Guide To How Long Should Radio or Tv Ads Be

When it comes to advertising on radio or television, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the length of your ad. Do you want a shorter 15-second spot that’s less expensive but may not give you enough time to deliver your message? Or do you want a longer 30- or 60-second ad that will cost more? 

Use a 60-second ad when:

  • You are advertising a complex product or service. It’s better to have a long message that is clear, than a short message that leaves doubts and questions. 
  • You need to deliver a lot of information or answer specific questions. Be careful not to bore your audience with unnecessary information or questions no one is asking. 
  • You are selling a general commodity, or the market is saturated with competitors. These ads are the most challenging to write, but the most rewarding. A 60-second ad will give you time to answer why your audience needs you before you pitch your solution. More often than not, these types of ads are entertaining but above all, they immerse you in a story that is difficult to ignore. Consider hiring a proven copywriter or marketing agency with a world-class creative team to produce this type of ad, they live to create ads like this. 

Use 30-second ads when: 

  • You have a simple message to communicate. Do not overcomplicate this ad with unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. It’s better to be clear than cool. Focus on delivering a powerful pitch that persuades your audience to take action. 

Use 15-second ads when:

  • You don’t want to screw it up. Why say something for 30 seconds when you can say it in 15? Sadly, 1 out of 4 ads on radio or TV work better as 15-second ads. So why don’t you see them as much? One, because 30-second ads are more profitable than 15-second ads, and two, most people think longer ads lead to better ad retention and ROI. Unfortunately, this is not true. 15-second ads may seem like they wouldn’t be effective due to their brevity, but studies have shown that they can be very successful. In one study, it was found that 15-second ads were just as effective as 30-second ads when it came to brand recall and message retention. So, if you’re thinking about running a radio or TV ad, don’t worry about making it too long – shorter is better!
  • You have very little or no competitors. You’re better off spending money on shorter ads with more frequency, than longer ads with less frequency. Simple name recognition should be enough to make customers think of you when they need your product or service.  

What about mentions or endorsements?

Only consider mentions or endorsements if you want to add frequency to your existing 30- or 60-second ads. Do NOT run mentions or endorsements as a substitute for ads. Think of these types of ads as the ketchup to your fries, without the fries, they are worthless.  

Recap: How long should radio or Tv ads be?

Always make your ad as long as it needs to be. 

Radio and television ads should be brief, typically 15-30 seconds in length. This allows for the delivery of a clear message without overwhelming or boring viewers. Additionally, shorter ads are more likely to be remembered than longer ones. 

3 Key takeaways

  1. If you have a simple message, a shorter ad may be just as effective and less expensive. 
  1. If you’re selling a complex product or service, it’s better to go with a longer ad so that you can deliver all the information clearly.  
  1. If you’re in a market with very little competition, name recognition is key and shorter ads that run more frequently may be the way to go. 

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