GroupM Report Suggests It Might Be Time To Ditch The Zero In 30-Second Ads

GroupM’s Interaction 2016 Report, out this week, offers some revealing, highly relevant findings. The global report, a survey of 19 markets, called for industry-wide collaboration on "integrity issues" like ad fraud, viewability, ad-blocking and measurement.

The question is: What will the collaboration look like?

The report surveys the integrity of the digital media supply chain from soup to nuts. Among the issues it raises are ad avoidance and video measurement; the rise of apps; ecommerce; the economics of TV creation and distribution and the role of the advertisers; and the challenges for data-driven advertising and data security.

That’s a tall order.

But the GroupM report doesn’t stray too far from a core challenge: viewability in “feed-” or “stream”-based environments, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, along with the vast majority of mobile applications.

GroupM notes that most mobile use is scrolling -- in which advertising is “inherently ephemeral" -- and points out three factors of concern:

First, the speed of the scroll means that advertising may pass through the viewable window yet be seen only fleetingly.

Second, the notion that “autoplay” video with a charging event after three seconds “in window” may not represent a reasonable period for advertising effect. Still, GroupM says that this type of video is not necessarily without impact.

Third, the propensity for individuals to consume their feeds without sound is a behavior exaggerated by the autoplay factor.

The message to video advertisers would appear to be simple: If creative assets do not deliver their goals within three seconds and without sound, the value of in-feed video must at least be questioned.

Given the pervasiveness of these platforms, new creative forms would seem to be imperative. Here, GroupM suggests it may be time to remove the zero from the 30-second standard that has characterized video advertising for generations.

Now that’s surprising — a video only three seconds long? Yes, our attention span really has taken a hit.

Jumping off news of the report, RTBlog called for an independent third party to gather, track and report on ad-blocking data on a monthly basis. This entity would gather data and look for patterns pertaining to usage, downloads and behaviors among ad-blocking consumers globally.

It might also look at cross-device installation of ad-blockers and whether consumers are lifting the block at a certain point. Your comments on this are welcome.

7 comments about "GroupM Report Suggests It Might Be Time To Ditch The Zero In 30-Second Ads".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 27, 2016 at 9:29 a.m.

    It is probably true that much shorter units are needed for mobile, however, if this is so---and I believe that it may be so---then mobile will never be the basic platform for many TV-style branding campaigns as these need more time to get a coherent---even if concise---message across. Using three-second units as the most "effective" ad length for this venue relegates mobile to a secondary "reminder" role for many campaigns.

  2. Paolo Gaudiano from Infomous, Inc., April 27, 2016 at 12:43 p.m.

    Tobi - fascinating coincidence. I just published this morning a piece for MediaPost's Online Publishing Insider on the future of video ads, and argued that the industry will move to 5-sec spots. Thank you for this useful and timely story!

  3. Bruce Carlisle from Survata, April 28, 2016 at 11:10 a.m.

    The other view is that it might be time to ditch the 3 in :30 in favor of something more immersive and more engaging ;>)

  4. Suzanne Sell from Independent, April 28, 2016 at 12:48 p.m.

    Regardless of platform, how horrendous would it be to watch a series of :03s or :05s! (Not to mention how many of them you'd have to sell and cram in there to make up for the loss of the longer lengths.) I think viewers would be more unhappy with that than with the traditional spot lengths. Could it be possible that we'll move more ads out to both edges--:60-:90s for setting up the brand concept and demonstrating product, and :05s for reinforcement?

  5. Randall Tinfow from CLICK-VIDEO LLC replied, April 28, 2016 at 5:43 p.m.

    I believe that you can tell stories in 3 second installments. I haven't done it.

    The format makes a big difference. If it's a standard pre-roll leading directly into the content it carries less impact then a pre-roll that holds on the last frame and requires a CONTINUE button to pass to the content.

  6. Randall Tinfow from CLICK-VIDEO LLC replied, April 28, 2016 at 5:48 p.m.

    I've never had an objection to a 5 second pre-roll, even when the same pre-roll ran in front of 4 consecutive videos.

    I've fielded hundreds of complaints about 15 second pre-rolls negatively affecting the user experience.

  7. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC replied, April 29, 2016 at 4:54 p.m.

    Agreed, Ed. The only messages the fit in 3 seconds are..well...not really "messages" but flashes of brand that hopefully help entrench the brand in the right place in the mind. That's all they can do.

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