There seems to be a stronger force at work. With the evolution of new video platforms such as Vine and Instagram, the ability to skip an ad after five seconds on YouTube, and the proliferation of smart mobile devices, consumers (including myself) are beginning to see even 15 seconds as too long, let alone 30 seconds. Ad effectiveness studies over the past five years -- such as the one commissioned by AOL in 2012 -- show that the 30-second spot is most effective when applied against shorter-form (less than 10 minutes) content.
So what do you do if you’re not hitting the sweet spot for the effective 30-second ad? There is a huge opportunity for marketers and publishers to embrace micro-video ads, particularly when the core content message is whittled down to one minute or less. Whether it’s the 6-second spot on Vine or the 15-second spot on Instagram, marketers are being challenged to create more concise messages to engage consumers, especially via mobile or when they are on-the-go.
Our company has found that six seconds is probably the shortest timeframe that can be simultaneously coherent: too quick to click out of, with high impact.
The effectiveness of shorter ad spots is still being assessed, but a recent ad study in the U.K. found that 10-second ads were twice as effective as 30-second ads for entertainment. Is a shorter message stronger? Is there less time to tune out? Probably both -- and the reality is that as a society we are becoming more ADD.
The facts are that more and more platforms are catering to micro-video. The average user session on mobile devices is much shorter than on desktop, yet marketers often use the exact same length of creative, instead of catering to the shorter user session time. From a publisher perspective, it is important to match the length of content to the platform, and the length of the ad spot should follow suit. For example, ideally a 30-second piece of content shouldn’t have a 30-second ad message in front of it -- 15 seconds or less of pre-roll fits better. A five-minute piece of content, however, is still a great place for a 30-second marketing message to live.
If you are scratching your head, wondering how to get an effective marketing message into fewer than 30 seconds, here are a few tips:
I strongly encourage marketers and publishers to embrace the changes happening in both consumer behavior and new video platforms. The impetus is on all of us to be able to develop shorter-form marketing messages and content to fit the viewing environments of today’s on-the-go consumers.