Despite the ongoing debate on the relevance of traditional television in marketing, TV ads still have the highest reach among viewers and remain the favorite leisure activity of most Americans. The truth is, TV commercials are far from being pushed into the past, maintaining its lasting relevance among viewers and in TV advertising campaigns.
In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 80% of the American population is watching TV on a given day, accounting for more than half of all the time Americans spend on leisure and sports activities. What's more, the rise in OTT/CTV streaming has yet to make linear TV irrelevant. Instead, they've become a package deal for many American homes. Statista research found that "60% of U.S. households subscribed to pay-TV and one or multiple streaming services to meet their entertainment needs," meaning TV isn't going anywhere any time soon.
Here's everything you need to know about making a successful TV commercial that's short and sweet.
Aim for 30 Second (Or Less!) TV Ads
One of the best pieces of advice you can get about making your commercial is to keep it short and sweet. Shorter is always better unless you're doing an infomercial or trying to sell your offer directly. This is because attention spans aren't very long, and it's all too easy for people to get distracted and stop paying attention. Keep in mind that 30 seconds or less is all you need to increase brand awareness, introducing your brand, and how you solve a problem within seconds.
Many experts even go as far as to say 15 seconds is the sweet spot for TV commercials. "The 15-second ad was the only one to drive significant ad recall across all three cuts," Google reveals of their video length study. "For brands with a focus on awareness, the short format can be both effective and efficient. Shorter formats can raise awareness, keep the brand top of mind, and create signals that drive important behaviors such as search."
OTT ads, in particular, are a great example of efficiency at as short as 15 seconds or less. This gives viewers enough time to take in your brand message before their attention goes elsewhere.
Not to mention, you can also benefit from:
- Interactive ads
- A more engaged audience
- Multi-device marketing (i.e., re-targeting on their mobile, laptop, etc. after the ad is delivered)
Engage and Persuade Right Away
The key to success with your 30-second or less TV ad is to engage and persuade right off the bat. You want to capture attention within the first few seconds, get your main message across shortly after, and wrap it up before viewers have a chance to get distracted or annoyed. Engaging your audience should be prioritized in such a short amount of time because it makes for a commercial people will genuinely enjoy and remember. Take, for instance, TV ads that tell a compelling story or direct viewers with re-targeting efforts (i.e., sign up for X and get put in a drawing for X).
People are bombarded with info on their devices all the time, so you have to get creative on how you intend to engage with your audience. You want to speak directly to your target audience and tell them what your brand solves for them without any extraneous details.
Take note from one of Nike's most memorable TV ads: Nike's "Just Do It" campaign changed everything for the company, expanding their relevance in all areas of exercising. Before they became the athlete go-to they're known as today, they were just for marathon runners. After their campaign that HubSpot reports were "short and sweet yet encapsulated everything people felt when exercising," Nike knocked Reebok out of the park and took over the industry.
Focus on the End Goal
It's easy to get wrapped up in making the first few seconds everything they need to be, but you don't want to lose focus on your end goal in the process. When developing a TV commercial, define the results you want to achieve to ensure you never lose sight of what that is.
A successful ad needs to drive the results you want, so defining outcomes is crucial to keeping everyone in the TV commercial production process on the same page with the ad's primary purpose — no confusion or misinterpretations possible.
Start by asking what you want to achieve with the commercial:
- Brand awareness?
- Promoting an offer?
- More traffic to your website?
Then, create the commercial with your end goal in mind and determine your ad length accordingly. Remember, shorter commercials are the best options for brand awareness and driving traffic. In contrast, a longer commercial is ideal for promoting an offer that requires more time and detail to persuade viewers to take advantage of the deal.
Bonus Tip: Reach Your Bottom Line With a Media Partner
Keeping your TV ad under 30 seconds, engaging and persuasive among viewers, and with the end goal in mind are the top three tips for successful commercials. However, working with a media partner is arguably one of the most essential tips you can get for a successful TV commercial because it takes the guesswork out of this new endeavor.
A media partner already has all the expertise and experience you need to craft a TV ad that is a game-changer for your business, like Nike, who was the underdog and replaced Reebok with one campaign, or Coca-Cola, who has dominated the industry with their TV ads for decades.