Facebook’s Preference of the 6-Sec Video Format for Digital Adverts

Rise of Micro Videos

Science tells us that it takes our brains less than 150 milliseconds to process an image. But how long does it take to tell a compelling story? 15 seconds if you trust Google’s reports.

The standard TV ad in the “Mad Men” era was 60 seconds long. But to bring more advertisers to the platform, networks first offered 30-second ads, and then grudgingly 15-second ones to serve advertisers with smaller budgets. As a result, budgets started dictating functionality and effectiveness of video advertising.

In 2018, when content is the new snacking, the need to provide newer and fresher content as frequently as possible in a shoe-string budget has led to the creation of shorter and shorter versions of the video. They have gone from being  15 sec long to 10 sec long to 6 to 3 secs.

With increased access to video viewing devices and improved access to the internet, internet users are spending an increasing amount of time viewing videos. With that increasing video-viewer base, brands and production houses need to create, deploy and push marketing dollars into content at a faster pace. This shift has not only changed consumers’ media consumption habits but it has also created new opportunities for advertisers looking to connect with viewers through content. When Zuckerberg launched Facebook for Business in 2009, little did he fathom that 6 years later he would root for the hero of traditional advertising. Only this time around videos are shorter, crisper and come at a budget-friendly production cost.

Are we missing out on credibility in the attempt to fit everything in 15 secs?

No. According to Think with Google, the 15-second format is the only one to drive significant ad recalls. For brands with a focus on awareness, the short format can be both effective and efficient. Shorter formats work best to create awareness, create and maintain brand recall, while driving important user behaviors such as search.

However, they do not significantly contribute to increase in the brand value or equity. Yet, a series of 6 sec ads from a brand about a particular product deployed through multiple ad formats across all ad platforms and showed to an audience multiple times in a day, has proven to be effective in creating a direct connection between the product and the aspirational lifestyle it aims to promote in the minds of the users, directly impacting sales. In a nutshell, if the aim of your ad is functionality, the shorter the better.

Performance marketing is a lot like life. Just getting the video right, does not close the loop.The message has to match the medium, the ad format has to match the video and the timing has to be perfect.

Watch out for our next blog where we further discuss multiple ad formats and how the ad world is switching to a 9:16 ad format to better suit the ever-lengthening screen size.


Anindita Biswas

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