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TV spot lengths: Does size matter in an information rich world?

In a world of daily media consumption, with an array of advertisements on every platform, many consumers opt for ‘skipping ads’ or ‘ad blocking’. With this perceived diminishing attention level, should we be adapting TV creatives to the distracted consumer?

TV is flexible and we are able to buy various second lengths: 10”, 20”, 30”, 40” etc. Should we be opting for the shorter time lengths and tailoring our ads, making them shorter and punchier? According to BARB data the percentage of TV adverts that were 30” in 2015 was the same as in 2010, 49%. Clearly the adaption to the audience’s perceived ‘lack of attention’ has not yet occurred.

All Response Media Viewpoint

It is true that brands should not feel obliged to use the 30” TV creative, but then what really matters? Is it the length of the ad or what you do with it that counts?

Both audio as well as visual aspects of any creative play a major role in engagement and the triggering of a response. Studies from both ThinkBox and Radiocentre demonstrate how music and ‘defined brand sound’ (eg: the McDonald’s whistle) drive instant recognition as well as engagement of the subconscious brain. It is also vital to be clear from the outset on the message you’re delivering, supporting the audio and helping direct the viewer on what you want them to do next.

Further supporting this trend, looking at our own data we can see that over 40% of spots we ran this year were 30” in length, compared to over 60% in 2010. Interestingly, 10” spots are the second most-used with over 30% in 2016, but in 2010, 60” spots were the second most-used with over 20%.

With a snappy ad that is engaging and memorable both consciously and subconsciously, shorter ad lengths could unlock efficiencies in costs, whilst delivering a higher impact to the viewer, thus potentially delivering an improved cost per acquisition.