As the saying goes, “the bigger the better”, but when it comes to creating a video advert for social media – a medium that is rife with users with short attention spans – is bigger really better?
In recent months, many networking sites have increased the available video lengths on their respective platforms, allowing for longer adverts. Twitter now offers 30 seconds of advertising – a leap from their original 6 second limit. They’ve also recently introduced pre-roll adverts to play before video tweets too, and announced that video creators would start receiving revenue shares. Similarly, Instagram extended its video adverts earlier this year up to 60 seconds, from the previous 30 seconds.
But with ad blockers also being used more frequently online (usage is reportedly up by 10% compared to last year alone), it seems that the decision to increase advertising time goes against the general consensus of their users. Surely if people are trying to block out adverts, they shouldn’t being making them even longer?
Many still argue that shorter adverts are the way to win over consumers from an online audience. A popular study by Microsoft Canada showed us that attention spans while browsing online have fallen to a mere eight seconds – comparatively close to that of the simple goldfish. Last year, US insurance company Geico created an award-winning pre-roll campaign that tackled the length issue head on with a series of adverts so short, they didn’t need to be skipped over.
Their success demonstrated the importance of the first few seconds of an ad with a bumper advert. No need for anything more. Video-sharing website, YouTube, has been using bumper adverts for a while now – users see a pre-roll advert play for 6 seconds, after which they can either continue watching if they’re interested, or simple skip the rest of the advert. It seems that they’ve nailed the best of both worlds by allowing advertisers to have long adverts, without forcing them to watch the whole thing – this option is now in the audiences’ control.
Twitter and Instagram do currently have similar options. At the moment, pre-roll adverts on Twitter can be skipped, and on Instagram you can just carry on scrolling past the videos. Bigger adverts seem to be successful if you can skip past them, begging the question – does that make them successful at all? It would seem that it’s not the length of the advert that, but the quality of the content that counts.