Monday, October 01, 2012

Are Longer Commercials Better Online?

We all know that the distribution of commercials on TV is disruptive to the viewer’s enjoyment.  And because the commercials intrude, they are, for the most part, kept short. 

Rarely do you see a sixty-second spot anymore.  In fact, it seems more and more commercials are now fifteen seconds rather than thirty.  

The question is, how long should an online commercial be?  Is shorter better?


And, no.

Shorter is better when the commercial’s job is to intrude, as it does on TV.  But how about when a user has the choice to opt-in to watch a commercial?  Is shorter still better?

Research now tells us that the answer in that case is no.  When viewers can opt-in on their own accord, they actually prefer longer commercials to shorter commercials.

Why is that?

It’s still a commercial, right.  Those things people hate to watch.

Unless, of course, they choose to watch it.  When it’s the consumer’s choice, when it’s their intent that drives the bus, when they can decide how long they will watch for, then “how long” the commercial will be, is really up to them, isn't it?

If interested, they’ll keep watching.  If interested, length doesn't seem to matter as much.

What's the difference between the advertiser forcing a viewer to watch and the viewer choosing to watch?

Simply this.  Control.

Viewers don’t mind investing time when they control the time invested.

And the more time an advertiser gets a viewer to invest in their commercial, the greater the chance that persuasion will occur.

There are places online which enable viewers to opt-in to commercials of interest.  It’s not pre-roll, the most heavily supported form of online advertising.

Consumer choice advertising is more akin to search than pre-roll.

The trade off is this.  You won’t get your message exposed to as many people when you let them choose to watch.

But, you will probably sell more to those that you do.

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