Looking for the optimal video ad length? Not sure how many times a user should ever be exposed to that particular ad? Well, now we've got the answers thanks to Lotame, an online advertising company.

Lotame decided it was time to get some firm numbers down in regards to optimal ad length and exposure so they, like everyone else these days, did some research. They did the research using ad campaigns for shows that were basically to raise interest in the show and get viewers to watch (tune-in ads if you like). They found that too much exposure to a particular brand or ad will simply turn users off and make them steer clear.

The Frugal Video Advertiser

What's the shortest video you could get away with and still get a positive response according to Lotame? 17 seconds. So much for the traditional 15-second video ad spot being effective as it's just shy of useful. That means if you're looking to do video advertising on a very strict budget that's the goal. Hit 17 seconds and you're likely to get a positive response from the ad. How long is that? About the time it took you to read this paragraph.

The Double Reel

For those with more extensive advertising budgets you can get away with 206 seconds they say. At that point users feel harassed and are likely to react negatively to the ad. I'm guessing that it's not a one-shot but more of a collective number.

"The bottom end was 17 seconds. If you didn't show it to them 17 seconds, you had a flat or negative next to the brand for intent to view," said Lotame chief marketing officer Scott Hoffman, adding that after 206 seconds of exposure, viewers begin to get annoyed or turned off by an Internet video ad.

If you've got a 17-second spot all done that means that you could theoretically show it to a viewer 12 times (204 seconds) and be done. Wow, I guess 13 would be an unlucky number by that way of thinking.

Numbers up the Wazoo!

Yes, research is all about numbers and we are ReelSEO have been talking about a lot of them recently. But who knows if any of them are good or not. The numbers that Lotame is quoting are a result of research they did with Vizu, ad metrics people, between December and March 2008/09. They asked one question of people who had seen particular tune-in ads and who had not seen them, "Which TV shows are you interested in viewing tonight?"

The biggest number of the survey? 76. As in 76 seconds of exposure gives you maximum effectiveness according to this specific way of going about things. After 225 seconds, you might as well be invisible. That's for a specific campaign. The numbers for singular ads are slightly lower.

2.4 seconds of exposure equaled impact while 40 seconds equaled maximum impact but everything after 113 seconds was anti-climactic and cut into the effectiveness. Whew! Anything over that long and even some of us here would certainly lose interest. In fact some films should even have stuck to this rule in the past.

The creme-de-la-creme would be two exposures of 40 seconds each and that would yield maximum effectiveness. Now that's really interesting as many ad spots are 15, 30, 60 seconds. I wonder if Lotame will change their own ad offerings based on this? If I were an advertiser I would certainly start looking into offering 17-second and 40-second spots. Plus they have to make sure they don't over-expose the viewer and so should be sure to limit it to 2 viewings per person.