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Video Advertising Recall 2X Higher Than TV, According to Study

Yume and IPG Media Lab just released a really interesting study regarding how viewers engage with online video ads differently than they do with television ads. To draw their conclusions, they took measurements of facial expressions, eye movement and placement and biometrics to determine the interaction and engagement levels of both TV and online video...and the winner is...

Do Viewers Interact With Online Video Ads Differently From TV?

First thing first: the what, why, and how. They set out to answer three major questions in their research:

Do people pay attention to online video differently than they do when watching TV?

If they are different, should an online video ad impression be valued the same way that TV ads are?

What are the quantitative and qualitative differences between TV watching and online video?

It seems that these guys really got it because their basic assumptions included the fact that a controlled environment adds bias to the behavior. Ad avoidance is normal; an ad on-screen doesn't mean a view. How people watch is as important (or more) than what.

Now this was a very limited study, there were only 48 participants who were chosen based on demographic diversity and their viewing of online and traditional TV.

Video Advertising Recall 2X Higher Than TV, According to Study

They they showed them an hour of video and did facial tracking analysis and some biometric analysis.

That's as technical as I'll get for you. Let's get to the results!

Online Video Ad Recall Vs. TV: The Results!

It seems that short attention spans and instant gratification needs have teamed up in Americans to show that we can't just watch most shows for their entire length. Or maybe the content of the shows just isn't totally engrossing and so we fill the attention gap with other media. Our mobile phones are the biggest distraction in regards to ad avoidance with 60.4% of subjects using it and DVRs play a big part of that as well with 45.8% using that. Having a laptop in the room is also a major distraction for TV viewers.

For online media, the phone still reigns supreme but surprisingly, 27% of the subjects had no distractions while online. One might say that online video content is far more engaging, or it could have been a fluke (remember, only 48 subjects in the test).

Video Advertising Recall 2X Higher Than TV, According to Study

Using a DVR often brought attention levels up, but that was mainly to actively avoid commercials by skipping over them.

Video Advertising Recall 2X Higher Than TV, According to Study

Overall, online ad retention and recall were far higher for online than they were for TV. This is mostly because of the DVR-memory gap effect (my term) where people are actively avoiding ads with the DVR, after all, that's half the reason to use one right?

Catch programs you might miss and skip the ads.

Video Advertising Recall 2X Higher Than TV, According to Study

This graph is really quite strange if you think about it and shows that DVR memory gap effect. For TV the unremembered ads is increased by the DVR and yet, unaided ad recall is about the same level while aided ad recall is lower than both. It almost seems counter-intuitive. Perhaps what's happening is that people are actually seeing the ad images while DVR ad-skipping and because they weren't completely bored, as they didn't have to sit through the whole ad, they remembered a single frame with branding on it which flashed by as they were fast forwarding.

The New TV Ad Format?

That could be something really interesting to investigate more thoroughly. I've noticed a lot of remotes don't have ad-skip buttons so that means if you're actively ad-skipping you're going to push the FF button until you see a frame of the show you're watching and then hit play.

What if advertisers were to know exactly how many frames were generally skipped, how often a frame showed up on screen and how often a viewer stopped short? Those would then be the ideal places to stick big, branded, static images because then those frames would be seen, even somewhat passively, by the viewers and could be far more effective than fancy live-action ads which don't show the brand much of the time.

This might be the new way to start designing ads for TV.

The Big Win for Online Video Ads

For the online video crowd, i.e. us, this is far easier to deal with. Anytime a video is fast-forwarded over an ad or where an ad would be placed, the ad simply plays when the viewer stops scrubbing or presses play. I've seen this on places like Hulu, who actually show you where the ad will be. Since Hulu is giving me the content free, I don't even bother skipping the ads (see how tolerant I am sometimes).

Here are the big results from the survey if you ask me: online ad recall was twice as high as TV ad recall, both aided and unaided. Check out the chart below.

Video Advertising Recall 2X Higher Than TV, According to Study

Perhaps that's the anti-DVR effect. You generally can't get past the ads online whether you're scrubbing or fast forwarding, so it means you'll see them more often. However, I think that the ads also need to still maintain both a short length (15 seconds) or be entertaining and not too frequent.

Because the other thing this research shows is just how easy we, as online video viewers, might simply start multi-tasking far more and mentally blocking out the ads. So warned.

Source: Video Advertising Recall 2X Higher Than TV, According to Study 
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The next time you turn on your television, do me a favor! Watch the commercials and see if you can identify what target audience the advertisements are intended for, and what calls to action are included to entice that audience to buy.

Once you’ve had a chance to complete this little exercise, take a look at the advertising and marketing materials produced by your dealership. Can you identify the target audience and call to action?

If you take a look back over the articles I’ve written over the past year or so, you’ll recognize a consistent theme. I tend to focus my articles on the importance of creating customer segments and ways that you can reach out to them more effectively.

While I won’t get into it too much in this article, I wanted to show you a cool Audi Australia commercial that I found online that features famous Beatboxer Tom Thum. Take a look at the video and let me know in the comments what audience Audi Australia intended this commercial for and what action they hope is accomplished.

What do you think? Comment below!

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The Second Screen

In 2013, there will continue to be a growing number of people who have their smartphones and tablets handy while watching television. People are multitasking more often now than ever before while enjoying their television time. They are Tweeting, posting to Facebook, and visiting websites all from the comfort of their living room.

Many of us have done it before. We’ll be watching the game or our favorite show and talk about what we’re watching through our mobile devices on social media. We will see something that catches our eye and do a search for it to get more information.

Television shows are taking advantage of this, but it’s rare to see advertisers do the same. This is perplexing as there has never been a time when a television ad asking people to “act now” can actually get them to do just that. Those who use television ads can get immediate responses and interactions by crafting it into their television ads.

It’s better than telling people to “call now” or “come on down” because they’re not in that mode. They’re passive. They’re safe. When they’re watching television, they don’t want to get on the phone with a salesperson or stop watching the game to head down to a store. What they will do is visit a website, a social media account, or otherwise contact a store that advertises properly.

Think about it. Many car dealers use television advertising to get their brands out there, to talk about their low prices, and to highlight a sale that’s going on right now. There are people in the market for a vehicle who are currently watching television. They may even be watching your television ad right now. Why don’t you ask them to engage while it’s at the top of their mind.

It could be as simple as setting up a campaign. You can post an event on Facebook and pin it to the top of your page. The event can be to highlight the big sale this weekend. You may be giving away a free gift such as sunglasses to anyone who clicks that they might attend the event.

Then, it’s a matter of putting it in the television ad. Talk about the sale. At the end, say something like this: “Go to our Facebook page and like our sales event. Everyone who does gets a free gift just for attending – no purchase required!”

When they click that they’ll attend, it will show as such to their friends and family. More importantly, you’ll have the ability to engage with them before and after the event. It’s a soft lead, but you have to assume that people who actually show up aren’t there just for the free sunglasses. They are there to test drive a vehicle. The rest is up to you.

It doesn’t have to be so blatant. It could be as simple as “Send us a Tweet or post a comment on Facebook about what you think the score will be this weekend. The closest guess gets a free oil change!”

You could always go for the direct approach. “Go to our website right now. We’ve posted our no-nonsense best price on all of our new and certified pre-owned Altimas, so if you’re in the market today, grab your tablet or smartphone and head to”

This is where creativity comes in. People have their smartphones close by and their tablets within reach when they’re watching your television ads. Take advantage of it. Adapting to the second screen will help your television advertising and mobile marketing work together to bring better results to both.

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