JERSEY CITY: Six-second television spots are viable – and powerful – tools of audience engagement, according to new analysis from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), the industry body.

Paul Donato, at the ARF’s chief research officer, discussed this subject during a session at the trade organisation’s 2018 AUDIENCExSCIENCE conference.

“As the number of six-second ads on television increases, we are seeing a growing interest in this format,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: ARF digs down into the success of six-second spots.)

More specifically, the ARF worked with TVision Insights to assess 100,000 spots run over six months – with a panel covering 2,000 households.

Of the 100,000 spots TVision monitored, fully 3,000 were aired in the short format. “Short-form is still emerging,” Donato explained.

Though the abbreviated spots may seem like broadcast outliers, the ARF/TVision analysis demonstrated that the 60-second spot – long a staple of television advertising – now accounts for that same 3%, followed by 30s (25%) and 15s (69%).

Building on this theme, the ARF and TVision found that while short-form spots accounted for only 3% of ad placements, they drove approximately 6% of impressions.

The short-form spots, they discovered, also proved most powerful among millennials when they extended an established campaign in low-clutter environments with creative adjusted to the particular viewing screen.

“Because this research was conducted in-home, as opposed to previous lab research, our findings provide new and unique insights that reflect real-world behavior,” said Donato.

Continued Dan Schiffman, TVision Insights co-founder/chief revenue officer, “The six-second ads are mostly done for categories that are also less competitive, [and] are largely brand-building exercises.”

Where do six-second spots run? While most (10%) appear on cable, those buys generate only 4% of impressions, and a 0.5 reach ratio.

The short-form powerhouse is broadcast TV, with a meager 1% of placements driving a 21% share of impressions – translating to a 20.4 reach ratio.

“Unlike digital, we didn’t find significant difference in attention by age. There’s one or two possible explanations. One is that older people may watch TV differently than the way older people use digital,” Donato added.

“What we’re seeing is there are some categories where there are differences by age. There also may be an impact of the categories that were advertised.”

Sourced from WARC