How to make 6-second ads work for your business

3 min read

Yup: 6-second ads are a thing. In fact, they’re the next big thing. So here’s how to make 6-second ads work for your business!

Context

6-second ads: image of a newspapers classified section
Image: Shutterstock

Gone are the days when people would browse the classified ads of a newspaper. Now, the ads come to you.

Chances are, ads are constantly reaching you, whether you like it or not. It’s a daily bombardment, and people are getting very selective with what they pay attention to.

That’s why businesses are moving towards 6-second ads.

Modern advertising has advanced so much that ads are firstly, mostly videos, and secondly, as short as 6-seconds. Nobody has time for a 30-second ad or even a 60-second ad read. Why? Well, research has shown that they’re just not helping business monetization.

Instead, 6-second ads like these — which are easily found on websites like Facebook, or YouTube — are able to capture the audience’s attention in a jiffy, thus keeping the customer’s interest.

For business monetization, it seems the smart option is to create 6-second ads.

What if we thought of a 6-second ad as a sandwich?

6-second ads: image of a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich
Image: Sean Piggot, Scopio

The bread

The ad should be simple — say like a ham and cheese sandwich. Or a BLT. Something quick and easy to understand.

So the bread of the ad will be the structure of it, and it’ll have to stay simple. It’s just 6 seconds, that’s not a lot of time to get your message across. So be direct and put your brand right at the forefront.

Your idea has to be sharp, concise, impactful and engaging. Scriptwriting matters! Think — the first few seconds of tasting that first bite.

It only lasts so long, but if it’s good, it’ll be memorable.

What the bread means here is that your visuals will have to be dynamically engaging, and the setting of the ad has to immediately tell a story.

With 6 seconds, you have to pack strong visual elements and good storytelling into something simple and digestible — like bread.

The toppings

Toppings highlight the life of a sandwich, like how a pickle can revolutionize your roast beef sandwich…

In terms of a 6-second ad, the toppings would be the flavour, tone and even the comedic element of the ad. As some excellent Google examples show, you can think of the ad as a joke.

Your ad might have a punchline that you can work with, filling in the gaps with your business’ ideas and selling points.

You can also use catchy sounds and music. With 6 seconds, don’t delay anything!


You really don’t have time to build an ambience with sound. Instead, it has to be immediate and deliberate. A good voice over can do the trick!

With 6-second ads, people are flocking to professional voice overs to help business monetization. The flexibility and relatability of a human voice can do wonders to keep viewers engaged.

The meat

6-second ads: image of a woman's hand holding a ham sandwich
Image: Alyshia Turchyn on Scopio

Whatever the main piece of the sandwich is, whether it’s roast beef, turkey breast, or a chunk of grilled eggplant — it’s the most important part of the sandwich.

We can think of storytelling as the “meat” of our metaphorical sandwich. It’s going to be the most important part of the ad.

Storytelling gets the mind going. It will make people continue to think about what you’ve just presented.

Without storytelling, your ad may become a mixed bag of pleasant audio and distracting visuals. If there’s no story to your ad, it can be as boring as the 30-second ads that people skip.

After all, the ad has to relate to the consumers, if you can stick by this one idea of telling a story, you’ll find that’s how to make your 6-second ad work.

If you’re having a tough time thinking of how to tell a story in 6 seconds, here’s a tip: focus on change.

The heroes slay the dragon, the cat leaps off the high ledge, or Eggo Waffles pulls a fast one on us and changes their slogan. All within 6 seconds, you can nail down a moment of change and leave a lasting impression on your consumers.

The sauce

6-second ads: image of French fries , a sandwich, and sauces
Image: Firdian Adi Prasada on Scopio

We can think of the sauce in our 6-second-ad sandwich as something that ties everything together. Like ketchup. Or dijon mustard. Without them, a sandwich can feel really segmented.

If you’re thinking about how to use “sauce” in an ad, think about the message, the call to action. Many businesses are opting to use professional voice overs to complete their 6-second ads and to help business monetization.

That’s because a voice can do so much to link the viewer with the ad. If you look, most 6-second ads have them! But even if you don’t opt for a voice over, you can still think about the message you’re sending them.

The message can be direct or it can be implied. If you’ve built your sandwich well, the storytelling will take them to the conclusion either way.

That’s it! Structure, tone, storytelling and a message. Your 6-second ad in something as simple as a sandwich.

One Reply to “How to make 6-second ads work for your business”

  1. Love a good sandwich analogy.
    Though as a vegetarian, I’d have to disagree with the meat being the ‘most important’ part.
    But yes a 6 second ad is a great way to distill the message creatively and concisely.

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