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Advice to Online Advertisers: Get Shorter

Although advertisers may be heartened that consumers accept online ads, they should embrace the maxim "less is more," both in terms of the frequency and length of Internet ads.

Thirty seconds is an eternity online, particularly when it comes to advertising. Consumers prefer ads in the 10- to 15-second range over 30-second epics, according to research released today by online audio and video search engine PodZinger.

"We've proven the 30-second spot is dead," says Alex Laats, CEO of PodZinger, which employs speech-to-text technology to make audio and video content searchable and available for contextual advertising.

Although advertisers may be heartened by the study's affirmation that consumers accept online ads, they should take the findings as a hint to embrace the maxim "less is more," both in terms of the frequency and length of Internet ads.

Consumers considered repeated ads "annoying," with "repeated" in this case meaning shown more than one ad in the course of a search.

Consumers typically play only about 15% of video or audio files, which average 7.5 minutes and 22 minutes respectively. That translates to an average attention span of about 1 minute for video content and about 3 minutes for audio content. Given those numbers, it's not hard to see how a 30-second spot might seem to drag.

Among the various content categories tracked by PodZinger, 85% of searches fit into five popular verticals: entertainment, technology, news and politics, music, or sports. Advertisers would thus be well advised to focus on supporting content in these areas.

The study, commissioned by PodZinger, was conducted by market research firm Pathfinder Innovation. It consisted of 36 one-on-one interviews conducted in Cambridge, Mass., Chicago, and Los Angeles. Interviewees were asked to complete questionnaires and were shown demonstration sites to gauge their reactions to online ads.

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