How Short Can Ads Be? The ARF Studies the Impact of Six-Second Ads

By Charlene Weisler

The ARF and TVision recently released a study examining the impact of six-second ads, offering best practices for those who wish to implement. The study, announced in the recent ARF NYCU email, was conducted between October 2017 and May 2018 and tracked participants’ presence and visual attention through a set-top meter using computer vision as they watched television. The study consisted of 256,463 observations of an advertisement playing on a television in one of 1,372 households.

According to the ARF, the study found that visual attention differed by advertisement length, and identified which factors affected visual attention and whether they differ by advertisement length. The study found that the significant predictors of visual attention for 15s and 30s were nearly identical.

Here are the study conclusions:

  1. Age –The older you are, the more likely you will pay attention to 15s and 30s. But the effect of age for six second ads was not significant.
  2. Broadcast/Cable – Advertisements on cable were less likely to receive visual attention in general. This finding might have been due to the longer advertisement pods that typically are found on cable. The effect of network for sixes was not significant.
  3. Daypart – Relative to primetime, advertisements run in all other dayparts were less likely to receive visual attention. Daypart played the largest role in determining visual attention for both 15s and 30s. The effect of daypart for sixes was not significant.
  4. Gender – The gender of the viewer was not a significant factor in visual attention for any advertisement length.
  5. Pod position – Compared with being first in a pod, all three advertisement lengths were less likely to receive visual attention when in the middle of a pod. Being solo in the pod was the largest factor for increasing visual attention for sixes.

Related Stories

06/07/23: Cynopsis Jobs


SR. DIRECTOR, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT SHOUT! FACTORY LOS ANGELES P&L responsibility, ownership over all aspects of a project, standalone releases or a licensed library of titles. Works w/production, publicity, creative services, distribution/sales, digital, finance, legal, acquisitions & licensors to best position the project for success. 7+ yrs of exp. in marketing, business development, or product management. […]

06/07/23: Angry Birds lands at Amazon

Angry Birds lands at Amazon

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM FETV How many of your clients’ upfront deals are delivering? FETV delivers GRPs in flight! Brand-Safe Environment Iconic Content with Loyal Viewers Click here to contact Michael DuPont, EVP Ad Sales for more details or planning costs for review. Wednesday June 7, 2023 Today’s Premieres Bravo: The Real […]

06/06/23: Apple unveils Vision Pro

Apple unveils Vision Pro

Tuesday June 6, 2023 Today’s Premieres A&E: Customer Wars at 9p; Storage Wars at 10p ESPN: 30 for 30: The Luckiest Guy in the World at 8p HBO: Burden of Proof at 9p History: Beyond Skinwalker Ranch at 11p ID: Late Night Lockup at 10p Paramount+: Destination: European Nights IN THE NEWS “To those whose […]

06/05/23: Cynopsis Media Tech Update

Big reveal for "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi

Monday June 5, 2023 Amazon has agreed to payments to settle two federal lawsuits alleging that the tech giant violated users’ privacy through its Alexa voice assistant and its Ring doorbell cameras. The FTC found that Amazon violated children’s privacy law COPPA by keeping voice recordings of children, in some cases failing to honor deletion […]

06/05/23: Big reveal for “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi

Big reveal for "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi

Monday June 5, 2023 Today’s Premieres Fox: Stars on Mars at 8p; Crime Scene Kitchen at 9p Freeform: Cruel Summer at 9p Hulu: Age of Influence Nat Geo: America’s National Parks at 9p NBC: American Ninja Warrior at 8p Netflix: Barracuda Queens IN THE NEWS YouTube will no longer remove content that advances false claims […]