Advertisement Freedom

Twitters new 6 second video concept, named “Vines,” may be a boom for advertisers and users, but who’s likely to come out the true winners? Six seconds really isn’t much, but it sure can convey a message. Much like twitters 160 character limit, which initially got similar criticism as Vine, I am sure people will find ways to optimize 6 seconds. Aside from the 6 seconds of porn littering the service, I am sure there are more creative uses. I want to break down what may make this 6 second envelope work and for whom.

6 seconds is better than an image. We evolved as visual animals with automatic motion detector algorithms. Whereas an image or a logo utilizes pattern recognition, it still requires effort to gain that attention (some research and advertisers believe that you need to expose someone to a brand at least 7 times before the target gains conscious recognition of the brand’s existence). Imagine having an animated 6 second logo engineered to capture your attention just long enough for you to internalize the brand quicker. Might be very effective in a world where time and attention is becoming a rarer commodity for some target audiences.

I feel that 6 seconds falls within our working memory’s ability to absorb and analyze data in chunks. We’re capable of remembering from 3-7 items effectively, 5 being the average. Interestingly, “items” may be very particular such as a 7 digit phone number, or very broad such as 7 names of books (clearly each book name contains more raw info than 7 digits, but keep in mind that our brains are able to still remember 7 items, not 7 specific types of data). Within this context, 6 seconds may work.

Aside from corporate interests, people will likely benefit. To be honest, I rarely expose myself to advertising. I’ve constructed my life around adblock, no script, Ghostery, do not track, etc. type addons when surfing the net, commercial free entertainment, advertising free books, and streaming tv, so my assumptions may be incorrect. The only ads I see are from the Super Bowl (and they were disappointingly transparent and unmemorable this year). However, I have observed a few sites which very effectively force you to watch ads otherwise you cannot continue onto the main content. Hulu being one major innovator in this domain. Some less sophisticated sites just force you to stare at a blank screen for a few minutes because they believe an ad is running while in fact an ad block service is blocking the content. Knowing that advertising will become more effective at forcing content in our lives, if I have to see an ad, I’d prefer to watch a few 6 second ads than a couple of 30+ second ads, which I have learned to tune out, even at the risk of missing a few seconds to a minute of the show.

Not that I look forward to the day when I get highly personalized ads and tailored political messages 24/7, but hopefully with the move toward 6 second ads, they will improve in quality. Hopefully, they don’t degrade into a quantity over quality zeitgeist.



~ by fp on February 9, 2013.

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