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Online ads could lazily re-cycle 30 second TV slots


Published: 7 December, 2012


Agencies are lazily relaying 30 second spot ads into Google Adwords, says a survey of advertising agencies by Strata, a provider of media buying and selling software. It reveals a 40% increase in the use of digital video among agencies from the first quarter of 2012 on.

Google Adwords enables ads to be traded on the basis of active views rather than on clicks or a set number of impressions. Advertisers are charged if the viewer watches the first 30 seconds of the ad. The ads can be targeted on various measures, including known interest, and location. Ads can be displayed pre-roll, within the stream, post roll, in the recommended videos section, or among search results.

All well and good, but where we differ from Strata and with part of the Ad Words ethos is over the idea that online video advertising is still all about the 30 second spot. Strata's COO Joy Baer suggested that online video was extending the scope and reach of the 30 second spot, which "may run just once on TV, but can then be replayed endlessly to targeted segments on YouTube and Facebook for no additional cost."

There may be no additional cost, but we are doubtful there would be any great impact either. Surely 30 seconds is too long for an online ad and people will only sit through it if absolutely forced to, leaving them non-receptive and irritated. Far better to capture their attention with a suitable banner or shorter clip, with the option of telescoping to a 30 second ad if they want to see more. If an ad is entertaining, informative or relevant it will get watched and will have the desired impact of uplifting a brand or prompting further action.


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