 150-200 wpm.

Videos with on-screen text

  • The topic of your video determines the ideal word count for on-screen text.
  • Marketing videos (simple topics, more visuals): 60 wpm.
  • Internal comms/HR/corporate (complex topics): 120-130 wpm.
  • For every 2-3 words displayed, keep text on the screen for one second.

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Video word count for speech

Before we get into the numbers, it’s important to have some baseline information about how fast humans process language.

How many words per minute can people understand?

According to language experts, humans can process about 500 spoken words per minute. That’s a lot. And your video would sound like it was playing at 2X speed if you actually spoke that fast.

But it’s not all about sounding normal when you speak in a video. You also don’t want to max out your audience’s language processing power. They’ll be able to understand the words you’ve said, but they’ll have no mental energy left to take in and learn the message.

It’s best to speak significantly slower than your audience’s maximum processing speed. That way they can actually absorb the info you’re delivering.

How fast do people speak?

Typical conversations move along at about 120 to 150 words per minute. This is a good baseline for how many words to write into your video script, because you want your speech to be conversational.

However, this is only a baseline. In many cases, your video will still be easy to consume if you end up with a slightly higher word count.

Some very successful speakers, like Tony Robbins (about 200 words per minute) and Simon Sinek (about 175 words per minute), speak faster than the average 120-150 words per minute.

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The Biteable data

As you can see, it’s quite common for people to speak faster than 150 words per minute. The data on Biteable’s YouTube videos will help you understand what’s going on here.

We analyzed 100 of Biteable’s YouTube videos. All of the videos were voiced by the same person (Haily, YouTuber extraordinaire) and all relied primarily on speech, with on-screen text used only to emphasize key points.

Lowest spoken words per minute: 128

Highest spoken words per minute: 203

Overall average words per minute: 169

As you can see, our average word count is higher than 150 words per minute. And it’s not like Haily is constantly talking in Biteable videos.

Even in one of our wordiest videos — 179 words per minute — you can see that she gives plenty of pauses, and there are periods of silence for on-screen effects like the Biteable logo.

Haily is speaking perfectly clearly in this video. So why is her average word count higher than the tempo of a typical conversation?

The answer: we keep our language simple. Most people speak four to five syllables per second. And most words are two or three syllables long. These are the numbers experts use to calculate the tempo of a typical conversation.

As is the case in many of Haily’s videos, you might end up with more than 150 words per minute if you use simpler words with fewer syllables. We’re careful to make Biteable videos quick and easy to understand. We favor simpler dialogue. And that skews our word counts a little higher.

What we discovered

What does all of this mean for you? How many spoken words should be in 60 seconds of video?

The data suggests that 120 to 200 spoken words per minute is best.

If your language is complex and includes words with more syllables, your best bet is to stay within the 120-150 wpm range. If your language is simpler, with fewer syllables, you can often push it up to 200 wpm.

Video word count for on-screen text

Keep in mind that you can put words on the screen in your videos. Many Biteable users choose to rely exclusively on text and visuals for their videos. Or, as is the case for Haily’s YouTube videos, you can design something that mixes spoken words with on-screen text.

Either way, you need to account for reading speed in your video scripts.

How long does it take to read?

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The average reading speed of most adultsis around 200 to 250 wpm, or just over 4.5 words per second.

But not everyone reads at the same pace. It’s important to stick to lower word counts for your on-screen text, because slower readers and readers with disabilities may consume fewer words.

In general, give people more time to read the words on the screen. This helps account for different reading speeds, emphasized words and pauses, images or graphics, bullet points, and other formatting that may take an extra second for the viewer to process.

The Biteable data

When we dug into the Biteable templates, we split our data up into two groups: marketing templates and internal comms templates (corporate communication, HR templates, etc.).

Here’s what the data showed:

Average text words per minute (marketing templates): 61 words per minute

Average text words per minute (internal comms templates): 134 words per minute

The large difference in word count between our marketing templates and our internal communication templates is worth talking about.

Marketing videos tend to be shorter and simpler than corporate communication or HR videos. This accounts for the much lower text-per-minute average in the marketing templates.

For instance, this Instagram ad video template has just over one word per second:

But this communication guidelines video template has a little more than two words per second:

Marketing videos use fewer words and more visuals because they need to grab the viewer’s attention, show the product, and give the audience some very quick points of information.

On the other hand, our internal comms templates are designed to communicate more complex topics and cover those topics more thoroughly. This is true for a wide range of internal comms, from C-suite announcements to onboarding videos and everything in between.

Here’s what our data showed, in terms of words per second:

Marketing templates: 1.01 words per second

Internal communication templates: 2.24 words per second

As you can see, internal communications videos are over twice as information dense as marketing videos.

