I came across some interesting research from DoubleClick that compares the performance of online video advertisements (in-page video ads as opposed to in-stream video ads) with that of traditional, or image banner ads (GIFs & JPEGs).  More and more, I am seeing videos run by themselves in banner positions (mostly 350*250 medium rectangle) on websites - hence….  "video banner ads”.

Which is More Effective?

The question seems to be an easy one to answer; video banner advertisements far outperform that of traditional, or image banner ads. According to the study, videos run as advertisements received CTR (click through ratios) between 4 and 7 times that of image banner ads.  Actual click-thru rates (CTR) for video ads were measured anywhere from .4% to .7% whereas GIF and JPEG ads only averaged about .1% CTR.

What about Interaction?

But CTR, would only be one way to look at this.  When comparing click interactions, it is important to realize that with video banner ads, one can actually measure the length of interaction as well, or the duration of video watched.  And, just as we have seen with in-stream video advertisements, users tend to watch more than 2/3rd of the video on average.   So, not only are users interacting more often with video advertisements, but they are captivated by the advertising message for a measurable duration.

Although the research does not measure additional interactions within the video advertisement, one additional advantage to video ads is that you can potentially track conversions.  With a video (depending on the player used), one could overlay links to the advertiser's website, email contact forms, and other methods for conversion.  Imagine the power of telling an advertiser that not only did their ad receive a .7% CTR, but that X percentage of viewers converted, and X leads were generated.

ALSO ►  YouTube Q2 Report: What Marketers Need to Know - HUGE ↑ Watch-Time, Mobile & Ad Spend

Conclusions and Lessons Learned - New Research Needed

Knowing that consumers watch 66% of video ads on average, advertisers should do their best to create a strong message that occurs early within the video.  This study ran only video advertisements that were 15 and 30 sec. in duration.  It would be interesting to measure the effect of running longer video ads within banner position although currently IAB guidelines say no more than 15sec - We'll talk about that later.

It is important to note that it is important that when running video banner ads, your player should have a prominent "PLAY" button. Each of the video banner ads analyzed in the DoubleClick study had play, pause and stop buttons.  In addition, DoubleClick measured which of the 3 buttons were most often used and found that the video control consumers clicked on most was the "play" button.  In essence, the play button functions as the video banner ad's subliminal "call to action.”

It is also important to note that the majority of the videos in the research study were auto-play and audio was user-initiated.  I wonder if the same results would be realized if the video were also user-initiated. This would lend even more weight to the idea that the "play" button has some special effect on users.

Finally, it would be interesting to see this research updated with a comparison of video banner ads versus flash based animated banner advertisements.  If videos were to outperform flash ads as well, this could also add to the idea that the increase in performance is heavily related to the instance of a "play" control.

If anyone is aware of any additional research with regard to this, please let us know in the comments section below.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=220301400 Brian Robinson

    Addroid.com has taken this idea and run with it. With the platform you can create in-banner video ads in about 30 seconds.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/mark/ Mark Robertson

    Surely Akash - Here is a link to the research http://www.doubleclick.com/insight/pdfs/dc_videobench0702.pdf

  • Webmoose

    from my personal experience as a user,I find am attracted to a flash,video banner than the traditional banner ad.No wonder big businesses employ them with a higher degree with professionalism to defeat any tradtional competitors.The only we dont have as many professionals in the video banner ad design as is the case with traditional design with crams the market

  • Being Smarter

    Having been in and around the video game for the last 10 years or so, I guess I've always been waiting for this moment - when video finally comes of age online. With bandwidth ubiquitous now - it's going to be about the quality and relevance of video creative now, as opposed to just using video for the sake of it.

    Great find on the research - I've linked to this post on my blog.


  • Sankar Nagarajan

    This is a great post.I also agree with some of the comments by Glenn Pingul of Mixpo.

    Our Belief is while a number of Video player related parameters such as this (Play Button prominence,color,Thumbnail etc)does have an impact,In our belief,here are some of the crucial factors that may lead to higher effectiveness and CTRs

    1) Where to deploy the Video Ads?
    a)Will it reach 50 publishers or 100 publisher sites?

    b)Which are the publisher sites?Are they leading /popular ones?Do they attract a lot of traffic?

    - A number of Video Ad services enabling companies are not transparent about this to Advertisers.This itself may have a telling impact on the efficacy of the ads.

    c) How does one consider the importance of the 'content to delivery context" ie. with respect to the target sites that the Ad will reach? (E.g. It makes more sense for a property/Villa site to reach more property and news sites than generic video sharing or tech sites.

    2) Careful consideration of where to position/embed the Video Ads in a website?

    - Perhaps positioning to Player parameters related studies or statistics if any may reveall interesting user interactions and behaviours

    3) Careful consideration of Video content (media strategy and planning) based on deployment demographics understanding.

    4) Creating awareness of all the above things to an Advertiser by Video Ad service companies and Media agencies .

    5) Adoption /Deployment of Best practises and Methodology by Online Service providers (like us) that brings the maximum value to advertisers.

  • Glenn Pingul

    Great post Mark. We've been working with hundreds of clients on deploying and optimizing their video ads over the course of the past year or so. Definitely in banner video drives higher click to views than standard flash banner ads. The performance varies, e.g., bad content and weak messaging can't be saved by video alone, but generally is anyway from 5 to 8 times higher and in some cases greater. A few more points, on length of video, we have not found that one length is optimal. We've seen in banner video ads that are 2 plus minutes long receive 70% average view time. It really comes down to the message. How authentic and informative it is. High production value :15, from what I see, just may not be informative enough and too commercial. On your point about autoplay vs. click to play, similarly, results depend on many factors, not just the informative nature of the video ad but can the viewer get the point of the video ad without clicking, how compelling is the first thumbnail impression and, to your point, the play button. We've tested different color play buttons and found that yellow performs better than red, for example. Lots to consider as we see more and more advertisers move to leveraging video ads. My key point is that we have to dig deeper to understand what makes a particular video ad perform well, beyond play mode and :15 vs. :30 second. And the technology has to exist to enable advertisers to understand what really works...or doesn't.