6 Second Ads – The Future of Digital Storytelling

YouTube Headquarters

I recently pulled up a video on YouTube and was presented with a 4-minute pre-roll ad... No thanks. What advertising agency thought this was a good idea?

Needless to say, I didn’t sit through the pre-roll ad in order to watch the video I initially wanted to see.



The Problem

In a world where attention spans are rapidly declining, long-form digital advertising isn't a great solution (especially as YouTube pre-roll ads). There is a place for long-form branded content, but that’s a topic for another day.

How are advertisers supposed to succeed in an age of declining attention spans?

Facebook, YouTube, and even FOX have begun rolling out these short-form spots on their platforms in the form of 6-second ads. This serves two purposes...first, stats show that certain customers respond better and have better recall with shorter, snackable ads. Secondly, networks are able to serve five different ads where 30-second spots used to go (and charge the same rate per ad) while platforms like Facebook and YouTube have fewer people skip ads because they’re so short.

Ad avoidance has been on the rise since 2010, with users blocking ads on mobile at a steady clip over the past few years. This should come as no surprise - as the saying goes, “Advertisers ruin everything.” But, it’s not that customers simply hate ads...they hate ads that aren’t relevant and interrupt their daily activities.

Platforms like Facebook allow advertisers to target customers based on interests, job titles, employers, and a laundry list of other criteria. So, with the ability for hypertargetting and a well-developed content marketing strategy, you have little excuse for your digital marketing strategy to serve ads that aren’t relevant.


The Solution

With the rise of short-form advertisements, the question arises: what does the future of digital storytelling look like? Let’s face it - we don’t know. A new app, a change in an algorithm, or an updated feature can completely shift the course of advertising. And in the digital age, these changes happen on a weekly basis. To stay relevant in the space, advertisers need to at least be willing to try new ad formats, like 6-second ads.




No clue what I’ve been talking about this whole time? Here is what Think with Google says about this new format, and in the meantime, here are a few of my favorite examples.


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