People aren’t as receptive to digital advertising, so shouldn’t we just make it shorter and cleverer?

You may have seen that P&G – the company behind Pampers, Gillette and Crest – announced plans to start using two-second digital ads. This poses fresh challenges: how can we quickly, creatively, and effectively engage web users with our brand story?

This experiment doesn’t mean brands should rush to create the shortest content possible; we’ve seen ads from six seconds to six minutes work very effectively (Virgin Airlines opted for a six-hour ad). They have great storytelling potential, but they also need to be engaging to retain the viewer.

As Kantar Millward Brown’s AdReaction study reveals, younger viewers are particularly likely to want their ads short – ideally less than 10 seconds. This should prompt marketers specifically targeting Gen Z to consider how they can shorten ads into bite-sized chunks.

There are a variety of ways that short-form ads can be used to tell a fuller brand story, as Google recently shared – even P&G’s newer two-second videos.

“[Two-second video ads are] pretty much like a billboard. So, you measure it the same way you measure anything else. You can see whether people register the point, whether they create awareness.”  Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G (as quoted in Warc)

The first way is to use Teasers for a brand announcement – whether for a new product launch or to share news – before telling the larger story later with a longer-length video.

The second is to Amplify your content by running bumpers and longer videos together to achieve incremental reach and impact.

Lastly, Extend your campaign – telling the full story with longer-length videos,  then remarketing that content using bumpers that contain follow up content (such as extended cuts of the original story or functional product updates).

Is shorter content always best in the digital world?

Not always. One size doesn’t fit all – but there are some guiding principles that can help determine what might work best for your brand and campaign. In fact, we recently worked with a multinational CPG marketer to help address their questions about ad length for digital.

We developed five questions, designed to help determine the appropriate ad length:

  1. What is your overall objective for the advertising?
  2. Are you launching a new product or conveying the news to drive short-term sales?
  3. Are you building longer-term equity, where longer storytelling can be used as a creative?
  4. Who is the target audience – are they younger, do they favor bite-sized content?
  5. Will the channel be YouTube, which lends itself to longer storytelling content – or will it be Facebook, where shorter content sits better among other social distractions?

Within days of answering these questions, the team was able to test two different ads, among two distinct audiences, in two different contexts (YouTube and Facebook). They achieved optimal length in-context as well as for their objectives.

It’s not the time that counts – it’s how you use it.

Time is of the essence

Time is of the essence


Kantar Millward Brown’s ‘7 tips for digital advertising’ recommends getting the length just right. Read Kantar Millward Brown’s 7 tips on digital advertising or watch the webinarFind out more about LinkNow for Digital.

Emily Weinstein

Posted by

Emily Weinstein

VP Strategic Partnerships, ZappiStore

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