- Longer video ads are becoming more common on YouTube, according to a MediaRadar study shared with Mobile Marketer. The number of 30-second ads on the video-sharing platform rose 19% in January and February this year from 2018 to make up almost one-fourth of all YouTube ads.
- In contrast, six-second ads fell 20% from a year earlier, accounting for about 17% of YouTube's ads. Fifteen-second ads are the most popular on the platform, representing 47% of YouTube's total video ad placements measured by MediaRadar.
- The popularity of 15-second ads may be a result of YouTube's making the format available in programmatic auctions instead of reserved sales, MediaRadar CEO Todd Krizelman said in a company announcement. Long-form digital video ads are also more effective because they can convey more information to viewers, he added.
MediaRadar's findings suggest that advertisers are resisting YouTube's efforts to push them into shorter, less intrusive ad formats geared for mobile viewing. YouTube has sought to appeal to on-the-go audiences with six-second ads, and even began testing a technology to help advertisers cut their longer spots into the shorter format. Its new "Bumper Machine" software, announced this week, uses machine learning to pick out key moments from longer spots and condense them into shorter clips.
The efficacy of shorter ads is hotly debated, with some agency executives arguing that the format is too short to effectively communicate a message, while other studies have shown that viewers can mentally process an ad within just a few seconds. The 15-second format may be a happy medium between six- and 30-second spots in telling a brand story or delivering a call to action without being too intrusive to mobile viewers of YouTube, hence its enduring popularity on the platform.
Mobile video ads have become a key driver of digital media spending, a trend that's likely to continue as high-speed 5G networks expand nationwide in the next few years. Digital video ads on mobile devices grew 65% to $10.2 billion last year, outpacing the 37% growth for digital video in all formats, per an annual report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC.