Wrap it up, marketers. Consumers just aren’t that into you.

Ever been at a dinner party when an erstwhile raconteur massacres a great story by making it too damn long?

To do a grave disservice to Dan Ariely, author of “Predictably Irrational,” and with no disrespect to the author, I’ll distill his brilliant work into a sound bite: “You’re irrational self is infrequently in charge.” But it’s not just you, the consumer, who is predictably irrational. One could argue based on a recent AdWeek article – “’Snackable’ Branded Video Was All the Rage a Couple of Years Ago. Is It Already Dead?” – that marketers are too. bit.ly/1X8ZHiN What other possible explanation is there for marketers to ignore all the research on media consumption habits, specifically video?

In spite of recent and abundant research that reveals that consumers continue to want “snackable” content, marketers are embracing the long form. Clearly at their peril, if you consider unwatched videos a complete waste of time, talent, money and most importantly, opportunity. AdWeek reports that, “The shift away from brief clips is wrongheaded, according to several agency execs, who point to recent studies. For instance, Kinetic Social last fall concluded that 25 percent of viewers complete 15-second videos, but only 19 percent do so when the clips are 30 seconds. When the spots are a minute long, the completion percentage drops to 9 percent. A 2013 University of Massachusetts report found that viewers were 3 percent more likely to finish 15-second ads than they were to finish 20-second ads, which in turn are 4 percent more likely to be viewed in their entirety than their 30-second counterparts.” One can only speculate as to why marketers are turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the realities of consumer behavior. Are we back to the idea long embraced by marketers that the consumer doesn’t know what they want? That would be a mistake. The consumer has never been more vocal or in charge, increasingly dictating the terms of marketing exchange and engagement.

But I think something else plays into the marketers determination to subvert consumer behavior  – and that is the growing love affair with original content and the desire to be the 30 or 60 commercial equivalent to “Transparent” or “OITNB.” (And maybe even the seed of a pilot for Netflix or Amazon series.) There’s just so much creative, edgy and innovative programming out there now that I think marketers can’t resist the urge to showcase their “storytelling” capabilities – storytelling being the brand buzzword of the day – (for a hilariously insightful take on THAT bit.ly/1Pxh7k2) and turn their brand message into what feels like a near full length feature film. But for anyone who hasn’t heard the news, the human attention span has decreased by 4 seconds, from 12 to 8, in just a few short years. Goldfish have an attention span of 9. Marketers may want to rethink the long form…


Image by Strategic Public Relations, http://prblog.typepad.com/strategic_public_relation/visuals/.