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When it Comes to Video Advertising, Each Second Counts

October 7, 2020


It took Usain Bolt 9.58 seconds to run the fastest-ever 100 meters. 9 seconds is all it takes for a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building to reach the ground. First impressions are, allegedly, developed in just 7 seconds. Can 6 seconds possibly be long enough to convince consumers to purchase a product? That’s how long a :06 second bumper – a non-skippable advertisement that runs before a video – lasts.

 

As a refresher, :06 second bumper ads were introduced by Google on YouTube in 2017 to compliment “traditional” :15 and :30s TrueView (skippable) ads and Google Preferred (premium, non-skippable) ads. Since then, the :06 second ad format has become a mainstay on YouTube and has expanded to linear TV and OTT. But can you actually drive sales of your brand with just :06 seconds of advertising? In short, yes. Though there is a bit more nuance to it.

 

Learning from TV

Shrinking ad lengths are nothing new. Ad lengths decreased multiple times back in the days when Linear TV was just called TV. Early ads were one minute long until the ‘70s when 30 second ads were introduced. Not long after that 15 second ads entered the scene.

 

While there is no single “best” ad length, there are some clear trends in terms of performance. In essence, :30s drive a higher response per GRP (i.e. more sales), but not quite enough to offset the cost premium. As a result, :15s often drive a stronger ROI. The type of advertisement chosen should be dependent on what marketers want to achieve. Research from our ROI Genome indicates that there are core goals to keep in mind when making decisions:

 

A higher mix of :15s makes sense when …

  • - The message is simple, straightforward or a “reminder” message (e.g. recycled creative)
  • - The ad is supporting a base business
  • - The priority is to increase weeks on air or SOV when faced with budget constraints

 

A higher mix of :30s makes sense when …

  • - Communicating a new or complex message
  • - Supporting new product offerings
  • - The priority of the ad is to maximize response

 

The ROI Genome indicates that when measured based on response, :30s are 89% more effective than :15s. When measured based on cost, :30s are at least twice as effective. When it comes to ROI, however, :15s outperform :30s by approximately 5%. Which leads to the next big question …

 

Is Shorter Better?

Does the same principle we just explored hold true for even shorter ads? As always, it depends, but in a word, yes.

 

While costs for :15 ads are usually about half those of a :30 ad for TV, costs are more variable for OLV. That being said, the overall trend is that the bumpers are considerably cheaper per impression than Google Preferred and TrueView formats. On the response side (i.e. incremental sales generated per impression), there is even more variation. We’ve seen instances where the response of the :06 bumpers has actually outperformed that of the longer OLV ad lengths.

 

Overall, in-market performance supports that bumpers are an efficient investment. We’ve seen ROIs of :06 bumpers that are anywhere from equal to longer-form OLV to up to 150% higher. At a high level, we tend to see bumpers are twice as efficient vs :15 or :30 OLV ads. However, :30 ads are over three times as effective.

 

Best Practices

As implied above, just running an ad in a :06 format does not guarantee success. Below are some best practices to improve your odds.

 

Strong branding up-front and throughout the 6 seconds. Don’t keep consumers guessing about which brand is running the ad

 

Maintain a consistent look and feel with other branding. This isn’t unique to bumpers, this is just good marketing. Consumers should instantly recognize the brand from the ad regardless of format

 

Use bumpers as a supplement to a robust marketing campaign that ideally includes longer-form (i.e. :15 and :30 ads) on linear TV. While the ROIs of bumpers can be great, there are still questions about scalability and reach.  The best marketing plans include a mix of tactics and ad-lengths to drive the entire funnel and not just focus on conversion.

 

Watch costs to ensure efficiency is achieved. As with any tactic or format, costs can fluctuate considerably, as research from our ROI Genome demonstrates.

 

Test your way to success. Begin with a modest test.  Learn from the test.  Incrementally test further.  Rinse and repeat.

 

Measure your campaigns to truly understand performance and grow your brand. Online metrics can be deceptive and not representative of true business performance. At Analytic Partners, we help our clients understand the performance of the different components of their marketing plans and work with them to devise a plan to grow.

 

- Seth Weisel, Director

 

 

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