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ExtremeReach Video Ad Distribution by Length Jan2020Although advertisers were planning to spend more on newer video ad formats like 6-second ads in 2019, the tried and true 30-second format appears to still prevail, according to a recent video benchmark report [download page] from Extreme Reach.

A Growing Share of Digital Video Ads Are 30 Seconds in Length

Two-thirds (66%) of video ads in the third quarter of 2019 were 30-second ads, per the analysis. While this is down from a peak of 69% of total ads in Q1 2019, it’s up from 55% share during the year-earlier period. During that same time span, 15-second ads fell from 41% share of ads served on Extreme Reach’s platform to 32%.

30-second ads also have the highest completion rate, per Extreme Reach. Fully 89% of 30-second ads were viewed to completion during Q3 2019, even higher than 15-second ads, which had a completion rate of 87%. This is possibly due to 15-second ads being in a pre-roll position while 30-second ads are often part of a mid-roll block that appears after the audience is hooked on the video they are viewing.

Having a captive audience could also explain why ads viewed on connected TV (CTV) devices have a 96% completion rate. According to data from FreeWheel, 56% of all video ads viewed in the US in Q3 were on CTV devices.

Longer Video Ads Work Best to Stir Emotions; Shorter Ones Get the Laugh

But which ads present the best format for storytelling – long or short? It depends on the goal. Of the 10 Best Storytelling Ads from 2019 determined by Ace Metrix through an analysis of more than 8,400 video ads and more than 3 million viewer comments, 9 were 60-seconds long. Similarly, 6 of the 10 Most Empowering Ads were a minute in length. (It’s worth noting that Ace Metrix analyzes TV ads also, which tend to be longer than digital video ads.)

Still, that’s not to say that shorter ads aren’t effective. Indeed, 8 of the 10 Funniest Ads of 2019 were 30 seconds in length, with the remaining 2 coming in at a length of 15 seconds.

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