What we discovered

Here’s what all the numbers mean in terms of how many words of text should be in one minute of video:

  • For marketing videos: aim for 60 words per minute.
  • For corporate, HR, and other internal comms videos: try for 120-130 words per minute.
  • For both types of video: keep text on screen for one second for at least one second per every two to three words of text.
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Best practices to keep your word counts under control

The more you can write your script to adhere to these word-count guidelines, the easier it will be for viewers to consume your content. To help, keep these best practices in mind.

Use visuals

If you write out your script, only to discover that your dialogue has way too many words, it’s time to lean on the power of video. Remember that you can present data visually, rather than speaking it. And in many cases, it’s better to show than to tell.

If you can, convert some of your dialogue into visuals. This is the easiest way to cut down on your word count without leaving out information.

In this example, we put the entire process of making a video with Biteable on screen. That way, Haily didn’t have to describe every action in detail. This kept the word count down while also giving visual learners a clear understanding of the concept.

Split messages into multiple videos

If you find that you just can’t get your word count under control, split your message into multiple videos. This allows the viewer to more comfortably comprehend what you are trying to say. Breaking a large topic into multiple installments also makes the information less overwhelming.

If you check out the Biteable YouTube channel, you’ll see that none of our videos are longer than 10 minutes. That’s because we’ve carefully split larger topics, such as video marketing and social video production, into short videos that are easy to consume.

This is an ideal strategy any time you have a big topic or a complex message, like a series of training or how-to videos, or a workplace policy guide.

Creating a series of videos on a lengthy topic also offers an opportunity to build a long-term relationship with your audience. As people get accustomed to the series concept, they’ll start feeling more invested in it. They’ll look forward to each installment and keep coming back for more.

Fine-tune your pace with Biteable video templates

Now you have the magic number for perfectly pacing the words in your videos. Keep it handy as you write your scripts and make your videos.

Still not sure how to handle your word counts? All of Biteable’s customizable video templatesare professionally designed by experts who’ve perfected the art of video pacing. With a Biteable template as your guide, you can forget about your word count worries and let your message take center stage.

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How many words is a 60 second video? ›

The industry standards we abide by that work for our clients and their videos are 60 seconds = 140-150 words and 90 seconds = 210-220 words. Our voice actors read at a moderate pace of 2.3 words per second; a pace that works well with pairing visuals and is proven effective for explainer videos.

How many words do you need for a 1 minute video? ›

Video Length: 1 minute = 120-word script.

How many words is a 60 second voice over? ›

For a medium-pace bright voiceover: 60 seconds: approx 150 words.

How many words is a 90 second video? ›

When writing a 90 second script, you should plan for a total of about 220-230 words.

How do you write a 60 second video script? ›

  1. In just one sentence present a main character of the video. ...
  2. Write no more that 1-2 sentences to describe a problem. ...
  3. After describing the problem continue with displaying your product which solves this problem. ...
  4. In several sentences explain how the product works.

How many words is a 60 minute video? ›

Here are some quick numbers: 60 seconds video = 150-170 words (approx) 90 seconds video = 255 words (approx) 2 minute video = 300-340 words (approx) 3 minute video = 450 to 510 words (approx).

How many words is a 30 second video? ›

Word count: Keep in mind that word counts for 30-second explainer videos usually come in at around 75-85 words.

How many words per minute video script? ›

For those in the U.S. speaking English, the average rate is around 150 words per minute. Once you've written your script, you can figure out how long your video will be by dividing the word count by 150. So, if your script has 300 words, your video will run approximately 2 minutes accounting for speaking alone.

How many words is a 60 minute script? ›

Answer: At the normal speaking rate of 130 words per minute (wpm), a 60 minutes long speech will have about 7,800 words .

How many words is 1 minute? ›

These estimates use the average speaking pace of 150 words per minute to estimate. How many words in a 1-minute speech? There are 150 words in a 1-minute speech.

How many words is 70 seconds? ›

23 words10 seconds
35 words15 seconds
70 words30 seconds
140 words60 seconds
3 more rows
May 15, 2011

How long of a video is 400 words? ›

This means reading 400 words will take you between 2 and 3.2 minutes.

How many words is a video worth? ›

One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research. Whether you want travelers to explore the great outdoors, shop 'til they drop, wine, and dine, or experience your destination beyond the conference room, video is a great way to showcase all you have to offer.

How do I count words in a video? ›

To get an actual word count, you need to multiply the total running time by the number of words generally spoken in each minute of video footage. Words-per-minute depend on the kind of content you're localizing.

How long does it take to edit a 60 second video? ›

Generally, you can expect an average of 30-60 minutes of editing work for each finished minute of video content. Turnaround times vary depending on the editor or video editing company you work with, though you can usually expect a minimum of two business days until you get a first draft.

