Strike Social Blog Header Optimizing Video Length for YouTube Ads For High Performing Campaigns

Optimizing Video Length for YouTube Ads For High-Performing Campaigns


Capturing and maintaining audience attention these days is a prized achievement, and that’s why knowing the optimal video ad length for YouTube is essential. Imagine launching a YouTube ad, pouring resources and creativity into it, only to find viewers skipping it within the first few seconds.

With the average human attention span dwindling at only 8.25 seconds, the opening moments of your YouTube ad are a make-or-break point. Can your brand convey its message, showcase a compelling visual, and prevent users from hitting that skip button?

Optimizing Video Length for YouTube Ads For High-Performing Campaigns

In 2023, brands will invest $55 billion in YouTube’s digital video advertisements. However, despite the colossal investment, half of the users might skip these ads. Consequently, even the most dominant force in video advertising, many YouTube ads still need to fight through the battle in the auction and viewer’s attention.

So, what’s the solution? Let’s explore the significance of the video length of YouTube Ads. Specifically, we’ll discuss whether the duration of your video ads can influence the success of your YouTube campaigns. Will we uncover patterns and insights to guide the creation of YouTube ads that truly resonate and engage.

YouTube suggests video ad length should be between 12 seconds to 3 minutes. However, adhering to these upper limits does guarantee success and efficiency. The platform permits you to tailor your video ads within these boundaries.

YouTube doesn’t offer a one-size-fits-all video length. Instead, the ideal duration hinges on your ad’s nature and message. Here’s a closer look:

  • Skippable ads: up to 6 minutes, but ideally around 60 to 90 seconds (with viewers having the option to skip after 5 seconds)
  • Non-skippable ads: ideally within 15-20 seconds
  • Bumper ads: capped at 6 seconds

Remember, while these are the maximum timeframes allowed, they are not rigid constraints. The question remains: Which video ad length is truly effective?

Striking a balance: Short vs. Long YouTube Ads

Data from our 2023 YouTube campaigns reveals a correlation between ad duration and viewer stickiness—ads within the 15 and 30-second range account for a significant portion of total views. As most advertisers would desire lower costs on their campaigns, remember that It’s not just about getting eyes on the ad; it’s about maintaining that gaze. Striking the balance offer enough time to provide the value of brand messaging.

Zooming into our 2023 YouTube instream skippable ads reveals evolving preferences. While most of our partner brands lean heavily towards the “0 – 15 seconds” video ads, advertisers still see long-form content as valuable. Ads that span 60 seconds or longer might be fewer in number, accounting for 5% of our mix, but they signify a trend. Brands see value in storytelling, taking the time to weave narratives that resonate deeply with viewers.

Related article: Make the Most of YouTube TrueView with Shorts Ads

2023 YouTube Ad Performance by Video Length

Looking further into CPV progression, our data reveals that all ad lengths witnessed a rise in CPV from Q1 to Q2. Leading the list, video length for YouTube ads with a 31-60 second duration experienced the steepest increase. Meanwhile, shorter videos of 0-15 seconds still hold the crown as the most cost-effective. On the engagement side, despite a dip in View Rate across other video lengths, ads “61 seconds or longer” maintained the highest View Rate.

Using the Efficiency Index to Find the Optimal Video Ad Length for YouTube Ads

Imagine crafting a YouTube campaign without insights on whether the creative is too lengthy to hold attention or too brief to convey its message. Every advertiser grapples with this question: What is the optimal video ad length for YouTube ads?

This section will pinpoint that sweet spot by introducing a metric to gauge the most efficient video ad length for YouTube: the Efficiency Index. From our data, the Efficiency Index is derived from a blend of CPV and View Rate, represented as:

Efficiency Index = View Rate / CPV

This index illuminates the equilibrium between these two pivotal view metrics. An elevated Efficiency Index signifies a more optimal ad length. Our 2023 analysis indicates that ads of “0 – 15 seconds” consistently emerge as the most efficient, highlighting the importance of higher view rates and lower ad costs. Yet, a quarterly assessment reveals that ads “61 seconds or longer” took the lead in efficiency during Q2. This shift suggests that while shorter ads often dominate, there are instances where lengthier get the spotlight.

While advertisers can discern which video ad length yields a superior Efficiency Index, it’s vital to remain adaptable, adjusting video ad lengths based on the campaign intricacies.

Related article: Advertisers’ Guide To YouTube Video Action Campaign Targeting

YouTube Ads View Rate Benchmark by Industry and Video Length

Every industry is distinct, with viewers’ reception to ads varying across verticals. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Data scientists from Strike Social have compiled industry benchmarks for YouTube TrueView skippable campaigns to guide advertisers in determining the optimal video ad length.

While understanding the industry benchmark for View Rate or prevailing ad costs is crucial, other underlying factors can significantly influence a campaign’s performance. For example, a fast-paced tech ad might engage viewers in just 15 seconds, whereas a luxury travel brand might need a more extended narrative to convey its story effectively.

Is There A Magic Formula for Effective Video Ad Length?

Advertisers can choose to sprint or run a marathon when trying to capture and retain consumers’ attention. That initial effort to grab the audience’s attention has always been crucial to the creative process. However, investing resources in a YouTube Ad campaign can be disheartening, only to see viewers skip the content. Brands can mitigate this through meticulous campaign planning, which includes determining the right video ad length.

The real magic lies in deciding the ad’s duration based on historical data and continuously adapting to changing viewer preferences, industry trends, and campaign goals. While the debate over the “optimal video ad length for YouTube” persists, one fact stands firm: quality over quantity. Whether you’re designing a brief 15-second ad or crafting a lengthier narrative, the crux is the content’s relevance, quality, and value to viewers.

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