In the battle for listener attention, 30-second radio commercials outscore 60s and 15s, according to a study by audio analytics researchers Veritonic in partnership with Audacy.
“Ads that ran for 30 seconds outperformed others on most key performance indicators such as engagement, brand effect, and recall, and were also heard as more trustworthy, likable and relevant,” Audacy Senior VP, Research & Insights Idil Cakim says. “61% of respondents listen to the full ad when it comes on, and 30 seconds seems to be the optimal point at which you can hold their attention enough that they feel compelled to use the product or service – but not so long that they zone out.”
The study, comparing frequent listeners’ responses to 15-, 30-, and 60-second ads across the auto, financial, retail, and professional services industries, shows effectiveness varies by industry and objective. While 30-second spots scored well for auto and financial services, 15s were more likely to do the trick for retail. “You might want to do a longer ad when explaining a new product, and shift to shorter when you’re well-known and want to gain frequency,” Cakim says.
In some ways – such as making respondents think about how they can use, and delivering the right information they need to consider buying, a product or service – 30s and 60s elicit similar responses among more than two-thirds of the sample, in either case more than 15s. “When choosing between a 30-and 60-second ad, it might make sense to boost creatives by investing in two 30-second ads rather than one 60-second spot,” suggests Cakim.
Veritonic's research also stresses the importance of keeping listeners engaged until the end of a spot, and for advertisers to target those listeners most likely to do so. As to the latter, the study found listeners to both radio and podcasts “seem to be the new super-users, and their reactions to ads were even more intense,” Cakim says. “Those who listen through to the end of an ad show stronger recall and intent to purchase and are significantly more likely to recommend the product or service. So part of the equation is ensuring that you tell a compelling story in just enough time to keep their attention and their recall.”