Why does Creatably make ads that run for three or four minutes? A better question is: why does anyone make ads that are just 30 seconds?
The 30-second ad is a relic from the television era. It used to be that your ad was sandwiched between entertainment. It was an interruption. You were an unwelcome guest, a door-to-door salesman, the reason they couldn’t see what they wanted. You had to be quick, get brand recognition, and get out before you annoyed them. So thirty seconds worked great when we all watched TV.
We don’t watch TV anymore. We watch Tik Toks, Reels, YouTube, and Facebook videos that live between conspiracy theories and vacation photos. We watch a lot, but everything we watch has one common denominator: we want to see it.
30 seconds isn’t a magic number. If something is unbearably boring for thirty seconds, the problem isn’t the length. It’s the content. Making a bad ad shorter doesn’t make it better, but making a good ad longer can give you multiple opportunities to demonstrate value, build brand recognition, and, most importantly, sell your product.
We make our ads long knowing that, on average, we lose 80% of our audience in the first 15 seconds (and we’re quite proud of only losing 80%). We lose roughly another 10% from 15 seconds to the first minute. However, the people we retained are interested, not just in our jokes or the hook up front, but in your product.
If we just made a 30-second ad, we could tell people your name and what your product does. We’d get similar retention with a much weaker sale. If people are watching beyond 30 seconds, we pay the same as 30-second ads do (sometimes less) and can sell your customers on every disruptive feature you offer.
The 30-second ad had its moment when people were forced to sit down and watch your ad, but now people have freedom. People can watch whatever they want, and you decide if they will watch you. If you make an ad people love, you’ll be rewarded with lower advertising costs and higher conversions. If you make an ad people hate, nobody will watch, and it’ll cost more and more to push it out there. Don’t worry about how long your ad is. Worry if it tells your story in a convincing and entertaining way.