Contrary to popular opinion, longer ads are more effective.

In preparation for the eventual convergence of television & online video (the only thing holding us back is bigger bandwidth), the media powers are battling it out online, trying to figure out ‘the standard’ & ‘the model’.

When it comes to advertising in video form, pre-roll, mid-roll or signature ‘spots’ are being placed within online content giving the consumer no choice but to watch it as the video loads. Many brands have been repurposing their existing 30-second TV spots for these platforms, with the consensus being that 15, 10, or even 5 second ads will become the norm down the road, as advertisers work to capture the short attention spans common to these media – along with Bad Consumer Karma (BCK) in the process.

This thinking is flawed. As bandwidth increases, computers will become the new DVR’s alongside your big screen. One will simply need to wait for the video to load, before being able to skip through all pre or mid-roll commercials much like we do with Tivo today. In other words, technology will always afford us the opportunity to skip what we do not want to see. So why keep producing stuff people do not want to see – especially when they are able to skip past it? What is emerging, is proof that people will seek out content produced by a brand if it offers value and fulfills something they are interested in – especially if it is longer. See my article on ‘Brands…The New Executive Producers’ and Nike’s endless soccer chain.

In fact, a new report – ‘Introduction to Brand Exposure Duration’, finds that viewers of both video on-demand content delivered via cable boxes and video delivered on the Web actually gravitate to longer ad spots, and that advertisers have more to gain by producing longer form creative executions. The white-paper was presented at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement Symposium in New York by The Atlas Institute, a division of aQuantive if you want to find out more info.

So, in many cases, while longer spots might drive down the raw number of users who are willing to sit through such ads, the total amount of viewing by those that do chose to watch actually increases with longer spots, since the most engaged viewers end up watching multiple times. Remember, this is on demand – the consumers has chosen to see it, which inherently leads to a better relationship and more purchasing power between a brand and its consumer.

Once again, creative quality is more important than ever, with authentic, valuable experiences boding well for brands that look to entertain first and brand second.

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