"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Jed Hartman, Chief Commercial Officer, Channel Factory
The 30-second spot has been the undisputed ruler of advertising units since the birth of broadcast TV. The storytelling, the emotion, the impact and the ROI have all helped this resilient format retain its position as the lynchpin of commercial messaging in TV in a changing world. Agencies and brands still plan their ad investments around it, while media owners owe their atmospheric stock prices to it.
But with the rise of TikTok (and other mobile video platforms), the acceleration of OTT and the proliferation of skip buttons on digital videos, we’ve entered a new age of ad avoidance. Will the king of ad formats be unseated? Yes and no. The winning creative ad plans of the future will still contain 30-second spots (along with other units), but the creative execution of these longer ads will change dramatically.
Video ads have been changing for a while, even as the 30-second spot has extended its epic run. Many advertisers are already comfortable with six-second bumper ads, which are commonplace in mobile experiences. The key statistic here is that 70% of YouTube traffic is on mobile, where attention spans are shorter and access to the skip button instantaneous.
Shorter ads and ads with uniquely mobile features – such as swipe-up and vertical orientation – perform better on platforms including TikTok and Snapchat that center on transient, bite-sized content. Consumer lifestyles no longer match well to 30-second ads, and this is especially true on mobile.
But this hasn’t stopped brands from trying. Many ad buyers still shoehorn 30-second ads onto YouTube in a bid to extend reach, without editing creative. Consumers predictably drop out before the brand is first mentioned, perhaps seven or 10 seconds in, and the impression is wasted. (A video ‘view’ as defined by MRC is two seconds in view, meaning advertisers can and frequently do pay for a viewable video with no brand recall.)
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