Video advertisers dig deeper to understand the value and impact of their video purchases. It is no longer enough to talk about effective reach with the detailed performance metrics available today for digital video campaigns. We can examine view-level data to understand whether viewers are involved and to know what this activity encompasses. What matters is how many viewers you reach if they aren’t actually paying attention?
Google’s Uskippable Labs was conducted by a study and showed that there is a consistent, positive relationship between video viewing length and consumer preference for the brand. It is therefore not surprising that measurement partners are developing solutions that will help advertisers address attention deficit gaps. For example, DoubleVerify offers the Authentic Attention tool, which gives marketers insight into the online environment that surrounds their video ad, and gives preference to placements, sizes, and ads that promote maximum viewer activity.
On social media sites and platforms, the user has the option to skip or scroll past video ads. When they decide to stop scrolling and watch one, they watch out of their own curiosity and with full attention. As marketers, we want to increase viewer curiosity and then keep them.
Paying attention and maintaining it starts with measuring
How can we use the data available to us to measure this stickiness of our videos and find them which provide maximum retention? The best place to start is with an existing video ad that can reveal insights into what works well and guide future testing.
Based on the content in the video and the goals of your campaign, indicate where the key information you want viewers to see is displayed. Recognizing these tags allows you to determine what counts as meaningful video viewing, set a target average viewing time, and set a target viewing rate.
Then consider the length of the video to measure your viewing rate. A shorter video that can be skipped may seem to attract more attention because it will achieve a higher viewing rate, but that doesn’t mean viewers are meaningfully involved in your message. We found that skipped videos within 13 to 15 seconds of video resulted in an average of 17% higher completion rate than 30-second videos. However, 30-second videos had, on average, 5 seconds longer viewing time than their shorter ones, allowing more time for the brand to gain viewer favor.
When measuring your video’s performance, consider your viewing rate and viewing time, as they are related to your campaign goals.
What keeps the viewer attracted?
Below are four components of the most successful video ads that we’ve found can capture a viewer’s attention more effectively and keep him or her longer.
1. Dig up the lead
Take advantage of the first five to ten seconds of video content, especially video that can be skipped or scrolled, by indicating your brand and what you want the viewer to consider or do.
Attention is fleeting, a clear brand and direction from the very beginning will attract the viewer or allow those who are not interested to continue. Visible Measures Research Company quotes a ten-second window as a sweet spot for marketers to attract attention before a potential viewer clicks or moves away.
Unlike linear television inputs, digital video formats do not have a guaranteed time to develop a narrative arc. Digital video should instead be guided by brand and product, and then develop the story. In our own testing, we found that the videos that led with the brand’s product achieved a 25% higher completion rate compared to the videos that led with the brand’s influencer and later highlighted the product.
2. Build a structured and concise narrative
A video that seems like an endless sales offer that is long and varied without a clearly defined goal can lose a viewer before revealing its key point. When you engage the viewer with a clear brand message, organize your narrative into a clear, digestible structure to lay the foundation for the story you will tell.
One of our most successful attention-grabbing videos was the one that presented products for every meal. It circled among options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, achieving the longest viewing time of all 15-second or longer videos. The narration and production were simple, but the structure allowed viewers to anticipate that if they saw food options for breakfast, they would probably see the same for lunch and dinner.
3. Address the viewer directly
Personal connection is key: Google research in the most successful video ads, it showed that brands that used video to evoke an emotional streak in their viewers saw a 40 percent increase in brand awareness. For a video that talks about the benefits of a product or service, directly addressing the viewer instead of abstract speech can be one way to enable a direct personal connection with the viewer.
We found that in videos with a similar story and structure, viewing time increased when the speaker encouraged the viewer to take action. If you tell the viewer to ask your doctor for help, you attract him, create a connection, and hold him for longer.
4. Use the text to your advantage
One of the values of video is its ability to offer the target audience a complex and creative narrative with a mix of visual and auditory content. However, digital video can be used in environments that may not provide audio viewing. Visual components will then need to deliver the entire message, and here text overlays or subtitles can improve retention.
Internal study conducted by Meta to measure the value of subtitled videos showed that views of subtitled video ads increased by an average of 12%. In our own testing, we found that text overlap in the middle of a video resulted in a 35% higher retention rate for the same brand, which played two videos with similar content and style, one with overlay and one without overlay.
A successful video campaign starts with great creativity, but knowing what makes a video that keeps you focused is hard to measure. View-level data from online video campaigns can help us measure performance and isolate components that work well. If we know where to look and how to analyze data, we can discover the insight the creative has to offer and rely on our most compelling videos.
Kira Henson is a search supervisor at GoodApple.
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