Creating a compelling commercial was never an easy task, but the continued shortening of message formats and increased user control over ad-viewing has agencies facing new creative challenges: how to lure consumers into watching a commercial they can skip, and telling an interesting brand story in 15 seconds or less.
We are coming across challenges we haven’t seen before: We have to draw attention but also set context in a very short time frame – whether it’s Vine or Instagram or Facebook.
Fifteen seconds is very hard to tell a story.
Instagram has started rolling out video ads with a recently upped 30-second limit on videos for brands, and can now be posted in landscape – the apps new formatting update to “give ads a more cinematic feel.” Twitter’s Amplify product, which promotes short video clips in users’ streams, serves pre-roll ads that are approximately six seconds long. Vine are subject to the platform’s six-second rule.
Leading an ad with its most interesting part may entice more users to watch it, but it doesn’t lend itself well to the arc of a typical commercial narrative. It is recommended to keep videos in the 90 to 120 second range.
Longer video formats show how seriously Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, is taking video advertising in order to compete against YouTube and brands will be able to target the promos to specific groups of consumers, like they can on Facebook.
Instagram ads have proven to drive strong branding results—97% of measured campaigns on Instagram have generated significant lifts in ad recall.
The research reveals shorter ads have higher completion rates. Looking through the 6 quarters from January 2014 to June 2015, there are increasingly shorter ads with 15 second spots most popular (38%), 30 second spots are next runner-up (36%). Very short video ads, sometimes called “snackable clips” are rare in display. They account for 1.3% of all video ads. 16% of videos running are greater than 60 seconds.
Video ads without skip options continue to be the most common type, with 89% of all ads viewed offering no option at all. While video ads with a skip option exists, only a handful of sites use it.
There are a couple of key reasons that 89% of video ads don’t have the option to skip:
- Many sites won’t charge the advertisers for ads skipped, giving them a strong incentive to remove it.
- Advertisers want to know that there ads were seen. By eliminating the skip button, the odds improve greatly. YouTube guarantee advertisers they will only be charged for ads seen through completion.