5. 2. 2023
Skippable or non-skippable? Pre-roll or mid-roll? Visual attention and effectiveness of in-stream ads. That is the question. The brazilian researchers wanted to know what was the most effective form of in-stream video advertising.

They devised an experiment to test whether an ad’s position (either pre-roll or mid-roll) and whether or not it could be skipped, affected people’s visual attention, brand recall and things like that.

The researchers asked 157 participants to sit in front of a computer (fitted with an eye-tracker) and select film trailers to watch on a YouTube-like website. The participants all saw the same ad, but some of them saw it before the trailer started (pre-roll) and others saw it part-way through (mid-roll). Likewise, some of them had the option to skip the ad and others didn’t.

The results showed that whether or not an ad is skippable had a significant effect on every outcome measured: visual attention, brand recall, brand attitude, ad attitude and how intrusive the participant perceived the ad to be.

The position of the ad (pre-roll or mid-roll) did not significantly affect how much attention a participant paid to it or how likely they were to remember which brand was involved, but pre-roll ads did better on attitude scores and perceptions of intrusiveness.

When the participants were given the option to skip the ad after a five-second countdown, they spent an average of 40.59% of the duration of the ad looking at the skip button. But when the ad was not skippable, they spent only 12.43% of its duration looking at the box telling them that ‘the video will play after the ad’.

The researchers noted that, overall, the in-stream ads were pretty poor at generating brand recall, with only 33 participants (21.02%) correctly identifying what the ad was for when later asked. But the vast majority (30) of those who did remember the brand were shown the unskippable ad, suggesting that spending less time fixating on the skip button improved recall.

Why is this interesting?

The research shows that, contrary to popular belief, longer in-stream ads improve advertising effectiveness because they increase learning and processing of ad information. Moreover, longer in-stream ads appear to be considered less intrusive, since they have more time to communicate emotions.

Furthermore, the research identified that although there is a relationship between brand recall and whether or not an ad is skippable, there is little knowledge concerning in-stream ads and brand recall.

Any weaknesses?

The experiment focused on YouTube and did not account for other websites or acknowledge how other applications display in-stream ads differently, which limits the research findings. Moreover, the research focused on ad position only as pre-roll and mid-roll, which excludes other possible positions.

The whole report is here, but it’s not free.

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