Don’t blink or you might miss it.
Last week, it was reported that Mars and Duracell are each airing two six-second television ad spots during this Sunday’s Teen Choice Awards. Fox announced that the ads, which take the place of a single 15 or 30-second ad, will be part of new 29-second pods that will begin by telling viewers to stay-put for four six-second ads.
The reasoning behind this move should come as no surprise - today’s teens show a clear preference for short-form content and clearly seem to be influenced by short ad lengths.
But the news underscores a bigger issue - are demographics the key driver of shorter ad lengths?
Sure, a six-second mobile ad targeted to the Gen Z audience to generate buzz for a candy bar can be highly effective. But if brand recall and sales are the ultimate goal, this type of ad - on a television screen - may not be the answer.
In a comprehensive study we conducted last year, in partnership with IPG Magna, we found that marketers must consider campaign objectives when determining which ad length will have the best performance.
We tested a wide range of video ads across desktops, tablets and smartphones, delivered to nearly 10,000 consumers of brands like Hotwire, Jeep, and TV Land. The participants were shown pre-roll ads of 5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 seconds in length.
While a five-second online video ad had its place - 45% of consumers could recall ads with 24% remembering key messages - to make any significant impact on the path to purchase, and aptly convey product benefits, features, and value proposition - the average consumer simply needs more time.
If a brand’s ambition for its campaign is to tip consumers over the border between interest and conversion, research shows video ads should be a minimum of 15 seconds, regardless of demographic.
In this case, it looks as if Fox is attempting to avoid ad skipping, mimicking the trend towards snackable ads, made popular by YouTube and Snapchat. But, television ads don’t have the same luxury as their online counterparts; they lack the interactive abilities of digital. Viewers can’t swipe or click to connect to additional content to learn more about the product.
I expect marketers will test out campaigns with new ultra-short, six-second video ads to determine what impact they have.
But stay tuned. I don’t expect them to replace thirty-second ads - any time soon.