Here’s why you may want to give long-form video ads a chance
Conventional wisdom tells marketers that shorter is better. Modern technology has cut the human attention span in half, dropping it down to just 8 seconds, and app marketers know that mobile viewer attention can be especially fleeting. You need the audience to digest your ad’s message without getting bored, clicking out, or doing anything other than taking the next step toward downloading your app.
Though shorter video ads have become the norm, there’s growing evidence to suggest that mobile marketers shouldn’t discount longer video ads (31-60 seconds). In the right circumstances, long-form videos can accomplish what shorter ads can’t, particularly towards the bottom of the marketing funnel. In fact, data from the Liftoff platform has shown that long-form video ads now convert up to 18-48% more than short videos. These ads leave more room for creative freedom, illustrative graphics, and more ways to engage with the audience.
Before you write off long-form video ads entirely, consider these five creative advantages of long-form mobile video ads that have been shown to lead to better overall campaign performance.
1. Long-form video ads leave room for narrative storytelling
Attention-grabbing, punchy ads can tell a compelling story quickly, but a longer video leaves more room for a narrative arc. This approach can be especially important for mobile RPG games where character narratives are a crucial part of the experience and for apps that require a bit of user education to make their case.
For example, this ad for Raid: Shadow Legends runs for one minute and five seconds, but in that brief time, we get an entire hero’s journey worth of content: The Death Knight saves another character, engages in an action-packed battle, emerges victorious, and then we get a funny, back-to-reality punchline at the very end.
The long-form format works here because it keeps the viewer at the edge of their seat before making a human connection by placing the character in the viewer’s world. It shows off the fantasy while staying relatable in a way that would be hard to do with a shorter ad.
2. Longer ads provide an in-depth look at user experience
Long-form video ads can act as app demos, especially when the audience may not be sure how the app is relevant to them.
This Monday.com ad walks users through its main features for a full minute without being dry or sales-y. In fact, it manages to make fun of sales-y ads in the process. The longer format works here because Monday.com’s value proposition may not be obvious to its intended audience. A light-hearted walkthrough provides both entertainment value and viewer education.
In a similar vein, game ads can also benefit from a more detailed look at the game environment, which leads to deeper engagement and higher retention. Per data from Liftoff’s 2022 Mobile Ad Creative Index, only 1-4% of mobile gaming ad campaigns reflect player motivations. Without self-imposed time constraints, you can give viewers a better idea of what they’ll find once they download the app, which can help reduce churn. After all, if the game doesn’t meet expectations, it’s almost certain the user will delete it or simply forget about it — and you probably won’t get another chance to win their trust.
Supercell’s Clash of Clans update video is a good example of a longer video ad that runs for over a minute, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and does a fantastic job of showing off the actual game world.
3. Longer video ads create more opportunities for engagement
Long-form video ads offer an opportunity for interactive elements, like clickable cards, but they also keep your target audience watching. If someone is already interested in a game or an app, they’re more likely to connect with a long-form video and take some kind of action.
This ad from Asana focuses on the challenges and joys of distributed teams. For a whole minute, the viewers follow a group working together from home and from the office, tackling work/life challenges as they arise.
Someone who doesn’t work remotely is not likely to connect with this ad, and that’s okay. Asana filters out unqualified leads by the sheer length of the ad. The viewers who remain at the minute mark are likelier to click through, download the app, and use it for years to come.
4. Long-form videos drive bottom-of-funnel conversions
Continuing with the theme of engaged users — longer videos can be a great way to target your mobile ad campaigns to qualified leads. Let’s say a user already engaged with your shorter ads at some point but didn’t install your app. Showing a longer video at the right time can help viewers decide whether to engage with your product.
FarmVille 3’s 1:17 gameplay trailer provides a full overview of its gameplay, such as growing crops, upgrading the farm, and adopting exotic animals. The ad may interest a FarmVille novice but is more likely meant for someone who played FarmVille or a similar farm sim in the past and wants to see what’s new. Throughout the video, farming sim fans will see comfortingly familiar gameplay and new features, leading them to conclude that the newest installment will give them more of what they love while keeping things fresh. There’s often simply not enough time to give such a detailed view in shorter video ads.
5. Long-form mobile videos build brand recognition
Lastly, long-form mobile videos can build your brand identity. Story-driven ads connect with both new users and brand loyalists. A great example is this ad from language learning app Duolingo, starring the infamous green owl reminding users relentlessly to complete their 15 minutes of language practice.
The ad works for existing users who are already in on the joke but is also relatable enough for users who are new to the app and want accountability to hit their learning goals. Over the last few years, the Duolingo owl has become something of an icon in meme culture due to the nature of the app’s push notifications that gently but firmly urge users to continue their studies. This clever April Fool’s marketing spot connects the memes with the product while showing a sense of humor that’s popular with Millennials and Generation Z, ultimately creating a memorable experience. Remember, long-form videos are for playing the long game. They can help you build a connection with your audience that will pay off in the future.
Watch your next campaign take off with help from Creative Studio
Rather than ruling out anything longer than 30 seconds, mobile advertisers should consider keeping the long-form video in their arsenal to be used at strategic points in a marketing campaign. Don’t forget: This is a chance to let your creativity shine!
If you’re looking for the right creative partner, Liftoff can help. Our Creative Studio solution helps you put eye-catching creative in front of the right audience. Find the winning formula for your next campaign with data-driven, high-impact ads. Learn more about Creative Studio.
Download now: 2023 Mobile Ad Creative Index
Looking for even more ad creative insights to supercharge your mobile campaigns? Our 2023 Mobile Ad Creative Index dives deeply into five trends that are moving the needle for mobile marketers: extended ad experiences, taking playables beyond gaming, leveraging gaming motivations, more on creating long-form video ads, and user-generated content ads.