What’s the Best Length for a Video Ad?

Whenever you’re thinking about advertising, the most important question is, What are you trying to achieve? The answer impacts every aspect of your media campaign from media placement (TV, radio, print, digital) to the type of creative used (display, video, audio) – or even the length of a video.

Everywhere you look, there are video ads. How long those ads could or should be varies from social to pre-roll, anywhere from five seconds up. Publishers often offer access to content for free in exchange for watching the pre-roll ad. The standard maximum length on pre-roll is 15 seconds. If the ad is any longer, it might get in the way of the user experience.

In some placements, as in Facebook, users must click to watch a video ad, or theycan skip it after watching a minimum of 15 seconds. In this environment, you can choose the length, but make sure you deliver the majority of the message before the 15-second mark in case the viewer skips the remainder of the video.

“Short ads + short content + small screen = big impact.”

IPG Media Lab, in partnership with YuMe, did a study measuring the impact of the length of video ads on brand metrics.

chart of ad statisitics

Graphic courtesy YuMe.

The Findings

  • 15-second ads are most impactful for aided and unaided message recall.
  • The persuasion metrics of brand favorability and purchase intent increase at 15 seconds and continue to increase as the length of the video increases.
    • For established brands: Longer ads have little impact on the brand favorability and purchase intent – less than 5 percent.
    • For new brands: Longer ads, such as 45 seconds, have great impact on brand favorability and purchase intent – as much as 40 percent.
  • Short ads + short content + small screen = big impact. If the user will be watching the video on a mobile device, keep it short.

Use short videos for:

  • Well-established brands.
  • Millennials.
  • Mobile platforms.

Use longer videos for:

  • New brands.
  • Complex messages.
  • Desktop or connected television platforms.

Key Takeaway

Both long and short video ads have their places in the media mix. When in doubt, remember that 15 seconds is the sweet spot.

Learn more about Balcom’s video team.

Tags: Media Planning & Buying, Film & Video Production

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