With audiences’ attention spans shrinking by the second (literally), we’ve seen a rise in snack-size ads. Which raises the question – is six seconds enough time to get your message across?
The short answer, if you’ll excuse the pun, is: Yes.
According to the World Advertising Research Center (WARC), MediaScience and Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science measured the responses of 689 participants using biometric research and facial coding. The study found that a six-second ad can have about 60% of the impact of the traditional thirty1 – not bad right?
And with ads like this one from Korean burger chain Mom’s Touch, you can understand why. It’s entertaining, distinctive and ranked one of Asia’s and YouTube’s best performing spots.
But before we get too excited, and start amending marketing budgets and calculating ROIs – there are a few things to consider: such as what you’re selling, who you’re selling too and why use six-seconds at all? (This sounds obvious but bear with us, things are about to get a little science-y.)
There are two kinds of cognitive processes: automatic, which are your subconscious and generally apply to low involvement products such as a packet of cheddar Shapes; and strategic, which is conscious and applies to high involvement products like purchasing a new Jeep. 2
Why does this matter? Well, while the research showed six-second ads work with 60% punch, it also found flat reactions when it came to ads with a narrative. And high involvement brands in particular need to tell a story to build an emotional connection.
“You just don’t have enough time to take people on a journey. You have enough time to take them in a moment” said Duane Varan, the CEO of MediaScience.
In other words, when you’re watching the Bachelor In Paradise on TenPlay, six-seconds is enough time for you to consider Ben & Jerry’s ice cream … but perhaps not to extend the mortgage for that SUV.
In short, is shorter better? No, shorter is just different. And therefore should be treated differently.
Perhaps a more pertinent question is – why settle for 60% impact when you can have 100%? Or better yet, use the six-second as a kicker to remind your audience of the brand they saw in that hilarious fifteen or heartfelt thirty you produced.
As the wise Old El Paso girl once said, “Por que los no dos?”
1 ‘Is six seconds enough? The impact of short-form ads’, WARC, March 2018
2 ‘Automatic and Strategic Processes in Advertising Effects’, Journal of Marketing, October 1996