Short vs. Long-Form Video Ads: Testing the 15-Second Rule

May 23, 2019

To play a long video ad or not to play a long video ad, that was the question…

We’ve been told over and over to utilize video ads, since they drive deeper engagement and higher ROI than other ad formats. This is no surprise, especially in the world of digital marketing where US video advertising spend is projected to grow at double-digit annual rates through 2021, accounting for 17.2 percent of all digital ad spend. But as video ad spend skyrockets, the average attention span continues to drop – leaving us with an interesting question: Can a longer video ad succeed in a marketplace where we only have seconds to grab the user’s attention?

Long-Form Video: Case Study

In one of ForwardPMX’s recent campaign efforts for a SaaS brand in the tech vertical, the idea of testing a long-form video ad was pitched as a potential solution to our partner’s concern around limited video resources available to trim video length. The proposed long-form video ad was tested alongside three static ads for an eight-week period.

The results reinforced the value of video as an ad format: The video ad drove 58 percent of total conversions, and boasted a 160-percent higher conversion rate and 34-percent more efficient CPA when compared to the static ads. Even more fascinating, however, was the fact that the video ad was very long by industry standards, with a full 60 seconds of run time. This contradicts many of the “best practices” that ad platforms and industry publications encourage, including the widespread belief that video ads should not run longer than 15 seconds.

Long-Form Video: Best Practices

When using a long-form video that exceeds 15 seconds, it’s important to remember the following best practices:

  • Provide information in a way that engages the user with a story instead of sounding like a sales pitch.
  • Utilize long-form videos for converting high ticket products or services.
  • Use the extra time wisely by explaining the extrinsic benefits or values.

Video Assets: Helpful Apps and Tools

When resources are limited, there are several user-friendly apps available like Videoshop, which acts as a free resource to edit and launch video assets. In the event you don’t have video assets available, there are tools like the Facebook Video creation kit, or apps like Ripl and Legend that can turn existing static assets into video ads by using animation at no cost.

Video Advertising in 2019: Takeaways

Including video within the media mix is no longer an option, but a necessity in today’s digital landscape. Video assets are modern-day commercials that tell a story and give your potential prospects an inside look into your world. So, in a quasi-Shakespearean fashion, don’t let your campaigns “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” In plain English: It’s better to leverage the video assets you do have – even if they’re longer than recommended – than to avoid using video ads in your marketing campaigns altogether.

Have you experimented with longer video content in your advertising campaigns? Share your experience in the comments below!

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