What makes the perfect video ad?

It´s widely known that video is key to successful marketing these days. With so many digital platforms and increasing mobile Internet use, video is among the preferred type of media for consumers. As a result, sites like YouTube are more popular than ever for advertisements. But how can you guarantee the effectiveness of your YouTube ad or ensure it´s going to go viral?

One of the main concerns for marketers is the length of the ad – and there are quite a few contrasting opinions on the matter. Research from Mashable, for example, showed that the majority of users were willing to watch a 15-second ad before their chosen YouTube video. However, according to a recent survey by social media ad platform Unruly, the average length of the ten most shared ads on social sites was just over four minutes. Meanwhile, eConsultancy reported that the most trending 2013 ads came in at an average length of one minute and 44 seconds.

In order to examine these differences in data further, eConsultancy ran a test, showing ads of different length to YouTube users over a month. Both ads were identical in the first 15 seconds, but the second one was twice as long. Results showed that engagement was slightly higher for the shorter one, with 34% of viewers watching the entire 15-second ad, while 32% watched half of the longer one.

Although the overall impressions for the two ads were roughly the same, the number of users that went on to watch another video on the same YouTube channel was three times higher among those who viewed the shorter version. The shorter ad also led to 83% of all conversions, suggesting that a catchy, short ad is more effective than longer versions, eConsultancy said.

As a consumer, how long would you be willing to spend watching a video ad? And, as a brand, have you invested in video advertising?