Content is getting shorter and so are our attention spans. But, shorter doesn’t always mean better. It’s been reported six-second ads aren’t as engaging as longer ones and because these short spots don’t touch viewers emotionally. Because of the shorter time, it’s harder to build a narrative that connects consumers. Storytelling is still vital for success and new research finds these six-second ads generate a teasing effect.
Teads partnered with RealEyes to analyze the emotional impact of these ads to figure out how to make a six-second spot the most effective. The study called ‘Done in 6 Seconds: How to Make 6 Second Ads Work Harder’ studied reactions of 166 global six-second ads from 75 brands.
“RealEyes assigned each tested ad an EmotionAll® Score, a proprietary measure,” said the press release.
Viewers may be more likely to finish a shorter ad than longer ones, but the shorter ads score lower and often fail to connect emotionally. Longer advertisements have just that—more time to actually tell a compelling, emotionally-effective narrative. The study found on mobile, six-second ads have an average EmotionAll score of 3.6 compared to longer format ads at 5.1.
The study found repurposing an ad for a smaller format drives confusion and lowers its emotional impact—just cutting it isn’t the solution. It must be pre-tested to find the most effective six-second selection.
But some marketers have found ways to make this short window work, and the report offered examples. In a Snickers commercial, a grandmother holds a baby and tells the mother her sister’s baby is cuter. The ad ends with “snarky, eat a Snickers.” It has a clear narrative and ending. In another successful case, Royal Canine shows a yawning puppy with no dialogue.
The study found using a celebrity doesn’t mean an ad will automatically be successful, and these ads actually averaged a 35 percent lower score. Conversely, funny commercials drive better engagement, the more laughs the higher the score.
For a six-second ad to be profitable, it needs to be simple. If there are more than three “messages” in a six-second ad about 19 percent of respondents don’t understand it and engage with it less. The report also found sound doesn’t really matter in terms of emotional connection, they actually had the same score at 3.6. This could be attributed to how people are seeing videos on social media, which are most often muted. And whether marketers use a voice-over or not, these videos should be “optimized for off sound.”
Finally, no matter where you put the brand—start, throughout, midway, or end—it has no impact on emotion or attention. RealEyes and Teads found only 16 percent of these six-second ads had a call to action, but due to their teasing effect, consumers should be able to act in order to drive more engagement.