Want memorable and persuasive video ads? It ain’t that easy.

1.7 seconds.

That’s how long a person spends on the average piece of content on their phone. At the same time, having your brand visible in the first few seconds of a mobile ad makes people remember your brand more. 

Facebook found people’s brand recall was 23% higher if the video ad showed the brand in the first three seconds.

No wonder then there is a growing feeling that marketers should be making video ads that just focus on the first few seconds.

Similarly, YouTube ads that present the brand early have higher recall and brand awareness lift. But here’s the problem. Doing this also made people’s engagement with the ad plummet. People were more likely to skip the rest of the video ad if it was an obviously branded advert.

If the ad was remembered though, that’s what matters right? Well, maybe not.

Longer ads are more persuasive

5-second video ads, research reveals, have little impact on purchase intention. Adverts need to be viewed for 15+ seconds before that happens.

We found similar results for a mobile app client. We placed users into one of four audiences depending on how much of a video ad they watched. Then we targeted each audience with a 2nd ad. The cost per install of the audience with the longest viewing time was 42% lower than the shortest viewing time audience and also had a 59% higher click-through rate.

So, high ad recall comes hand in hand with lower purchase intention? By promoting the brand immediately, you sacrifice the chance to spark a connection with the viewer and they move on. But by going straight into a story you risk them scrolling on by anyway and your spend is completely wasted.

The challenge is to create video ads that do both. But how do you make as many people as possible see your brand and product, whilst also engaging them for long enough so your message can be delivered or an emotion is instilled?

4 ways to make video ads more engaging and persuasive

  1. Be more authentic – We have found videos that feel more authentic to the viewer can dramatically improve ad engagement and deliver impressive performance. By repurposing videos from a client’s influencer marketing activity we were able to increase average video view length by 33% and click-through rate by 25%. From this increased engagement, these influencer video ads had a 34% higher conversion rate and ROI was 28 percentage points higher.
  2. Create a reaction immediately – Ask a question that prompts curiosity or challenges the viewer. By creating emotional buy-in quickly you can grab people’s attention and keep it whilst the rest of the video provides the message you need to deliver.
  3. Use subtitles to engage viewers – You can increase your average watch time by around 12% by captioning your video. But be careful, using captions at the same time your logo is apparent, it can decrease your brand recall.
  4. Integrate the brand naturally – Google found that logos floating in a video harm watch time and ad recall. Instead, try to show your branding on your product, or perhaps within a phone’s screen. Also, think about your other brand assets: colours, characters, slogans and so on.

Make your mobile ad creative do the hard work

Read our one-stop guide: “Level up your mobile ad creative”.


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