Late last year, Marketing Sherpa, released an in-depth report geared on the fast-growing landscape of video marketing titled, "Marketing With Video Report: Online, TV & Mobile.” In their research for the report, they asked a sample of marketers using video advertising, either online or on TV, what effect various tactics would have on their video ads.  The answer was a resounding, "We Want More Interactivity in Video Ads."

73% of video marketers agree that adding interactivity to a video ad will increase the effectiveness of the ad.  And thank God for that answer.  I do wonder about the other 27% who disagree.  I mean, how the heck would you get the idea that incorporating greater interactivity might not increase conversions/effectiveness/etc...?  Not to say that the question shouldn't have been asked.  Clearly it is important for companies in the video advertising space to understand what is most important to the marketers that are leveraging video advertising.

Interactive Video Ads Increase Effectiveness? video advertising interactivity 540x405

What about the other questions and responses from this survey?

- 67% agree that "Making lots of versions for various consumer targets" can increase effectiveness.  One benefit to relatively inexpensive online video production costs is that companies can create multiple versions of video ads, with little cost.  If you can create different versions of your ad that are geared towards different target audiences, you can realize an increase in ad effecitveness.  This is not a new concept as this is done all the time with behavioral and geotargetted online display advertising.

- 53% agree that "Having an 800 number or website address on screen through the whole ad" can increase effectiveness.  Having a call-tracking number or website URL in your video can be beneficial for tracking purposes and sometimes, for ad effectiveness.  However, not sure if it is a good idea to have throughout the entire ad.  With interactive features and functionality, you can allow users to more deeply interactive with your content.  My suggestion is to have your website URL or call tracking number visible, but not throughout the entire video.

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- 61% agree that "Creating sequential ads that are designed to work in unison" and 34% agree that "Showing an ad many times in a short period of time" can increase effectiveness.  As frequency of exposure increases, effectiveness increases as well - up to a point.  Effectiveness will eventually plateau and then decline with too much exposure.  Frequency capping and media planning are important when using this technique.

- 6% agree that "Making the volume much louder than the program the ad is in" can increase effectiveness - WTF?  Ok, thankfully only 6%.  PEOPLE (me yelling) - online video is a lean-forward experience.  What I mean is that it is different than watching TV (lean-back) where folks are not actively watching commercials and ads (except perhaps the superbowl).  So, there is little reason to shout at them like you might see in a local car dealer's commercial on TV.  This may get a users attention, but just like pop-up ads, loud video ads are not only annoying, but they can hurt the brand and have a negative effect on purchase intent - IE, less effective

  • Tim Tevlin

    Hi Mark, when was this piece written may I ask? I want to cite you in a presentation I am doing shortly. thx Tim

  • Justin Foster

    Mark, great article as usual. I'd like to dig a little deeper on interactivity, as the largest chunk of respondents answered 5 out of 7 when stating they agreed interactivity would increase effectiveness. I wonder why they chose to rate that way and not higher? Simply defining 'interactive' video in the vague way this survey has done, I don't think - is really that helpful to marketers. After all, interactivity can mean so many things. For example, does it mean the video changes when clicking on it? Polls, links, browsing, filling out forms, highlighting, clicking hotspots etc? These are all forms of interaction but I doubt they all impact effectiveness the same way and for all videos. I also have to paint myself as a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the whole 'lean in' concept. Although many thought leaders in the space believe online video is lean-in, I guess I just don't buy into it as much as lots of folks do. People have been trained their entire lives to passively consume video content. While people are used to interaction on the web, I find that most folks still need some kind of a prompt to realize that interaction within video content is possible - this could be super overt, as in the YouTube click-to-buy ads, by throwing up calls to action within hotspots, by dynamically highlighting interactive portions of a video while greying out the rest, or by showcasing buttons or other elements in-video that do in fact shout that interactivity is possible. I suspect in 2-3 years' time this kind of prompting won't be as necessary, but for now I do think it's pretty much the only way marketers can prompt interaction effectively with video when serving it up to a general audience (e.g. not other marketers or specific demos or closed groups that have already shown a predisposition to interact with video) - other than actually telling a user - through audio - that interaction is possible.

    Last, I found it interesting that this was a survey given to marketers, not consumers. What would be really interesting would be to see the results of a similar survey given to the folks that actually encounter video ads from the end user point of view.

    Justin Foster
    Founder, Video Commerce Consortium
    Co-Founder, Liveclicker