What’s the Optimal Length for Video Ads?

At the dawn of the “video Web,” one of the ad community’s key unknowns is the ideal length of a video ad unit. Most agree the :30 spot, television’s standard for decades, is too long. Tens and :15s are much talked about. What’s optimal?

New aggregated campaign data from video ad specialist Klipmart offers a possible answer to that question, showing people watch an average 22 seconds of any given :30 spot they encounter online. That’s equal to watching 71 percent of an ad.

The statistics break out how much time viewers will spend with advertisements in several content categories, including theatrical, home video, technology, music, travel, automotive and others.

“It’s basically showing, per vertical, what I’d call the optimal length,” said Aimee Pamintuam, Klipmart’s Research director.

People stuck with the video ads longest when waiting for home video (22.5 seconds), technology (22.2 seconds), music (22.1 seconds) and theatrical (21.5 seconds) content. Pamintuam attributed their receptiveness in the home video, music and theatrical areas to the timeliness of the content, as well as the fact that those videos usually show up on sites where people are aggressively seeking out the video material. She said technology ads tend to use enhanced ad formats, making the ads sticker.

Viewers of finance-related video were the least patient, watching only for an average 19 seconds.

Pamintuam said most marketers won’t likely put metrics like these to immediate use, but she believes it would be valuable in planning future online video production efforts. “A lot of our advertisers will be using the :30 spot [format], so it’s kind of out of the question to ask them to reshoot… for budgetary reasons,” she said.

The report also examined interaction rates with video ads. It finds, perhaps not surprisingly, that as the number of interactive elements in an ad increases, so do the number of interactions.

Data included in the report is drawn from 500 campaigns Klipmart ran in the first half of 2005.

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