An Ad Age Video Report

Heating Up the 15- vs. 30-second Online Spot Debate

OPA Panel Members Note Importance of Other Factors Beyond Length

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NEW YORK ( -- The debate over the use of 30-second spots in internet videos was ratcheted up a few notches by a new study report delivered at the Online Publishers Association "Eyes on the Internet" Tour. But members of the OPA panel didn't appear to agree about whether 15 or 30 seconds should be the maximum length for online video commercials.

The common wisdom that has evolved over the last few years is that online viewers are less tolerant of video commercials than TV viewers and that 15-second spots are the optimum they are likely to put up with in an environment where they are always one click away from content on other sites.

David Brandt, managing director at the Los Angeles-based Online Testing Exchange, said that OTX's new study, which was conducted for the OPA, found that repurposed 30-second spots from TV were "equally effective" as 15-second pre-roll ads in online video.

Carole Walker, marketing services director at Masterfoods USA, noted her surprise and interest at that finding but pointed out that "I wouldn't say this is the be all and end all of 30 vs. 15 debate."

In comments afterwards, Jeffrey Graham, senior VP-strategic research at Starcom MediaVest, said: "I think that we can rearrange different variables in terms of ad length and that type of thing, and that's very important in terms of driving effectiveness and efficiency, but you're never going to be effective if the consumer also isn't getting a good experience out of your marketing."

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