Your guide to making (and embracing) the 6‑second ad
Monday, October 16, 2017
Remember a few months back when we talked about how YouTube is eliminating their 30-second, nonskippable ads? Well, those ads will be gone soon — at the end of 2017 to be exact.
As you begin to plan your 2018 digital strategy, consider that. You'll want to make much, much shorter digital ads — in fact, six seconds is perfect! YouTube calls six-second advertisements "bumper ads," but these micro-ads are popping up other places, like Facebook and network television.
No doubt that six-second ads are a huge change. But, in the long term, it's one your brand needs to embrace. Keep reading to learn about the power of six-second ads and a few tips for making your own.
Why six-second ads are the future
1. For six seconds, you have your audience's full attention. Microsoft research found that since 2000, the average human attention span dropped from 12 seconds to a mere eight — one second shorter than that of a goldfish.
2. Short ads work best on mobile. More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices. When users watch on phones, they're likely using mobile data, and a 30-second, must-watch ad eats away at a data plan. As a result, users often abandon the video — and your ad — entirely.
3. People expect them. Since Q1 2017, YouTube has seen a 70 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in companies running six-second ads. Plus, Kantar Media found that 2016 marked the first time on network television that there were more 15-second ads (47 percent) than 30-second ads (44 percent). Television ads are getting shorter, too! This fall, Fox is testing the six-second ad during NFL games.
4. Ad recall is better. 90 percent of advertisers saw a lift in ad recall after it tested 300 mobile bumper campaigns on YouTube. Facebook also found the six-second ad had the highest brand metrics compared to other ad lengths. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, said there was a 16-point lift in brand awareness compared to a six-point lift in longer formats.
4 tips to master six-second ads
1. Less is more, but more is still more. Stay with us. Short-format ads work best, but these shouldn't function as one-off videos. They should be part of a bigger campaign. Focus on one idea or concept and bring that to life in a series of ads (usually three-to-five videos).
2. No shortcuts. Trimming down your 30-second ad into a six-second ad would be super easy and convenient. But don't do it. A six-second ad is its own beast. You need to rethink how ads work. Go back to the storyboard and start fresh.
3. Keep it simple. With six-second ads, you must quickly establish a scene, evoke a feeling and leave an impression. Essentially, you have one shot and one message.
4. Get inspired. To fully get the six-second ads, you have to see them in action. Then, it all makes sense. Here are some of the best:
- Live There with Your Family by Airbnb — A five-video campaign
- Unskippable by Geico — An award-winning campaign that parodies the six-second ad
- Reminder by Mercedes Benz — A three-second ad that delivers a strong message
- #SmellLegendary by Old Spice — A campaign that understands how to illustrate one concept with one visual in six seconds or less
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