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Is it time to get creative with TV advert lengths?

Working on a creative can be a minefield. There are a myriad of considerations to ensure a TV creative will catch the audience’s attention and prompt them to take action. Aside from what’s in the creative, the second length (duration) of the advert can have a significant impact on performance.

Why does creative length impact performance?

Cost and product recognition both play a significant role in helping to deliver optimal acquisition costs, and the length of a campaign impacts the price paid for an advert. The root of performance variance by second length is cost. The below second length factors show the relative cost of a spot in relation to a 30 second (“), and the subsequent “cost per second”:

So, at 50% of the cost of a 30 second, why aren’t advertisers rushing to book campaigns full of ten-second creatives?!

Campaign duration and frequency efficacy is often conflated by agencies. Modelling for reach and frequency against an audience is inherently flawed because of the limitations of the BARB measurement stack, and by extension how they measure the performance of different spot lengths and effective frequency. Effective frequency in our language means spots per day per station and what order they run in if using multiple time lengths.

Using our proprietary TV measurement tool, ARMalytics®, we can see in real-time the responsiveness of different creatives, so it is possible to refine the creative strategy in line with performance.

But for new to TV advertisers it’s important to get the initial second length blend kickstarted from an optimal position. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Measure every spot and understand the mix at sales house and station level – spot lengths by stations do not behave equally.
  • 30” spots are the trading currency around which everything is negotiated and priced.
  • Based on costs, 10” creatives can be a great way to build reach and frequency as you can hit more eyeballs, which is important for harvesting the intent created by preceding longer spots. It is important though that you have a 10” spot that can work in isolation, from a direct response perspective. For some clients, there is a greater degradation in 30” response rates through the day on the same station vs. that of a 10”, suggesting opportunities to delete the randomised nature of multi spot length playouts as produced by the media owners.
  • Longer spot lengths should be used rationally and tactically to maximise the Zero-Rated Spot (ZRS) opportunities during daytime.

Using empirical extractable insights from ARMalytics® we can ensure our clients use the most effective spot lengths in the most optimal sequence at the maximum frequency per day. That’s how you game spot length opportunities to give yourselves an Unfair Competitive Advantage.

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