The First 5 Seconds: Creating YouTube Ads That Break Through in a Skippable World
By: Staff | Jun 18 2015
Five, four, three, two, one. What keeps people watching after the first five seconds? What can science tell us about the art of video advertising? We took a peek behind the data curtain to see which creative choices capture audiences' attention.
Online video ad formats like YouTube TrueView ads have created a paradox for marketers. They remove traditional 30-second time constraints, giving brands more time to tell their stories. But introducing a "skip" button after five short seconds also means that advertisers have to create more engaging stories that not only grab their audience's attention, but hold it, too.
Is it time to start creating ads with the "skip" button in mind? Today, all ads are skippable—whether it's a function of the format or not. People have been honing their skipping skills for a while. Think about it: Viewers experimented with fast-forwarding on their VCRs, improved their skills with DVRs, and now are mastering ad choice on the web. Even if there's no option to fast-forward or skip, consumers can always pick up a smartphone, switch tabs, or find other ways to hit a metaphoric skip button.
Is it time to start creating ads with the 'skip' button in mind?
Thousands of ads run on YouTube every day. So, when we look at that data in aggregate, what patterns emerge? What can we learn from existing video ads about creative that works in the first five seconds? To find the answer, we looked into thousands of TrueView ads across 16 countries and 11 verticals, categorizing them according to 170 creative attributes, including brand name mentions and featured celebrities. We used aggregated analytics from AdWords to see how long people watched without hitting the skip button. To measure brand awareness and ad recall, we took advantage of Google's Brand Lift.
There are no "rules" for making ads people choose, but we did find that certain creative choices are associated with how long viewers watch or how well they remember ads on YouTube. Turns out, there is a certain science to the art of engaging video advertising. Here's what we've learned.
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