Remember when you used to zap past ads on the TV? Well now we’re doing it online, too.

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A story from San Francisco seems to suggest that skipping ads is an ingrained habit which is now affecting online video advertising, too.

As reported by WARC, around two-thirds (65%) of consumers skip video ads and they do so as soon as they get the chance, according to new research, which also revealed that three-quarters (76%) say they skip ads because it is ingrained behaviour.

That is according to IPG Mediabrands’ Magna and Media Lab units, which conducted a media trial involving more than 11,300 consumers recruited from a representative online panel.

The experiment replicated online video experiences, including 23 types of ads, and used webcams to measure the emotional responses and attention spans of participants to skippable pre-roll ads.

While the headline findings may seem “daunting”, as the report described them, advertisers should be encouraged that the research also found that it is still possible to increase awareness even when consumers skip an ad.

For example, consumers still pay attention to pre-roll ads, picking up on the advertising brand and remembering it, and the value of a skipped ad also increases incrementally the longer a person “sticks around”.

Specifically, the report recommended that advertisers consider using six-second, non-skippable ads, as a way to complement their skippable pre-roll campaigns.

This also feeds into the recent trend to run video ads as short as one second, as we have noted previously.

“The results of this media trial proved that there are viable solutions to improve skippable ad campaigns,” said Kara Manatt, Magna’s SVP of Intelligence Solutions Strategy.

“While skipping is an ingrained behaviour, more succinct ads, coupled with human connection and good storytelling, will help brands more deeply engage with its audiences,” she added.

According to the findings, six-second ads are a highly effective way to complement a skippable pre-roll ad campaign, partly because they “offer the ability to impact consumers that would have otherwise skipped”. They can also help to convey originality for a brand, the report added.

MOPAt MOP, we note that many, many research reports are dredging up a world of confusion about what works online and what doesn’t. As we have said before, a really smart approach would be:

Test different ideas, just like we all used to when we send out direct mail letters. Keep doing the ones that work, stop doing the ones that don’t. Don’t “set and forget” your online advertising – metrics, metrics, metrics are your key thing.

Make sure you’re measuring the right metrics – hits on your website might mean something, but what do they mean, exactly? Is your online activity translating into purchase intention or sales, or what?

Don’t give up all your “above the line” advertising and plunge all your money into online without understanding what it will do for you and what it won’t. Online does some jobs really well – it can be argued it does others pretty poorly. In short, savvy advertisers need both.

Understanding the difference between the way online works and the ways it may not is the key to spending your money wisely.

Data sourced from IPG Magna, IPG Media Lab; Warc

Author: Stephen Yolland

Director of Creative Strategy and Partner @ Magnum Opus Partners.

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