I see the future working out to something like this.
Short messages in front of large audiences. And, longer messages in front of smaller audiences.
The reason is that the larger the audience, the more intrusive the message needs to be. The more intrusive the message, the shorter it needs to be so as to piss fewer people off.
Longer messages cannot be intrusive. Rather, they will run online and they will be viewer-initiated. The viewer chooses to watch or not to watch. They can stop watching at any time. Which means view duration is controlled by the viewer, not the channel or platform.
Research has shown viewers prefer longer format in these opt-in situations. If viewers want to stay involved in the message, they can. If not, then length doesn’t really matter does it?
But, if they are interested, then they can keep watching. The choice is theirs.
What does this mean for advertisers and their concern with getting customers down the Pathway To Purchase? Advertisers use the largest audience platforms to develop awareness and interest about a product.
Awareness is needed when launching a new product. It's also needed to get an aware non-user to start to think differently about a product. In affect, moving an aware non-user from conscious non-consideration to consciously start considering the brand.
To do this, they go online, where they are in control, to find out more. Does the brand truly fit with their psyche? Does the brand's attitude match with theirs? Will they feel comfortable being seen and/or associated with this brand?
They control the time spent online. Which means they control the time spent watching videos about the brand or product. Whatever it takes to make them feel comfortable or, uncomfortable, about the brand.
This is where long form fits in. To give them a chance to become more familiar with a brand. To, in affect, sell themselves.
This place where the longer formats pieces reside—it could be a website, it could be Facebook—whatever the platform, it’s what I refer to as Brand Theater.
Advertisers use the large audience platforms to reach people with short messages to drive them into their Brand Theaters.
Which is why I see the short messages as being analogous to a movie trailer.
A movie trailer’s purpose?
To drive people to the actual movie theater for the longer film.
Short messages in front of large audiences. Longer messages in front of smaller audiences.
It’s the movie business model.
Funny thing is, it might work even better for advertising.