Over the years, I’ve found media people and creative people at odds about the length of radio and television commercials.  Creative obviously want longer spots while media is trying to build frequency and wants shorter, less expensive spots.  Well, digital video has brought us together so we can both live happily ever after.

Image source: Shutterstock

We can now buy advertising within YouTube videos, just like buying ads on TV within programming.  When those YouTube videos are 20 minutes or longer, the ads that we place within them are more likely to be viewed and the longer the ad, the better. Recent research, done by a video monetization firm, FreeWheel, showed ads placed in online videos 20 minutes or longer have a completion rate of more than nine in ten.  According to Larry Kim’s Wordstream Blog on “How to advertise in YouTube videos,” some studies have shown that longer ads (closer to the 60-second mark) placed within those YouTube videos tend to do better than the shorter ones.  So creative guys, seems like you can take time to build your story.

We’ve all been watching as video viewing keeps growing and this growth has paralleled an increase in video ad volume according to FreeWheel.  Video ad volume grew 47% year over year in 4th Quarter, 2012.

So, consumers are watching more and longer videos and are obviously OK with the increased ad volume because the ad completion rates were highest for long videos (20 minutes or more) at 93%, compared to 81% completion rates for videos 5 to 20 minutes and only 68% for short form videos of 5 minutes or less. eMarketer believes and I agree that this is an indication that consumers are adjusting their expectations for free online content and are willing to accept  advertising, especially if they’ve  committed to watching a 20 minute or longer video online.  I think this sentiment could quickly change if we waste their time instead of engaging them in our brand.

In the case of placing ads within these YouTube videos, the cost of an ad is the same regardless of length. So media can get the frequency they recommend at an efficient cost within budget and the creative team can take as much time as they need to tell the brand story in the ad (depending on production budget, of course). And we all live happily ever after.