As consumers spend half their media day on social media, on-demand streaming and use ad skipping technology, video ads have as little as three seconds to make the right impression. Short-Form advertising is now vital to any effective marketing campaign. But when commercials are trying to capture audience attention, get their message across, bring their brand to front of mind, inspire positive emotions, bond with the audience... is 15s really enough?
The short answer: yes it is possible for 15s ads to cut-through, but it is difficult.
The long answer...
We have found length not to be a key determinant of an ad's success. Using our add+impact methodology, partnered with moment-by-moment and eye-tracking technology, we can see what people are looking at, when people are looking at it, and why people are looking at it. Our database (8000+ ads) shows, on average, the longer the ad, the more likely they are to get attention. In general, we find in 1 in 3 ads are effective, but when it comes to 15s ads - only 1 in 5 cut-through.
So how do you get your ad into the top 20%?
We know the creative makes up for 75% of an ads impact, and creative drivers (Humour, Music and Casting) make up 97% of standout. The right 'big idea' should use a combination of these tools to drive consumer engagement. Additionally, the best ads have a relevant and motivational message that leaves viewers feeling positive. Research based on cognitive psychology has found that a positive emotional message at the crux of a 15s ad actively fuels memory encoding and stimulates brand recall. A positive experience also means people will likely enjoy re-watching the ad and therefore avoid wear-out.
When making a great 15s ad, it is important to play to the strengths of short-form advertising...
Firstly, brand bonding actually peaks at 10s/15s, and declines with length. The longer the ad, the lower the bonding. Rather than helping to strengthen brand feelings, longer ads can limit them. Additionally, brand clarity at 15s is higher then at 60s (59% : 53%). Viewers can lose track of the brand when there is 58s of story to follow, especially when the brand is only mentioned at the end of the ad where attention is at its lowest.
Pepsi had two short-form trailers before their 2019 Super Bowl ad and 95% of consumers could name the brand after seeing these ads (highest branding score in the 2019 Super Bowl).
Based on this data, we recommend 15s ads to be used as reminders: ads following up a longer ad that carries the bulk of the message. You need more than 15s to build the story and emotion of your campaign. However, cut-downs are still useful for being an economically efficient way to trigger brand recall following up a longer ad or campaign, and should be implemented after the campaign has had around 500-750 TRPs. See Moccona 'Chase' below for an example of effective 'cut-down' advertising...
Use a longer version to build the story
Moccona 'Chase' 30s
Then cut down to remind viewers of the brand
Moccona 'Chase' 15s
See our site for more blogs on our favorite ads and Luma's annual Super Bowl Ad Test!