As Mobile Video Soars, So Do Six-Second Ads

Video content is more relevant than ever, and mobile is at the center of the video boom. Studies find that video consumption on mobile devices is growing at a faster rate than desktop. Verizon Media research shows that time spent watching videos on a smartphone or tablet has grown 88% year-over-year.

What’s driving the growth? The biggest trends in mobile video are native content; mixed reality (XR) like AR, VR and 360-degree video; and formats that align with mobile consumption behavior and popular formats like vertical video and six-second ads. Six-second ads in particular are where the industry is headed because they’re non-intrusive and require little commitment from users.

The six-second ad is where it’s at

Advertisers want to invest in formats that reach and resonate with consumers in a way that aligns with their behavior. Today, almost 40% of viewers believe that online video ads should be shorter than traditional TV spots. Similarly, Comscore recently published a report showing Millennial attention spans require ads that are just five to six seconds in length.

This is the natural evolution of our snackable content times. Snackable content that is quickly consumed and easily digested, like GIFs, predates popular mobile video apps and made the six-second ad mainstream earlier in this decade. Creative platforms like Reddit and Imgur initially drove its popularity.

Now, snackable content is ubiquitous in mediums ranging from content platforms to communications apps. And among younger digital users that have grown up in the GIF era, snackable is the preferred form of creative.

As a result, buyers have flocked to extra-short mobile video. Emarketer reports that short-form pre-roll, for example, has seen significant investment and will continue to grow long-term.

But as the popularity of short-form mobile video campaigns rises, how can marketers unlock the most value from the format? 

Respect the time frame and create micro-moments

The best six-second ads respect the timeframe and creatively adapt to it. That means no jamming a pre-existing 15- or 30-second spot into six seconds. It won’t work creatively and, even if it did, would be a disaster in terms of end-user reception.

Instead, advertisers need to develop creative that hits within the first two seconds, which are generally seen as the “surprise and delight” window. The brand should live upfront and get to the point. That means keeping the message simple, with strong visual elements or humor that can pique viewer interest, grab attention, and stop the scroll. These shorter ads are also an opportunity to tease creative storytelling that’s fleshed out later in a longer-form spot. Advertisers can essentially use the six-second format to create micro-moments that then route into meatier storytelling for a brand.

A strong example is a recent campaign by mattress startup Purple. It launched a series of six-second native mobile videos (micro-moments) leading to lengthier creative content. Engagement for Purple’s ad campaign exceeded benchmarks by 80% and retargeting efforts exceeded goals by 400%. The brand worked with the format, tailored ads accordingly, and delivered a successful campaign.

Another good example is GrubHub’s recent TikTok spots, which last 5 seconds and get right to the point to lure in TikTok’s Gen Z users. The common thread—both brands delivered creative that aligned with the format and didn’t see the length as a barrier to success. They took advantage of it, instead.

What does the future hold?

Marinn Jackson, Head of Premium Sales & Strategy at Verizon MediaAt the end of the day, six-second video emphasizes the inherent power of mobile video advertising. All mobile video allows for hyper-focused targeting and personalization. When combined with the natural benefits of sight, sound, and motion, it offers advertisers unmatched value. That’s why mobile video is one of the highest performing and in-demand types of inventory. Unlocking the potential of mobile’s unique data environment—which is still in its early days—will only increase its value. And advertisers will invest, because it’s worth it.

Guest post by Marinn Jackson, head of premium sales and strategy at Verizon Media. OnlineVideo.net accepts guest posts based upon their usefulness to our readers.


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