Thursday, October 07, 2010

Commercial Length Has No Impact On View Duration

The latest news out of Visible Measures reveals that 20% of viewers stop watching a video in the first ten seconds whether it’s a 30-second spot, a 2-minute spot or a five-minute video.

The crux of the report says that people simply won’t put up with a video/commercial in which they aren’t interested.

In other words, it’s interest level, not the commercial’s length, which determines view duration.

So, the question becomes, who’s responsible for making the viewer interested? The context in which the spot ran? Or, the content of the spot itself?

One could argue that it’s a little of both. The context will certainly have some influence as to the type of viewer who will be exposed to the spot, which in turn, will impact on how many viewers initiate with the commercial in the first place. That’s why beer commercials draw more interest on Sports Illustrated.com than they do on Fashion.com.

But once a viewer presses play, how long they stay is totally based on the content of the commercial itself. What it says, how it says it, in other words, the commercial's creativity. At this point, it is no longer the media’s responsibility. It’s the creative agencies responsibility.

When commercials run on broadcast, advertisers like to assume that viewers watch every second of their advertising. They know it isn’t true, but since it can’t be proven false, what the hell. Online is a different story.

We now have the data—Visible Measures is a case in point—that tells us exactly how long viewers watch a commercial for.

Media agencies, which normally get this information, are loath to share it with their clients. And, who can blame them? Where’s the upside?

If clients knew how little of their commercials are actually being watched, media budgets would be slashed considerably.

Visible Measures is slowly letting the cat out of the bag. But there are other companies that can also tell advertisers this information. All an advertiser needs to do is ask.

As long as they're not asking their media agency.

(If you’re an advertiser, and would like to know whom some of these other companies are, give me a shout. I’d be happy to share.)

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