Google published an interesting and thought provoking piece on its Think with Google blog on Monday – one which made me refocus on the importance of aligning ad messages with proper goals, especially when it comes to video advertising. Ben Jones, in his write-up titled, “In Video Advertising, Is Longer Stronger”, reveals the results of research conducted with Mondelez International (think: Oreos and Chips Ahoy). With help from Droga5, a global ad agency, they set out to discover the optimal length for a video ad on YouTube: :15, :30 or longer? Here are the key takeaways (I invite you to read the entire post here).

 Longer May Be Stronger: the :15 was skipped the most, and the :30 was skipped the least. The :30 had the highest Viewthrough Rate (VTR) . And, Jones says, the longer versions were more effective in lifting brand favorability.

  1. Connect length of the ad to goals, not just economics: :15 video ads may have been the leader in driving recall, but not all recall is created the same. If you’re trying to earn a more favorable opinion of your brand, the experiment suggest you may want to go with a longer form video to achieve that goal.
  2. Don’t leave your brand for last. This idea is that, when producing your video ad, don’t wait until the middle or the end to reveal your brand. Because videos can be skipped, connect with your audience as soon as possible and reveal the brand at the beginning of the clip. In my experience, it’s best to keep your brand visible in some form or fashion the entire length of the video – just to be sure.

In reality, most businesses in the video advertising game will want a combination of at least two lengths: a short version for recognizability, and a longer version to drive favorability. Understand that your completion rate for the longer videos will be lower than those of the shorter clip, but you’ve likely made a meaningful impact on the viewers who watched the video for the duration.

Lastly, I will mention this about video advertising. I have always advised our clients to place greater emphasis on the VTR or completion rate of a video ad, and less weight on the CTR. Clicks are not the goal on video advertising; a complete view in which the target makes a connection to the brand is.

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