Snap's 6-Second Pre-Roll Ad Works For Its TV Show

Snap, the digital and social media platform, is taking a cue from other digital video platforms -- including those premium video platforms from traditional TV companies: Find a way to offer quicker ad messages, and make them non-skippable.

Called First Commercial, Snap is starting single messaging executions no longer than six seconds, running just before its more than 60 TV shows in Snapchat Discover.

Two advertisers -- Tinder and NBCU's Peacock -- have participated in a beta test. They have seen higher awareness at a low cost. The social dating app Tinder saw a cost per completed view of $0.04.

Snap isn’t the first entity to focus on six-second spots. Google’s YouTube has long had the six-second option for users to consider versus longer commercials before they can view content.

Lower commercial loads -- as well as single commercial pods -- have been a key focus of interest among TV networks and digital media platforms.



One notable effort: NBC started Prime Pod in March 2019 -- a commercial pod of just 60 seconds long, running in the first or last break of a prime-time TV show, containing up to two advertisers' messages -- all to offer, in theory, a stronger viewer impact.

Now for streaming platforms, NBC’s Peacock and others, are pursuing lower commercial loads, airing no more than five minutes of advertising time per hour. These commercials -- versus that on linear TV -- are not skippable.

Traditional TV networks run anywhere from 15 minutes to 20 minutes of non-TV content time -- which can include national/local advertising, on-air promos, public service announcements. TV marketers had complained for years about this “commercial glut.”

Growing fractionalization of media -- from digital media and other TV-video platforms -- has forced TV networks' ad executives to promise (but not always deliver) on cutting back on live, linear commercial loads.

Broadcast prime-time networks can run as low as 12 minutes an hour of national commercials. With ever-declining TV ratings, TV networks now have little choice but to adapt -- and find ways to trim those ad messages even lower.

And then you have a math problem.

There is a big ad-revenue gap between what is on linear TV (12 minutes per hour, for example) and premium video ad-supported platforms (around 5 minutes per hour, according to one Peacock promise).

How can TV networks sustain a business? For one, they can employ higher unit pricing. Other factors include are ever-so slight upticks in monthly subscription fees.

Alternatively, TV networks might need to go with the flow in changing up ads for existing linear TV content. Maybe transition some 30-second, 15-second, or other messaging to those short six-second spots.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

1 comment about "Snap's 6-Second Pre-Roll Ad Works For Its TV Show".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 12, 2020 at 1:47 p.m.

    Wayne, there is little or no chance that 5-6-second commercials will take root in TV or AVOD in a big way---or even a little way. All of the buzz about "completions", which mean nothing regarding ad impact, notwithstanding. As for the reduced ad  loads in many AVOD offerings, these are offset by considerably higher CPMs which are rationalized by "superior targeting" capabilities as well as the low clutter ratios---both valid sales points, by the way. However, it is likely that once the new AVOD [latforms get their hooks into enough subscribers to develop  low churn rates and stable customer bases, that they will increase their commercial loads. The broadcast networks' primetime situation is more tenuous, however as they have gone from only 6 minutes of ad time per hour in 1960 to 9.5 by the mid 1990s and now are at 11-12 minutes. Meanwhile, their audience has aged tremendously and ratings have never been lower. Keep hiking ad clutter, guys, and there will come a time when advertisers no longer regard you as offering "premium content". What then?

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