Web Video Ads: Keep It Short

When it comes to Web video ads, a panel of online advertising and media executives agreed that shorter is better. Given the short attention span of the Internet audience, pre-roll video ads generally shouldn't last more than 15 seconds.

"I don't think anyone is going to sit through 30- or 60-second pre-roll ads unless you have outstanding content," said Stephen Axthelm, managing director of Acxess Media, at a panel discussion on online video production Monday at the OMMA conference in New York.

Rather than simply re-purpose 30-second spots for TV, panelists advised creating video ads tailored to the Internet or other digital media. That includes developing ads that may also allow consumers to click-through to gain more product information.

Daniel Harris, CEO and founder of MediaPass network, emphasized that marketers and agencies should consistently try to leverage the unique, interactive aspects of the medium. Ultimately, he said, the 30- or 60-second spots may become irrelevant as marketers focus increasingly on "clickable" content that integrates advertising more tightly with media.

Mobile is still years away from being a viable ad platform, according to the panel. "We should look at mobile like we looked at the Web five years ago, " said Harris. "Mobile's not there, and if everybody is running to that, it's way, way too early."

Patrick Moorehead, new media producer at Avenue A/Razorfish, said the United States is probably about three to five years behind Asia in mobile-content development, but it's already ahead of Europe. As with Internet ads, mobile ads must be specifically tailored to be effective for the mobile screen. That can mean shooting mobile spots separately with tighter angles and particular aspect ratios suited to the platform. Even so, slower wireless connection speeds and disruptions in the U.S. market make mobile video still a risky proposition.