Healthcare Television Marketing: Less Can Be More

Advertisers are finding that :15-second spots can be more effective.

Advertisers are going to the extremes.  Long format video ads are very common. They are being placed on the web and on popular sites like YouTube.  The spots can range from one to five minutes and even longer on occasions.  Longer videos are produced to provide increased entertainment value.

But the opposite is true too.  Many advertisers are moving to :15 -second TV spots.    According to Nielsen, the number of :15- second spots have increased 70% in the past year and now make up 34% of all national spots.  In fact it’s not uncommon to see five spots in a minute and a half.  There are two primary reasons for this shift.

The first is viewers’ attention spans are generally shorter than in the past. Digital video recorders and attention grabbers like laptops and smart phones have shortened viewers’ attentiveness There are too many distractions and too much competition for viewers’ attention that prevent longer periods of concentration.

The second reason for the movement to shorter spots is cost.  A :15-second spot generally costs 50-60% of :30 second spots. Thus for essentially the same amount of money advertisers can increase their exposure by doubling the number of commercials, advertise an additional service line, or decrease the television spending altogether while maintaining adequate reach and frequency.

The message for hospital marketers is that :15-second commercials could be a very viable option.  Of course not all messages can be effectively delivered in :15 seconds but if the message is simple and succinct, a shorter spot can be very effective.  Plus when budgets are tight, a :15-second spot can certainly be effective in stretching the budget without significantly hurting exposure.

One possible negative factor to consider is with many local television stations the placement of a :15-second commercial can be limiting.  Shorter time slots may not be available in some desired programs.  The good news is there is  shorter commercials are usually available in locally originated programming like local news.

Shorter television commercials can effectively fight against attention fatigue of viewers and stretch an already strained marketing budget.  So less can really be more.


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