Video-Ad Engagement Matters — But the ‘Skip’ Button Doesn’t Count

/ Dec 12, 2014


By Hillel Scheinfeld

It’s no secret that online video is exploding. According to a report from the Content Marketing Institute, online interactive video ads are used by nearly 75% of B2B marketers, and more than 60% find them effective, ranking interactive video ads as the second most effective marketing tactic. Furthermore, according to eMarketer, digital video-ad spend reached more than $4 billion in 2013 with projections to reach at least $12 billion by 2018. It’s quite clear that now is the time for brands to get smarter about video.

Video is a great tool to engage with consumers, but take a closer look at how your videos are performing. How are consumers really engaging with your videos? If your video only plays long enough for consumers to hit the skip button, then it’s time to rethink your video content and your metrics.

Consumers want to watch videos without being disrupted by ads that drive their attention elsewhere. This is a problem for many brand marketers who are trying to capitalize in the uptick of video consumption. Is the natural shift in ad dollars to video undermined by changing consumer behaviors and expectations? Consumers want to dive right into video content, while brands want video-ad engagement.

To solve this problem, it’s not just about creating great video content, but creating video content that seeks an action from consumers, content that drives measurable engagement, and serving it to them in a place where they are most likely to pay attention to it.

Here are a few lessons that you can follow to increase video ad engagement (almost all of the time):

Determine Your CTA  

You will always have viewers who skip your ad. Why? They’re simply not visiting a site to view your ad, and in that case, those viewers are generally not the best targets to engage with your content in the first place. Instead, think about how you can retain viewers who are willing to watch and engage, by including a CTA early on. For example, include a resident CTA for viewers who do stick around and try to convert them even if they don’t make it to the end of the ad. By placing a CTA within the first 15 seconds of your video – at the top of the funnel – you’ll find that viewers are more likely to engage with it.

If you’ve found that many viewers are skipping ads in pre-roll, you may want to think about other distribution networks where viewers are more inclined to watch videos.

The Right Distribution Channels

Another important factor to consider is distribution. Who is your audience and where do they spend most of their time? Knowing this is how you can figure out which channel to distribute your video ads. Social platforms are often an obvious fit for video ads because of the great targeting and demographic tools they offer. Additionally, consumers have become accustomed to engaging with brands on social platforms.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are working feverishly to serve as a platform for monetization, and these channels are ideal for video ads. Viewers can easily watch without a disrupted experience and engagement levels tend to be higher.

Measure. Measure. Measure.

What metrics should you be using to gauge success? If all you’re after is a high number of video views, you’re thinking about it wrong.

In 2015, the ad industry will shift from video views as the metric of success to ROE (Return on Engagement). Placing a CTA such as email sign-up or giving a discount code within the ad allows you to track real levels of engagement, from email signups to social shares. For example, once a viewer takes action, whether by liking your Facebook page or following you on Twitter, you can continue to get your content in front of them by sending promotions, company updates or news, and more.

A mistake many companies make when running an ad campaign is adopting a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality, where they run a campaign and wait until it wraps up to look at performance and metrics. The beauty of interactive video ads is the ability to see what’s working in real-time and adjust the ad accordingly, like changing the length of the ad or the time the CTA appears.

By adding interactive elements into a video player, you can now measure the entire experience very much the same way you can measure the effectiveness of a landing page or website. Start tracking which CTAs viewers want to engage with, when those engagements happen, and how they might differ between desktop and mobile. An analysis like this will help design a better player, engagement, and viewing experience for consumers as you continue to share your video content.

Overall, advertisers and marketers are constantly vying for new, creative ways to earn consumers’ attention. By executing the right way with interactive video ads, brands are likely to bring value to their viewers as well as see measurable ROE.  Embrace the new age of video ad engagement.

HillelScheinfeld_headshotHillel Scheinfeld is the co-founder and COO of Viewbix, a leading video engagement platform for brands and marketers. Before founding Viewbix, Hillel served as EVP of strategic development at IDT’s Israel office for 10 years. Prior to IDT, he was SVP of Telecom, where he oversaw business operations for the company.

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