How long is a script for a 60 minute show? ›

Generally speaking, hour-long episode scripts can be anywhere from 45-63 pages, although a majority of the time you want to stick with 50-55 pages. The basic sense of it is that one page equals one minute, and with a 60-minute show, you obviously need to account for commercial breaks.

How many words is a 40 second video script? ›

Once you determine ideal video length, you're ready to start drafting your script. We recommend aiming for the following word counts: 15-second video: 30–40 words. 30-second video: 75–85 words.

How long should my video be? ›

Video Length Stats You Must Know
Type of VideoIdeal Time
Business Related Videos (average)2 minutes or less
Longer form content videosOver 20 minutes in length
Marketing video30 seconds to 1 minute
Share worthy videos15 seconds or less
12 more rows
Jul 13, 2022

How many seconds is 150 words? ›

Based on the average speed of speech, there are 150 words in a 1 minute speech.

How many seconds is 300 words? ›

On average, 300 words will take 45 seconds to 1 minute to read, depending on how quickly you read.

How many words is a 45 second script? ›

An acceptable pace for Video script writing is approximately 3 Words per second.

How many words per minute is good? ›

What is the average typing speed? The average typing speed is around 40 words per minute (wpm). If you want to be very productive, you should aim for a typing speed of 65 to 70 words per minute. It's easy with the right technique!

How long is a 800 word script? ›

Answer: 800 words is 1⅗ pages single spaced or 3⅕ pages double spaced.

How long is a 2000 word script? ›

Answer: 2000 words is 4 pages single spaced or 8 pages double spaced.

Is 500 words a minute fast? ›

Generally, reading at less than 100-200 words per minute is the normal rate for learning, and 200-400 words per minute are the normal rate for comprehension. Going beyond reading 500 words per minute can compromise the quality of reading and your comprehension. There are ways to balance reading pace and comprehension.

How long is 250 words in a video? ›

Here are some quick numbers: 60 seconds video = 150-170 words (approx) 90 seconds video = 255 words (approx) 2 minute video = 300-340 words (approx) 3 minute video = 450 to 510 words (approx).

How fast is 1000 words in an hour? ›

The average writing speed by hand is around 20 words per minute. And the average for typing is usually double at 40 words per minute. Following this logic, it should take 25 minutes for the average person to type out 1000 words. And 50 minutes if writing by hand.

How fast is 180 words per minute? ›

To reach the fastest typing speeds on a standard keyboard you would need to average around 180 WPM (words per minute) on medium length and long-form content. If you are typing at this level then you are likely one of the fastest typists in the world, typing faster than 99% of typists worldwide.

How many seconds is 400 words? ›

This means reading 400 words will take you between 2 and 3.2 minutes. Want to read faster?

How many seconds is 69 words? ›

This means reading 69 words will take you between 0.3 and 0.6 minutes. Want to read faster?

How long does it take to write 500 1000 words? ›

Quick Answer: For an average typer working on an easy project, it takes about 30 minutes to write 500 words. For them to complete a difficult project, it can take up to 5 hours to write 500 words.

How many minutes is 200 word? ›

This means reading 200 words will take you between 1 and 1.6 minutes. Want to read faster?

How long is a script for a 3 minute video? ›

Start with a video script that is no more than 300 words. If you plan to demonstrate or show something, make it even shorter.

Is 1000 words too much? ›

1,000 words is actually a relatively short piece. A dissertation would usually be in the region of 12,000 words, and university assignments can stretch to essays of 5,000 words.

Are videos more powerful than words? ›

Videos Engage Viewers

Because they can combine movement, sound, and text, videos can pack a lot of information into a smaller package. It's been said that a one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words. Your brain can also process visuals much quicker than it can text. Thousands of times faster, in fact.

What does a 250 word count look like? ›

Answer: 250 words is ½ page single spaced or 1 page double spaced.

How many words is a 4 min video? ›

Answer: At the normal speaking rate of 130 words per minute (wpm), a 4 minutes long speech will have about 520 words .

How long is a 300 word video? ›

For those in the U.S. speaking English, the average rate is around 150 words per minute. Once you've written your script, you can figure out how long your video will be by dividing the word count by 150. So, if your script has 300 words, your video will run approximately 2 minutes accounting for speaking alone.

How long is a 500 word video? ›

How minutes is 500 words? 500 words is 3.33 minutes of speaking time. How minutes is 750 words? 750 words is 5 minutes of speaking time.

How many words is a 40 second script? ›

So what's a radio writer to do? Stick to these rules of thumb: 15 Second Spot – 30 to 40 words. 30 Second Spot – 75 to 85 words.

How many words in a minute? ›

How many words per minute? In the English language, people speak about 140 words per minute. A fast speaker will get to 170 words per minute, a slow speaker will use around 110 words.


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