Daily Archives: October 1st, 2008

How long should Internet radio ads be?

Yesterday’s post talked about the need to create radio ads specifically for Internet radio. Internet radio’s audience is online and different than the broadcast radio audience. Time spent listening is on average twice as long as it is to broadcast radio. Therefore, new rules apply. So what is the best length for an Internet radio commercial?

Shorter ads online

The Internet is a fast paced environment with lots of information and choices just a click away.  Recommended lengths for Internet radio spots are 10 to 30 seconds. I got input from several online broadcasters who not only advocated for those shorter lengths but also emphasized the need for creative that is suitable for the audience. Ari Shohat, owner of Digitally Imported, one of the largest independent online broadcasters, said bad creative can do more than just fail to work, it can negatively impact the listener, and actively drive them away from a product. More important than the length, says Ari, the spot must be suitable for the audio environment and the listener. “Ads have to be made in a way that resonates with the audience – do that and you can get away with longer ads and still make it a successful campaign.”

Mike Roe, Founder of Radioio agrees. When advertisers speak to “this [online] audience it needs to be in a manner beffitting it and in a way that doesn’t insult it, or interrupt it for too long.” Mike also advocates for “NPR style” sponsorships that are integrated into the content. There’s sense to this: the Internet radio listener is well educated, high income, and online savvy, and could be attracted to a more sophisticated advertising approach.

How about creating unique pods for advertisers to sponsor?

This creates a technological challenge for broadcasters who are streaming their on-air product and inserting ads over the stream. There are creative solutions to this, such as creating short valuable non-commercial content that could surround or piggyback 20 or 30 second spots. Something like this could create more value for the advertiser and the listener. Either way, it’s very important for Internet radio sellers to educate advertisers and agencies on the need for distinct creative for Internet radio in order to ensure a positive ad experience for their clients and a renewal on the campaign.

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