Improving Your Online Video Experience

Now that video advertising has become an established part of the online experience, it’s imperative that advertisers understand exactly what video elements contribute to a user’s feelings towards a brand and whether they inspire or actually discourage action.  To help answer that question Undertone and IPG Lab recently commissioned a major piece of primary research aimed at identifying how different elements in a video campaign affect a users video experience.

The research used a mixture of high-tech eye-tracking and facial coding procedures well as more traditional online surveys to study the effects of engagement mode (click-to-play vs. auto-play), player size, ad location on the page, and website quality.

Key findings from the study show that while auto-play tends to drive higher awareness, click-to-play ads enhance the overall user satisfaction with the video and overall trust in the website.  In fact, click-to-play ads elicit nearly four times more positive emotions from consumers than auto-play ads.  Additionally,  click-to-play ads  were shown to deliver a more engaged and focused audience than delivered through auto-play.

However, while user initiation was a huge factor in pure awareness, most campaigns usually strive to entice a user to interact.  This research found that a quality environment and the halo effect that it delivers has the most significant contribution toward user intent.  In fact, while ads are just as likely to be seen on high vs. low quality sites, low quality sites actually erode positive consumer perception while high quality sites enhance ad relevancy, user engagement and overall video satisfaction.

The same research also showed that larger video players drive higher levels of awareness than smaller players and that larger players can actually mitigate the negative effects associated with auto-play ads.  However, results indicated that the eye goes to the video regardless of where it is placed on the page and ad position did not impact response.

Bottom line, the takeaways to remember from this research are that click-to-play delivers a more engaged audience and results in higher perception of the brand; ad environment matters; and larger players drive higher levels of awareness.  Maybe not mind blowing results, but definitely worth remembering when you start to design your next video campaign.

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