Can Just One Second of an Ad Drive Meaningful Brand Impact?

. 2 min read

By Tom Murray | Managing Director, Agency

The great debate amongst digital video ad partners and traditional TV buyers is the simple question around how long does a user need to see an ad in order to be impacted from it. This has coincided with the rise of viewability, which is the measurement of how long ads are on a screen before they are counted as an impression. The Media Rating Council (MRC) has defined a video ad is viewable when it has 50% of the pixels of the ad on the screen for at least two seconds.

Depending who you ask, some say this is too long of a time due to the rise of mobile screen behavior and others say it does not go far enough. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on, there are a few stats to keep in mind in this day and age.

On Facebook, the average user spends 1.7 seconds on each post they scroll through in their Facebook feed. The amount of content that they consume per day is the size of the Statue of Liberty – at over 300 feet of content per day!

The reason I only mentioned stats about Facebook above is because Facebook’s standards for what it deems a view is low, especially when compared to other platforms such as YouTube. Often times brands will discount the power of a Facebook view, which is three seconds (any % of pixels on screen). They recently introduced a “continuous two second view,” which matches the MRC standard exactly.

If you’ve followed any of the digital platforms over the past five years, the #1 creative best practice that all platforms could agree on was the important of early branding in your video, so that way it can still impact users, even if they just scroll past it. While this has made logical sense, there hasn’t been that much research on this subject.

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article with a study done by Neuron’s Inc, a neurological research company. The study showed that “Consumers took 400 milliseconds to see and react emotionally to 67% of mobile ads tested.” When they copied the test on a desktop, it took users between two to three seconds to get to the same reaction state, which is 5x to 8x slower than its mobile counterpart. This was done via measuring brain waves under an EEG, as well as through eye-tracking.

This research only furthers the point that you simply can’t take an existing long-form 30 second or 60 second TV commercial and simply place it on digital channels and expect the same impact. Designing creative for the medium is important, and as more consumers move to mobile, building for second #0 and second #1 are going to be the most important even a consumer decides to skip the ad. The power of the branding and allowing the brand to enter the brain can have a big impact on future purchase when a consumer is at the shelf.

This also reminds me of  a great book that I highly recommend called *Buy-ology. *It goes into even more neurological research around consumer buying decisions and patterns, all backed by science. A very interesting read indeed!