- Short-form, six-second ads that have become more popular on social media and even broadcast TV get high marks for mobile viewership but pack little emotional punch, according to a study by media platform Teads and researcher Realeyes. Six-second ads have an average view-through rate (VTR) of 55% on mobile devices, but have an EmotionAll score of 3.6 compared to 5.1 for longer-form, 30-second ads.
- Candy maker Mars had two of the three best-performing six-second ads in the study. Six-second ads that expressed a quick, simple narrative performed better than videos with a complex story or those with no story. A higher emotional score correlated to a sales lift 75% of the time, the study found.
- Teads and Realeyes analyzed 166 six-second creatives from 75 brands, using facial coding software to measure the emotional reactions of viewers. Realeyes tabulates its EmotionAll Score by measuring the attraction, retention, engagement and impact of a video on viewers.
Six-second ads present significant challenges for advertisers that have luxuriated for decades in commercials that last 30 seconds, as in traditional broadcast TV, but consumers' shift to mobile viewing has led to lower tolerance for longer-format videos. A younger generation of viewers has been trained to swipe past video ads to access desired content, pointing to why creative needs to instantly capture attention and tell a complete story in less time.
"The explosion of short form content caused by the emergence of mobile and erosion of consumer attention have changed the rules of the game," Sorin Patilinet, Mars' director of the Center of Expertise for Marketing Communications, said in a statement.
Teads recommended that brands cutting repurposed TV commercials for short-form video ads capture the most engaging scenes to feature. A story that's too complex to condense or a joke that requires a setup are likely not appropriate for six-second ads. Brands might consider keeping those narratives in a longer-form commercial, or using a display ad that's more descriptive and doesn't confuse viewers. In addition, brands should consider adding a call to action to their short ads to link viewers to additional content. Teads found that just 16% of six-second ad creatives in the study included a call to action.
This comes just one month after Reese's, K9 Advantix, Kellogg's Rice Krispies and Keebler were named top brands in YouTube's ad leaderboard for bumper ads, the platform's term for short video ads. Most of the leading ads were created specifically for the six-second ad format, while the 2017 leaderboard was comprised of longer ads that were later shortened. YouTube last year highlighted the effectiveness of the shorter ads in a study of 122 campaigns in the U.S. It found that 70% of the campaigns drove a significant lift in brand awareness, with an average gain of 9%. More than nine in 10 campaigns drove ad recall globally with an average lift of more than 30%, per a blog post by parent company Google, signaling that super-short ads can still be effective in rounding out a brand's content and communicating a marketing message.