Cost Per Second: The Relative Effectiveness of 15- and 30-Second Television Advertisements

Kate Newstead and Jenni Romaniuk

Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, University of South Australia


The length of an advertisement is a key decision marketers must make when commissioning television advertising. The length constrains what is possible in terms of building a story, conveying a message or making branding links. Though the 30-second spot has been a standard for many decades, there is a trend toward alternative, particularly shorter advertisements (Lindeman, 2007; Petrecca, 2006; Sinclair, 2006; Steinberg, 2005). The most favored alternative (in the United States and Australia) is the 15-second spot, the use of which has been growing proportionally since their introduction in the 1980s (Greene, Bratka, Drake, and Sanders, 2006). A similar trend toward shorter advertisements is evident in the United Kingdom, but there 10-second rather than 15-second spots are popular (Green, 2006).