Shorter video ads are better on mobile, according to Facebook research

With US mobile ad spend estimated to increase to within 10% of TV expenditure this year, its influence on video content consumption is also increasing.

Indeed, research has previously highlighted how people now tend to watch TV and use their smartphones at the same time.

As mobile and TV devices are blurring the lines of video consumption, Facebook has published new research to offer some guidance for advertisers.

The social media company compiled five graphs to illustrate how people view adverts across different formats.

The graph highlights different video advertising experiences and how long these formats manage to capture audience attention before skipping or scrolling ahead. The y-axis represents the video sessions, whilst the x-axis represents viewing time.

Unsurprisingly, non-skippable formats retain user attention the longest. In addition, non-skippable formats resemble TV more closely. That also means people are in the right mood to view content and consequently adverts.

Indeed, Facebook Ad Breaks noted completion rates of 70%. However, drop-outs increase as ads become longer. Six-second and 15-seconds ads are emerging as standard video ad lengths across the platform.

Similarly, live TV ad formats show an attention curve that’s not too different from non-skippable formats.

Feed formats offer potentially vast scale and reach. Brands can also establish a more meaningful connection with consumers through feed ads. However, their scale is also their biggest challenge. Marketers are advised to create video ads that capture user attention instantly in order to boost engagement.

Skippable formats are a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst shorter video ad formats reach most viewers, longer formats tend to be viewed by just 10% of people. However, as people have become used to spotting the ‘skip’ button, advertisers need to be able to create captivating content for the first few seconds of a clip.

Stories are new video advertising formats which resemble feeds. The main difference with Stories is that content is presented sequentially and in full-screen format with the sound on. Although viewing speed is even faster, these ad formats are receiving higher attention due to their full-screen takeover formats.

Facebook also pointed out that in terms of ad effectiveness measurements, duration alone is not a good predictor of just how successful an ad campaign has been. Indeed, reaching older audiences is considered generally more difficult using mobile video ads, compared to reaching Millennials.

Given the diversity of the mobile video advertising landscape, measurement has become a core challenge, but also an opportunity.

Marketers are advised to adjust their creatives for each ad format and ensure that video ad duration can capture attention immediately.

In terms of measurement, Facebook recommends sales or brand lift measures for each experience.

As mobile video continues to grow in 2018, optimization should be a key focus for advertisers.