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Short-form video drives engagement on branding campaigns while long-form boosts calls-to-action

A study conducted by Opera Mediaworks has revealed that shorter mobile video creative - at six to eight seconds - is the optimal length for branding campaigns, delivering on average 36 per cent higher engagement levels than long form, and providing the best return on driving traffic.

The study found that overall, video is a more effective ad format for mobile. Regardless of length, video on mobile drives click-through rates double to that of online video, according to eMarketer.

The Short-Form Video study was conducted for the EMEA region and sought to explore further the ideal creative principles for mobile video by researching the effectiveness of mobile-first, short-form, fullscreen video in premium, in-app video environments. It follows on from the US Native Video Fund, which established best practices for in-feed mobile video

Mobile ad platform Opera Mediaworks launched a short-form video fund in May last year, which provided brand advertisers the opportunity to leverage the latest Instant-Play HD video technology through a $1m investment. Ten brands took part in the study, including eBay, Mitsubishi, Mattel, British Heart Foundation and Tourism Ireland. Aspects such as engagement and dwell times were compared in order to discover best practices for advertisers looking to engage mobile audiences with video campaigns.

Mark Slade, managing director for EMEA, Opera Mediaworks, said: "It has long been suspected that the length of mobile video creative has a direct impact on audience-engagement rates, and it’s reassuring to have a specific measure of this now. Mobile video continues to be a huge growth area for advertising, considering the ubiquity of smartphones and the changing habits of how we consume content."

The study looked at Stella Artois’ ad as part of its sponsorship of Wimbledon, with the six-second version of the ad driving 60 per cent engagement rate compared to the 15-second version, as well as attracting a 25 per cent longer dwell time with the brand in the ad unit than the longer version. These findings helped place short-form video as the most effective format for branding campaigns.

While short-form was best for branding campaigns, the study found that long-form video was the most effective for product-focused campaigns with a call to action. The study found that when viewers are asked to click-through for more information, 15 to 30-second video provided a 30 per cent higher engagement rate than shorter form content.

The finding was supported by a study into TomTom's product-focused campaign that asked users to watch additional video content and click onto a microsite, which saw long-form video of 15 seconds drive 62 per cent increase in engagement compared to the six-second counterpart.

Furthermore, the study found when it comes to dwell time and click-through rates, the optimal video length for maximising audience engagement in non-native environments on mobile is between 14 and 15 seconds.

The study shows that videos within this window are concise enough to deliver engagement averages double those of longer form videos, while also delivering click-through rates double to that which the short-form videos averaged, demonstrating that viewers are sufficiently informed by this point.

Jessica Goodfellow

The Drum's media reporter covering everything from publishing, TV, social media, radio and technology.

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