To put it simply, long form media is any commercial you see that is over two minutes long. Many agencies are experimenting with different commercial lengths in partnership with hundreds of national cable stations to find the right unit length for each campaign. Common lengths that fall under this long form umbrella are three minute, five minute, and thirty minute.
Three and five minute lengths are perfectly nestled in-between TV programming breaks and take up the entire commercial break – that’s why Havas Edge calls it “Full Break!” These shorter long form formats differ slightly from your more traditional thirty minute commercial, otherwise known as paid programming or even the infamous infomercial. Havas Edge has taken great efforts to expand this new form of direct response advertising by understanding what role these three, five, and thirty minute unit lengths can play in a company’s integrated campaign.
Long form media is a powerful tool to diversify media distribution and works in conjunction with other formats and campaigns. As short form advertising demand continues to increase, longer lengths empower brands to break through the competitive advertising arena. This “media mix” is crucial to mitigate risk and provide flexibility in the ever-changing TV space.
TV advertisers often struggle with what the appropriate media mix for their business should be to drive the most sales and get the highest return on their ad spend. Here at Havas Edge, the value of a diversified media mix, which includes longer length messaging, is proven to attract a more qualified consumer who is now ready to purchase.
Havas Edge’s Mary Craig is a Director of Client Services at the Carlsbad office, and has overseen numerous successful performance marketing campaigns. She spoke in depth about the importance of a diverse media campaign.
“Each client is going to have a different media mix based on their business objectives and demographic they are looking to hit. If you have a complex message you need to get across to consumers, you should always have a three minute, five minute, or thirty minute infomercial as part of your television strategy. You are going to need that extra time to sell your brand and prompt consumers to respond.”
To supplement this discussion, Drew Llanes, tenured media buyer at Havas Edge, weighed in on the topic.
“The more options in length you have the better. A blended media plan gives you the ability to maximize reach on the local and national level with the flexibility to shift dollars efficiently based on performance.”
So really, the benefit of having multiple commercial lengths is that you are not dependent on one single creative, or commercial. By including longer formats into your campaign, you are expanding the profit centers of your business in a strategic way that drives more response from multiple sources.
To navigate around competition, landscapes, and seasonality, campaigns benefit from using multiple lengths concurrently. Ultimately, every company will have a different solution, but more times than not, longer length commercials are part of the solution to a successful television campaign.
Longer length messaging offers brands more time to inform their potential customers about their brand, their products or services, and helps to distinguish themselves from competition. Comscore data from May 2019, shows that the audience for long form media, across the Top 500 stations, were engaged, on average, for 67% of the runtime. This proven longer engagement is invaluable to companies who leverage brand storytelling and thorough explanations of their offerings. Time devoted towards educating consumers spurs more qualified leads and results in higher customer conversion rates and a lower overall cost per acquisition.
Executive Vice President of Long Form Media at Havas Edge, Abed Abusaleh, shed some light on the current climate of longer length messaging.
He believes that the focus of long form is on “considered purchases.” These are purchases where consumers invest time and energy to research and consider solution alternatives carefully because of financial or social risk. This might include purchases like healthcare, life insurance, higher education, home improvement, or other high-priced products. He noted, “people spend more time researching purchases that make a bigger impact on their lives,” and that “consumers will not hastily decide on a high involvement purchase in just 60 seconds.”
To best utilize long form creatives, Abed notes that we take an “engaged storytelling” approach in order to “explain personal brand benefits and how it impacts people’s lives.” This allows the brand to get personal, explain themselves, and allow the consumer to respond appropriately. The measurement of that response is what drives businesses to grow!
When considering the engaging content of a long form commercial, we asked another Senior Long Form Media Buyer what he sees best attain the client’s KPI or reach response goals from the campaign. Jason Jarvis added that Long Form direct response ads should, “make enticing offers to compel to viewer to make the informed purchase.” By providing the necessary information, giving consumers a personalized offer, and following it up with a call to action, qualified leads are prompted to call in or visit online as a response to your TV spot.
The ultimate goal of these longer unit lengths is to diversify your media set, stand out from competition, and to reach your target audience in the most efficient manner. Does your media mix measure up? Ask yourself these questions. Is your marketing campaign slowing in response? Not generating enough qualified leads? Have a product or service that requires explanation? It may be time to consider a three minute, five minute, and thirty minute ad. Remember to mix it up, and add long form media to your media mix!