For decades, brands have worked to tell their story in 30-second or 15-second ads. And while the creators of such ads found this challenging, those that embraced it were able to do so with success.
But 6 seconds? Seriously?
You better believe it.
The 6-Second Ad Is Here
In fact, it’s been here for half a decade.
In 2013, Dunkin’ Donuts created some sugar-glazed buzz when it used a 6-second video for a Monday Night Football spot on ESPN. It wasn’t long before this extremely short form advertising was referred to as “snackable content.” Particularly apropos in the case of Dunkin’ Donuts. (“Donut hole content” was bantered about, but it wasn’t as catchy. No, not really.)
Still, the talk around the 6-second ad died down for a while. And back in 2013, the 30-second ad would continue to rule the roost - where it would hold court for a few more years.
By 2014, only 29% of ads were of the 15-second variety. But by 2017, that number had climbed to 36%. As the long-winded and tired old 30-second ad is slowly passing the torch to the 15-second ad, that little whipper-snapper 6-second ad is coming up fast on its tail.
Why the trend toward shorter formats? Well, in case you haven’t heard, science (an others) say that attention spans are waning. There seems always to be something oh-so-shiny just around the corner to vie for our attention.
This is particularly true of the millennials.
A new study by comScore revealed that millennials lose interest in online ads that run any longer than 5 to 6 seconds. And since they’re a major marketing target, this make conditions rife for the further - and faster - evolution of the 6-second ad. They’re only expected to get bigger, bolder and better in 2018. Just not longer.
Here’s the thing:
When Done Well, 6-Second Ads Drive the Point Home
Sound ridiculous? Click here to see what we mean.
In fact, if you went to the above link and watched those ads, you might have noticed that YouTube has a whole slew of them - some of which you may have inadvertently viewed while waiting for the “Otter eats Doritos” video that took you there in the first place.
One talented creator of a 6-second ad is Maud Deitch, who works in Instagram’s creative department. Her incredibly powerful 6 seconds on the effects of global warming received honors at an event that recognizes great 6-second ads.
“You can really get to a level of poignance and a level of human connection that you cannot get to even in a 15-second spot,” she says. “It’s because you sort of have to understand your subject matter, your medium, your production tools so much more intimately in order to make use of six seconds in an effective way. I think it’s one of the most important ad formats—if not the most important ad format—that we are going to see more of.”
And others agree.
Creative folks originally thought the time constraint would not be enough to convey an emotional story. But it didn’t take long to recognize one important point:
You Don’t Need An Entire Story to Evoke Emotion
And honestly, consumers these days don’t want the whole advertising story. That’s why they record shows so they can fast-forward through those longer ads. And if they’re not doing that, they’re looking at their phones during the commercials. Or changing the channel.
Those longer ads are causing commercial viewership and retention to take a hit. So the future of advertising - both online and on TV - relies not just on these 6-second ads, but on these ads being well-executed.
Yeah, they may be short. But they’ve definitely got something to say.