GLOBAL: More and more advertisers are turning to short-form video – under 10 seconds – in recognition of the need for less intrusive ad formats that are respectful of viewers’ time and sensitive to the context in which the ad is being viewed.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How to engage consumers with short-form video, Rebecca Waring, VP of Insight at Unruly, reports “an exponential increase” in the quantity of 6-second videos distributed on the Unruly platform.

And while there are no clear-cut rules in this fast-developing area – something shot on an iPhone can work just as well as a cut-down high quality 30-second ad – Waring highlights six best practice principles that can help get it right.

Clarity of purpose is key, she advises. “There isn’t time to convey multiple messages, so you have to start with a deep understanding of your point, before figuring out how to convey its essence in six seconds.”

By the same token, the brand or product should be at the heart of the video – there’s little point in trying to cram the message into a brand sequence at the end but nor should the brand be in the first frame.

Instead, it’s advisable to deploy a highly relatable situation that can help viewers to quickly orient themselves; an “unusual” opening image creates too much of a cognitive load.

Marketers also need to consider that certain emotions can be triggered more quickly than others. “Softer emotions like warmth, pride and inspiration … tend to benefit from taking more time to build up empathy with the characters, or involvement with the situation that’s being portrayed,” she notes.

Interestingly, “time can be elastic”, Waring adds: Unruly research has found that many of the most successful videos play with viewers’ perception of time in some way, through the use of speeded up images or slow-motion shots for example.

Aside from such creative considerations, short-form video offers new distribution opportunities, including increased frequency or sequential messaging.

“Short-form works well at high frequency so is great for building awareness at the start of a campaign” – useful, then, for introducing viewers to a new brand, product or idea.

Sourced from WARC