Finding Video: What’s the Video Ad Length Sweet Spot?

Twitter is now making conventional wisdom about videos, now backed by research, attainable to brands. In late August, Twitter announced they were selling six-second bid units of their videos to brands globally. Brands won’t be charged for the first six seconds, but after that, videos will start playing at 50 percent pixilation. From Twitter’s blog announcing this new offering: “With this, advertisers have the security of transacting on a longer view, while still providing the optimal experience of a short-form, mobile video to their audience. Advertisers will be charged only once their ad is viewed for 6 seconds, with pixels at 50% in view (6s/50%). This bid unit is globally available on Promoted Video, In-stream Video Sponsorships, and In-stream Video Ads for assets 15 seconds or less in length.”

Boarding the Bandwagon

This new development indicates the shorter, the better, which isn’t very surprising, given consumer’s growing impatience with ads interrupting their entertainment. A big selling point of OTT and streaming services is no longer sitting through seemingly endless commercials, just one or two ads. While scrolling on social media, spending one minute watching an ad is an eternity. Regardless of how good the ad is, if it’s interrupting consumption of content, the brand will likely not be remembered fondly, the same way you remember a guest at a dinner party who interrupts the natural flow of conversation to tell you about an amazing work-from-home opportunity.

This six-second rule isn’t entirely a new advertising offering, either. Facebook and Instagram are using similar techniques to advertise on their platform. A piece in Adweek observed that this is hardly groundbreaking, because shorter content is already established – and thriving – on other social media sites. But there is still opportunity for brands to create an experience that can resonate with the consumer.

Opportunities Abound

Dan Andrews , CEO of UK-based the tree  and the root technologies agreed with this general sentiment, remarking during an interview with me that Twitter was “late to the party”, compared to other social media brands, but that there was still significant value in Twitter selling these ad videos in six-second increments, because brand recognition (recall) is 28 percent higher, with a whopping 70 percent brand recall with short videos. “We can not only repurpose formats that we would have been using for YouTube ads…but we can create new content for Twitter as well, to deliver more exciting, engaging content.” With such a constrained space, this forces marketers to be more creative, and get right to the point, instead of taking 30 seconds or more to deliver a brand message.

From a brand perspective, six-second videos may be old news, but short video can provide a window into connecting with an audience for free while embedding itself into an established social media platform. It’s not always about creating something from scratch, but leveraging what is already available to you and being creative in a limited space.

An elevator pitch is ten seconds. Can you communicate what your brand does in six?

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