Nielsen Study Finds Video Ads Effective Even When Not Viewed

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Most marketers are aware that videos are effective for internet marketing. Campaigns that include video content perform better than campaigns without, in almost every possible metric. However, this doesn’t really say how valuable a tool videos are by themselves or how much of a video a consumer needs to watch in order to get an effect. Facebook and Nielsen teamed up to study these issues and the results are surprising. A recent study by Nielsen shows that video ads can be effective even when they aren’t watched.

The study is based on data from several platforms, most notably Facebook. Nielsen analyzed data from 173 of their BrandEffect studies that included digital video ads on Facebook. Another thing that sets this research apart is the focus. The study focused more on how video ads affect brand perception instead of sales, click-through rates and conversions (you can read about those metrics in another article). Each study used a test-and-control design to measure the video’s impact on ad recall, brand awareness, and purchase consideration.

The study measured how long people watched the video, ranging from 0 seconds (where the ad is ostensibly a display ad the person scrolls past) to watching the full video. Results show that from the moment a video ad was viewed (even before one second), lift happened across three metrics they measured. That means even people who never watched the video, but did see the impression, were still impacted by the ad. As one would expect, the lift increased the longer the ad was watched.

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The effect of just watching a little bit of a video can’t be overlooked. According to the study the people who watched under three seconds of the video ad created up to 47 percent of the total campaign value. The people who watched for fewer than 10 seconds created up to 74 percent, depending on the metric.

One takeaway from this data is that people don’t have to watch a video to be affected by the content. Even video views under 10 seconds effectively build awareness and drive purchase intent.

“As people consume digital content differently, it’s clear that video view counts alone don’t tell advertisers enough about the value driven from digital video ads,” wrote Facebook in a blog post on the research. “Marketers should experiment with shorter ad creative to drive value for their brand, keeping in mind that value increases the longer people watch. And, as always, advertisers should continue optimizing ads for campaign goals, but going forward, they also need to look deeper than view counts to measure total campaign value.”

This research is another feather in the cap of marketers who use video to build their brand. Even if people are just scrolling past the video, they are still affected by the content and it aids in overall brand awareness.

For more data on the value of videos, read this article with 9 stats on online video marketing.


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