Shorter TV Spots Rising On Linear TV

Short-form TV commercials, moved in part by shorter-length digital media messaging and better recall compared to 30-second commercials, are becoming more popular.

A recent survey says five-second and six-second TV commercials are up more than 10 times versus a year ago, according to MediaRadar, an advertising research company.

Looking at the broader picture -- including standard 15-second commercials (as well as shorter-form commercials) -- there is a 16% rise in the number of shorter commercials. MediaRadar says the average length of national TV commercials are 5% shorter this year than a year ago.

The study looked over 6,000 brands purchasing national TV ads from the first quarter 2017 to first quarter 2018.

TV marketers are increasingly pushed to do more with shorter messaging, in part due to the success and growth from digital video platforms using short-form TV video commercials.

An ARF/TVision Insights study of 50 advertiser,s from November 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018, looked at 100,000 unique TV commercial airings, and found 3,300 of those commercials were short-form, six-second TV commercials.

In addition, of those marketers in the survey, 69% of their TV commercials were 15-seconds long; 25% 30-seconds in length; and 3% 60-seconds in duration.

The study revealed short-form six-second commercials captured 8% to 11% more attention per second than 30-second and 15-second commercials.

These results came from a panel of 2,000 TV homes, representing 7,000 persons aged 2+ and using technology measuring respondents eyes fixated on the TV screen. 

4 comments about "Shorter TV Spots Rising On Linear TV".
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  1. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, July 13, 2018 at 10:05 p.m.

    Is this good or bad news?  What about clutter?  Spot pod clutter, usually considered a tune-out factor, is not just about commercial unit length. The number of discrete units, whether spots, promos, or bumpers is also a factor.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, July 16, 2018 at 9:48 p.m.

    Wayne, could you please direct me to the evidence of short-form (e.g. 6 seconds) having better recall than longer ads (E.g. 15 or 30 seconds).   The last article I saw on this was bunkum as it used the BS 'metric' of recall points per second of duration.

  3. Wayne Friedman from MediaPost Communications replied, July 16, 2018 at 9:58 p.m.

    John, this is what I got so far:

    https://thearf.org/category/articles/6-second-ads-who-how-when-to-use/

    https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/320678/less-really-is-more-arf-finds-six-second-ads-get.html


  4. John Grono from GAP Research replied, July 16, 2018 at 10:26 p.m.

    Thanks Wayne.

    Yes that is the very flawed ARF article that refers to ":06s got more attention per second than :15s or 30s." et. al.

    It is such an extraordinarily facile conclusion that it beggars disbelief.

    As an example, I wager that if you cut a "you-beaut, whizz-bang" 6 second ad down to 5 seconds that the recall would not fall by more than 17%.   Then if you cut that 5 second ad down to a 4 second ad recall wouldn't fall by more than 25%.

    Basically recall is an ogive with a very left-tailed point of inflection.   The highest recall is in the first couple of seconds and the rate of increase of recall declines.   Logic by extension would then imply that 1-2 second ads are optimal.   The only problem with that conclusion is that I have never met a person who agrees that 1-2 second ads are the best way to build a brand.

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