Engaging the consumer is tricky; attention spans vary depending on the audience and platform. Marketers are constantly looking to deliver maximum ROI from their content, in the shortest space of time. Therefore, we’ve seen bite-sized content making its debut around 2 years ago with the likes of vine videos, YouTube bumper content and later, platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram stories. In order to monetise this, platforms commit to ‘non-skippable’ shorter ads. Even Facebook now offers free video templates on ads manager to encourage the use of free 6-second videos over photos. So, is short-form video the future?
The leading avenue for creative engagement?
Audience attention spans are decreasing. Everyone’s looking for that ‘skip ad’ button, swiping away ASAP; getting back to their original activity. There’s more chance of keeping the audience tuned in with 6-second ads. However, KPI’s such as product/service sales are increasingly difficult to attain in such short spaces time. Netflix have announced they’re trying skippable ads, interrupting the watch-binge to promote stuff. So, let’s see how that goes!
Regardless of length, it’s possible to retain the audience if the content has a certain level of compassion. Ergo the need and ever growing importance of story telling. Advertising through influence, creating a narrative in shorter time frames seeks to fully engage viewers. 10 secs is the suggested peak of advert engagement, with up to 30 secs optimal viewing time. A study by ComScore last year found 5-6 seconds to be the prime engagement length for millennials and Gen Z. Shorter viewing periods thus being essential, due to the amount of time they spend online.
Bound for success; the way forward?
Google reports our attention spans are shrinking. A study conducted in 2018 found only a 38% average recall across 600 marketing campaigns. However, it’s argued our attention is becoming less like a span and more like a muscle, trained to filter unattractive content due to the sheer quantity of it; ready to skip and scroll at the first sign of disinterest.
There isn’t a ‘correct’ length or format for adverts. 6-second ads have their benefits and drawbacks. They’re short, targeted, single-minded brand messages with a clear focus. Comparatively, they lose storytelling value, a potential eye worm and a pop-up useless reminder. They succeed in a mix of multiple media, not as a sole piece. Deemed as the ‘future of advertising’, we don’t think so. Rather a method to bolster a campaign as a whole, with hyper-short content.
6-second videos are certainly something to consider. But it’s important to know your audience and target content accordingly across the each platform. Produce and testbed content within that audience’ engagement profile and see improvements in marketing KPI’s.