Short-form video ads first started appearing when clever agencies started to embrace YouTube’s pre-roll limitations. Most advertisers were growing increasingly frustrated that viewers skipped their ads at the first possible moment it was allowed…the 5 second mark. A few decided to try to fit their stories into that window entirely. At the time it seemed absurd, but the format’s runaway success has now been documented in just about every marketing publication on earth.
In retrospect, it makes perfect sense. It not only works with the short attention spans of the social media era, but it also gave viewers a better experience and more sensible value proposition. With that in mind we wanted to share some of our best practices for the 6 second format with our clients and community.
They are a gateway. 6 Second ads are best used as an introduction. They work well on the top end of a sales funnel. This is where you build awareness, recall and consideration. Consider using them in sequence to tell a bigger story. As the consumer moves forward, pair them with 30 second ads that build out your proposition more thoroughly.
They’re not a cut down. You need to tell a concise story in a very short amount of time. It is a very different medium than a 30 second ad, and it requires it’s own approach.
The platform should be front of mind. Creative needs to keep the specific user experience in mind. A classic example of this is Geico’s YouTube preroll campaigns. What works on a pre-roll might be less suited the perpetual scroll of a Facebook mobile user. Use the benefits and limitations of each platform to guide the way you tell your story.
Production is a must. A shorter duration isn’t permission to lower your production values. In fact certain production lines on the concepting and writing side might even need more attention. However with a well planned production approach you can extract more value from your budget. Instead of getting one commercial with a few cut downs you can actually create multiple stories and campaigns that specifically speak to different target audiences.