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How to Drive Lift with Video Ads: The Power of Sequencing

E.L.F. (eyes.lips.face.) makeup brand logo on a black box

In a world with increasing variety in marketing channels, brand marketers are faced with many choices in asset length and format.

In this blog post, we will discuss the results of a recent study, which examined how different-length versions of the same advertisement affect outcomes. While the focus of the study was on an E.L.F. Cosmetics Super Bowl ad, the insights obtained can be applied universally by brand marketers seeking to optimize their advertising strategies.

The study

Our research tested three different versions of the same E.L.F. Cosmetics advertisement that ran during the 2023 Super Bowl: a 45-second, a 30-second, and a 7-second variant. In addition, we also tested the 30-second version followed by the 7-second version. The aim was to uncover how these varying ad lengths would impact key brand metrics such as Brand Favorability and Purchase Intent.

The impact of 30 and 45-second ads vs a 7-second ad

We found that the 30 and 45-second versions of the advertisement had a very similar impact on Brand Favorability and Purchase Intent. At the same time, the 7-second ad had no impact on these metrics relative to a control group. 

A Swayable dashboard comparing Brand Favorability & Purchase Consideration results for 45, 30, and 7 second ads.

These results suggest that once an asset is a certain length, additional time does not enhance its effectiveness. A 7-second ad on its own had no impact, but the 30 and 45-second versions were virtually identical. This insight may challenge the idea that longer ads inherently have a greater impact on brand perception.

The power of back-to-back exposure

However, in reality, marketers don’t normally use 7-second ads on their own, but rather use them to re-target consumers who may have already seen a 30-second ad. To examine that effect, we tested a back-to-back exposure where respondents were treated with both the 30-second version followed by the 7-second. 

A Swayable dashboard comparing Brand Favorability & Purchase Consideration results for 45 second, 30 second, and 30 second + 7 second back-to-back exposure ads.

We found that the results were significantly better than both the 30-second alone and 45-second standalone ads, especially on the Purchase Consideration metric. By strategically sequencing the ads and delivering them consecutively, marketers can create a more compelling and memorable experience for the audience. This reinforcing effect was stronger with Purchase Consideration than Brand Favorability, suggesting that reinforcement helps drive consumer action. 

The 30-second ad acts as the primary content, providing a perspective of the brand and its identity. It allows the audience to engage with the brand's story and establishes an emotional connection. Following this, the 7-second ad serves as a quick reminder, reinforcing key messaging and driving consumers to action. 

Implications for marketers

The implications of this research are significant for brand marketers and advertisers when it comes to placing and targeting assets. Instead of focusing solely on longer ad lengths, marketers should consider the power of sequencing ads and optimizing the combination of different-length formats within their campaigns. By incorporating shorter ads as follow-up reminders, brands can reinforce their messaging and maximize the impact of their advertising efforts.

Moreover, this approach allows for greater flexibility in media planning. Marketers can strategically distribute the different ad formats across various channels and platforms, ensuring they reach a wider audience and maintain consistent brand exposure. For instance, the 30-second ad can be utilized during television programming, while the 7-second ad can be tailored for online platforms and social media where attention spans are typically shorter.

In conclusion, our study on the impact of different-length versions of the same advertisement has shed light on the power of sequencing and utilizing multiple ad formats within a single campaign. While the 30 and 45-second ads had similar impact on Brand Favorability and Purchase Intent, the combination of a 30-second ad followed by a 7-second ad proved to be the most impactful.

Interested in learning more?

To learn more about our methodology or view the source material, check it out here.

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