When running an online video ad campaign, we are often asked, “What is the ideal video duration for my ad?”
There is no one-size-fits-all video length, but here are some key guidelines to keep in mind when using video in your advertising:
What is the video being used for?
It is important to connect video length to goals.
For companies with a focus on branding, a short-format video can raise awareness, keep a brand top of mind, and create signals that drive important behaviors such as search. Short ads allow increased frequency within your budget. However, long-format video allows you to tell your brand’s story, helping you connect with potential consumers, which is also very important for branding.
If direct response is your goal, you’ll want to make sure that the duration of the video is long enough to drive an action.
Video can be highly effective for education, as well. Just make sure that the brand makes it into the front half of the video, or you may risk paying for that impression without having a view. Ad recall drops when individuals are unable to make the connection between the ad and your brand.
Where are you running the video?
Tailoring the video length to the platform is incredibly important because users have different expectations depending on the platform. Individuals are likely more willing to watch a longer video on YouTube than, say, Twitter. A few platform examples are:
YouTube–If you are using skippable ads, you can run video from 12 seconds to 3 minutes. You pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of the video ad (or the ad’s duration if it’s less than 30 seconds) or engages with your video, whichever comes first. Google partnered with Honey Maid and found that the longer a person watches, the better it is for the brand. Brand favorability increases as the length of the video increases, however, ad recall is lower. In this specific example, 15% of viewers (2x the average benchmark) watched the entire 2-minute ad, but the brand wasn’t mentioned until more than a minute into the ad. This lowered the ability for viewers to recall the ad.
Now there are even 6-second bumper ads.
Pre-roll–You are pretty limited with pre-roll video to :15 or :30 spots. The user must watch these in order to get to his or her intended video. According to a recent study by IPG Media Lab and YuMe, pre-roll has better ad recall than out-stream or mid-roll video placements.
Out-stream–This platform allows you to use video durations up to 2 minutes. According to the same study, out-stream is rated much more positively among viewers who complete a video. Those who completed a video were 3x more likely to remember the ad than those who started the video, but did not complete it.
Facebook–This type of ad can be used to generate awareness or drive traffic to a site if the call to action is designed properly. Video durations can vary; Facebook recommends short videos, stating that “mobile video works best when it’s 15 seconds or less.” Facebook also offers several additional video tips in the help section of its site.
There are best practices for video duration based on goals and platforms, but there is limited industry-specific data on ideal video duration. It is important to understand best practices, but also test, test, and test again. Try all different durations and see what works best for your goals and objectives.
To learn more about video creation and advertising, contact us at 585.421.0100.