Streaming content has dramatically changed the way people consume entertainment, and many advertisers are still slow to adapt to the rapidly changing platforms.

Disruptive models like YouTube and Netflix are perfect examples of how consuming content has changed. The ability to watch shows commercial free or fast forward through ads flummoxed the ad industry. Streaming music services like Spotify and iTunes also cut sharply into traditional radio advertising channels.

These changes have also created shorter attention spans as well as shrinking consumers tolerance for the traditional 30 to 60 second spots from the ‘old model’ of TV and radio advertising. So, what’s next?

Six Second Ads

A recent article on Advertising Age caught my eye:  The 6-Second Impact: Bumper Ads Explained. As a marketer (who is used to producing 30-60 second spots) I felt a little panicky at the idea of a 6 second ad. How do you shrink a radio or TV spot into the same amount of time it takes to log into your phone?

The AdAge article explains how YouTube found a way to keep advertising dollars in their platform using less-obtrusive methods for today’s binge-streaming masses. This is in the form of a 6 second ‘bumper ad’ which plays before and after a program. This seemed to be a manageable amount of time for a watcher to sit through before they streamed their next content. So far it seems to be successful, and is definitely worth further exploration across other marketing channels.

Re-thinking Traditional Advertising

The notion of a 6 second ad is a major challenge in both strategy and content. How can you communicate an impactful message in that short amount of time?

If you think about it, the ‘Less Is More’ concept mirrors how we communicate with each other today. Texts and tweets have a limited character count, often with character emojis mixed in. Instagram and Snapchat use compelling images with very little copy as their communication tool.  Facebook relies on strong headlines and striking photos. Even industry-reviled clickbait ads are effective because they have a short, persuasive headline and a provocative image to entice people to click to see what it’s about.

Shifting Perspective

Think like a customer for a minute: and consider how impatient you become when you click online to read an article and a 30 second non-skippable pop-up ad covers your computer screen. You may wonder why some advertisers seem bent on annoying consumers… why are they still forcing that traditional 15 or 30 second model into a medium that doesn’t support it?

Facebook has quickly become one of the top disruptive marketing channels, influencing the entire advertising industry. Additionally, Facebook Live is growing rapidly in popularity, but the biggest stumbling block is still engagement. As it grows, Facebook Live will be an advertising force to be reckoned with, and the challenge for marketers will continue to be how to keep people engaged without them scrolling away.  (For a deeper look at Facebook Live for business, here’s an informative article from the pros at Hootsuite.)

Where do we go from here?

All signs point to advertising becoming more succinct but also more targeted because of the ability to measure how your customers interact with your brand. Consider your brand’s core message and how to communicate it more concisely.  A good exercise is to sum up your business goals in a compelling tweet (140 characters.) What is your company’s 10-second elevator pitch?  Challenge yourself to think about the top 2-3 main things you want your audience to know about your business to really focus your advertising on your core message.

The best advice is to go back to the basics:

  • Less IS more.
  • Bullet points are your friends (throw out the ‘kitchen sink theory’!)
  • Edit, edit, edit.
  • Use strong, compelling images and copy to tell your brand’s story.