Advertising in an Era of Diminishing Attention Spans

You probably won’t get to the end of this blog. Studies show the human attention span is shrinking. The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, says that the true scarce commodity of the future is human attention. In an era of diminishing attention spans, 60-second and 30-second commercials have lost favor among advertisers. Video completion rates are falling, and heavy advertising loads have an impact on consumer viewing experiences.

Ad Age reported on a test done by Tropicana and Facebook. The juice company made ads of varying lengths: 6, 30 and 45 seconds. The test revealed that the six-second ads performed the best on Facebook, leading to better consumer recall and brand recognition.

Can you sell it in six seconds?

Ads are getting shorter and shorter. Shorter ads capture younger audiences and these audiences consume media in different ways across multiple devices, apps and social media platforms. So can you really tell a story in six seconds? The answer is…yes, well, sort of.

Remember, short form ads are not meant to replace traditional-length ads, they’re meant to be a compliment to the media mix. Sure, they have shortfalls. They’re not ideal for direct response or co-op ads where more than one brand is featured, but using them creatively and effectively can be successful.

Corona’s six-second “Jump Splash” bumper ad is a great example of bite-size content that jumps off the screen no matter on which device it’s viewed. The ad features stunning visuals, combined with a fun vibe that focuses not just on consuming a product — beer, in this case — but on the experiences that come with it.

Corona is best known for its long-form beach-themed ads on television, with a similar feeling as “Jump Splash.” Corona is a brand associated with hanging out on the beach, traveling, and living a carefree life — things that appeal to young people. However, many of its intended clientele are cord-cutters who don’t watch traditional TV.

Using digital media channels like Facebook and YouTube help Corona communicate its values to younger consumers. It’s a good illustration of how businesses can leverage long-form ads they’re running on traditional media channels like TV, and tie them in with short-form digital content that reaches a younger demographic.

One of the best parts of the six-second format is that longer ads can be segmented or repurposed into shorter videos for different channels. If you’ve already invested in long-form video ads, analyze them and think about how some of the content can be repurposed into various mini videos. It’s a great way to boost your presence without having to spend more money on additional production.

Making the most of the least

Instead of fighting this shortened format, find a way to use it to your advantage. GEICO’s pre-roll campaign from 2017 spoofed long format ads by compressing the action and situations in the ads by physically squeezing them into a shortened format. The result was five unique pre-roll videos “compressed for your viewing convenience.”

Samsung’s six-second video for their new Galaxy S8 phones created excitement about the pending release of the product while also displaying the new phone features.

Discover your own unique way to make the most of these next generation ads. A great story can be told in a minute, but the perfect one-liner takes just a few seconds. Your message can succeed if you make every second count.

Rick Nelson

Rick Nelson
Senior Video Editor