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.