According to new research commissioned by Unruly Media, viewers are far more likely to recall a brand name and engage with an ad's message if a branded video has been recommended to them by a peer. The survey, conducted by Decipher Research to measure the effectiveness of social video advertising, found that social video recommendations had a direct impact on traditional brand metrics and ad enjoyment.
The new research found:
- Brand recall and brand association rose 7 percent among viewers who had peers recommend the videos versus viewers who found it by browsing;
- 73 percent of respondents who viewed a peer-recommended video recalled the brand when prompted versus 68 percent of viewers who had browsed to the video directly;
- There was a 14 percent increase in the number of people who enjoyed the video following a recommendation versus those who had discovered it by browsing;
- People who enjoyed a video were 97 percent more likely to purchase the product featured in the video.
The study, which surveyed online video viewers, aged 18-34, across four social video campaigns from top fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands Guinness, Coca-Cola, Unilever's Cornetto and Energizer Batteries from July to November 2011, sought to determine the impact of peer recommendations.
"Social video is a powerful format for engaging consumers. If a brand creates great video content and makes it easy to share, it will see impressive results across the entire purchase funnel," said Unruly COO Sarah Wood in a press release.
The survey, organized in conjunction with the brands' agency partners Carat, Vizeum, Mindshare and MEC, was issued today in a free white paper entitled "Social Ad Effectiveness: An Unruly Whitepaper" and was part of a presentation at the iStrategy conference in San Francisco on Feb. 1, 2012, by Art Zeidman, Unruly's President, Americas.
I dug into the survey methodology, because it knocked some of my assumptions into a cocked hat. Unruly commissioned Decipher, a leading research company, to determine a methodology and execute this study. Data was gathered from four FMCG brands, so perhaps results might differ for more considered purchases.
Viewers could opt in to the survey directly from an annotation within the Unruly video player or from the video's YouTube page. The data gathered from viewers following a recommendation was compared with that of viewers who had arrived at the video by browsing, to determine the effects of recommendations on brand metrics and post viewing behavior. And 976 surveys were completed.
The data clearly shows that viewers enjoy recommended videos more than non-recommended videos: there was a 14 percent increase in the number of people who enjoyed the video following a recommendation versus those who had discovered it by browsing. Moreover, a recommendation reduced the number of people who did not enjoy the video by 41 percent.
Viewer enjoyment of branded video is important because it has a direct impact on key brand metrics. Viewers who enjoyed the video they watched demonstrated 139 percent higher brand association, 97 percent higher purchase intent, 35 percent higher brand favorability, and 14 percent higher brand recall than their counterparts who did not enjoy the video.
In addition, 68 percent of viewers who had browsed to the video correctly recalled the brand when prompted, compared to 73 percent of viewers who had arrived at the video following a recommendation. This 7 percent uplift suggests that video viewers are in a more receptive and attentive frame of mind following a recommendation, allowing brands that produce and distribute social content to benefit from closer communication with their audiences.
Recommendations caused a 7 percent increase in brand association: agreement with key brand statements increased from 41 percent among viewers who had browsed to the video to 44 percent among viewers who seen the video following a recommendation. This result reinforces the above suggestion that recommendations make viewers more receptive to brand messaging.
There was also a drop of more than one fifth in the number of respondents that disagreed with key brand statements. Recommendations have a large role to play for brands in changing off-message perceptions amongst their audiences as well as in actively cultivating on-message perceptions.
Brand favorability and purchase intent remained unchanged with recommendation. This is likely to be because all four of the tested brands were well established, high profile brands with a high favorability index. Seasonality could have skewed purchase intent, as both soft drinks and ice creams are highly consumed during the summer, when the campaigns took place. Also, the products advertised on the test campaigns were FMCGs, where purchase intent is higher than average vs. other sectors and unlikely to show much change. Running the survey against new product launch campaigns would be likely to demonstrate measurable effects for these two metrics.
Viewers of the social videos tested went on to perform a multitude of brand or video related actions, notably 49 percent of viewers purchased the advertised product within three days of the view. And 38 percent of viewers spoke to someone in person about the video, showing a social video view to stimulate real life conversation: what starts online becomes interchangeable with real life in the minds of today's consumers. Interestingly, online sharing and emailing of the link are immediate reactions, highlighting the need for sharing functionality within a video player – users do not come back and share a video later, it is a spontaneous exercise. And 9 percent of users searched for the brand, and 4 percent of users searched for products of that type: so, social video viewing is having an effect across all aspects of the purchase funnel.
This research demonstrates that social video significantly increases brand attention.
The power of social video lies in the recommendation to view content. This recommendation comes not only from peers in social media environments, but also from authoritative blogs and news sources covering advertiser content editorially.
The impact of the recommendation on consumers is considerable:
- Viewers are more likely to enjoy a video when it has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (14 percent higher enjoyment)
- Viewers are more likely to recall a brand name when the social video has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (7 percent higher recall)
- Viewers are more likely to engage with an ad's messages when the social has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (10 percent higher brand association)
Ultimately enjoyment of the video correlated positively with all tested brand metrics in the sales funnel, including brand favorability and final purchase intent.
Hey, you can't make this stuff up.