How long before you click the mouse? Limited patience with Web video ads

If you're thinking about increasing your company's budget for Internet video advertisements, you should be thinking in 15-second increments, according to new Poll Position data.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Be honest, how long are you willing to watch a video ad on a Web site that decides to play before some piece of editorial content you'd like to watch? 10 seconds? 30 seconds?

Here's a real life test:

The segment above from Old Spice, which has been running some of the most viral video advertisements on the Internet, is 15 seconds long.

According to a new survey by Poll Position, that is the longest time that the majority of U.S. adults (54 percent) average person is willing to consider a commercial message before they want to move on to whatever they wanted to read or watch or learn about in the first place.

The next largest chunk, 27 percent, had no opinion about how long an online video advertisement should go on; but another 12 percent indicated that they believed 30 seconds was acceptable. Only 3 percent said that 1 minute was an acceptable length of time. Approximately 1,179 U.S. adults responding to Poll Position's national telephone about this topic.

Commercial times during television programs are sold in lots of different lengths: anywhere from 5 seconds up to 1 minute, so it stands to reason that lengths for video advertisements running on the Web would also vary.

Based on the information that I've managed to dig up while researching this topic, the 15-second and 30-second video advertisement lengths seem to be most common on television, too. So, that should be a familiar and manageable length for your marketing team to manage.

What does this all mean for your company's approach to advertising online with video?

Obviously, brevity is best, so someone barely has time to click the "close" box before they are directed to the story that he or she wanted to read or watch in the first place.

The simpler the better, too, maybe simply some compelling images related to your overall theme with some brief text that directs viewers to take action. In fact, if you don't give viewers an opportunity to click through positively -- that is, the option to follow some link for more information rather than closing the box to move on to the editorial content -- your marketing team is overlooking the main difference between a video advertisement produced for television versus one produced for the Web. The latter, of course, should be interactive.

The single biggest consideration, though, might be whether or not your video has viral possibilities -- whether or not it begs to be shared on YouTube or via Twitter or on Facebook. If it does pass that test, you may be able to get away with 30 seconds, which is the average length of time for the incredibly popular series of videos featuring former NFL football player and actor Isaiah Mustafa. Which I have personally shared dozens of times.

Remember to consider the habitual impatience of Internet viewers when you're planning your next video campaign.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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