Advertising Effectiveness - Sky and IAB

by Hamish McPharlin (Dr.) - Oct 2010


Decipher, IAB and Sky prove branding effectiveness of online video in UK’s MOST IN-DEPTH ‘live’ video industry study to date

New research shows that consumers want to investigate brands in their own time, and are happy to receive ads around quality video content


The results of a year-long study from the Internet Advertising Bureau – the trade body for digital advertising - and Sky reveal the true branding effectiveness of online video, showing how consumers prefer to ‘store’ advertising information, rather than clicking-through immediately.  The study, run by media research company Decipher, found that whilst 6% of people who recalled a video ad clicked to make an immediate purchase, around 54% of people chose to delay a purchase or investigate the brand in their own time.


The research, which featured 11 brands, 24 campaigns, 5 ad formats, and 12 months of testing is the most in-depth ‘live’ study dedicated to online video advertising effectiveness to date. It was designed to investigate the real impact of various formats across 6 websites with different types of content, including news, entertainment and sport.




The key to this study was scale; we needed to be able to measure multiple ad formats and multiple campaigns, across multiple websites. We accomplished this using Decipher's OCAT tool. See below for how OCAT was able run one survey that tracked all activity over the 12 months of fieldwork, and was able to change its spots to suit the look and feel of each site. 



[The OCAT process]





[Survey invites were animated, contextual to the site, and were served inside the ad serving system]




Pre-roll video ads deliver highest recall levels


The research examined the recall levels of different online video ad executions, to identify which are most effective within branding campaigns. Pre-roll video used alongside companion banners were found to deliver the highest recall at 47%, capitalising on the anticipation and increased attention levels of the audience. This is compared to 44% who recalled the ad when only pre-roll was used, 43% with a branded video player, 37% for post-roll video ads and 36% recall with in-stream overlays.


Recall was also found to be influenced by mindset, showing the influence of recommendations from friends or family carries an increased amount of trust and higher expectation in the content. Some 53% of respondents recalled the ad when directed there from a specific link, whilst 39% who recalled the ad were ‘just browsing’ the online content. In addition, 48% were able to recall the ad if they were actively seeking out specific content.




Dwell-time increases call to action


However, for direct response campaigns, formats that provide dwell time, such as branded video players were found most likely to deliver, with a 1.23% click-through rate average across all campaigns. Second were pre-roll video ads combined with companion banners with a 0.89% click-through rate, followed by post-roll at 0.83%, and pre-roll on its own at 0.77%. Overlays were found to be the least effective online video ad format with a click-through rate of just 0.16% with respondents feeling less positive towards formats that appear to get in the way of the task at hand.




Branding has different effects at different times of the day


In a first for the online advertising industry, the study found evidence of a 'context' effect on advertising receptivity. Those who saw an ad whilst at their desk at work were more likely to remember the ad than those were were relaxing at home. The data indicated that the mindset of the working context puts viewers in a far more focused state of mind; ideal for message cut-through. in contrast, those at home relaxing were in a distracting environment, and were less receptive to the message.




However this opposite was the case for likelihood to click the ad. Those at work were less likely to click as they were in a task-based environment, whereas viewers at home had more freedom to click and explore. The data found that click-through on video ads online increase as the day progresses, with the average rate growing from 0.8% at 9am to between 1.1% and 1.2% from the evening hours of 7pm to 10pm.




Advertising seen as ‘appropriate’ around quality content


The research highlights the significance of quality in and around online video advertising, and that associating your brand with the right content pays off – users were 10% more likely to recall the ad, if they enjoyed the content.


The study also found that viewers understand the trade-off between free content and advertising – but find ads more appropriate when the content is of a better quality. When asked how appropriate the various ad formats were, of those who recalled the ads, 47% stated they were around entertainment clips, 46% around TV programmes, but only 17% said the same about advertising around content posted by others.


Decipher’s Director of Research, Hamish McPharlin, said: “This study has really demonstrated to us that online viewing behaviour is every bit as deep and granular as TV viewing. The context in which viewers encounter your ad is equally significant, whether by day part, viewing environment, or site context, and the impact goes far beyond the click-through. It’s a fantastic call-to-arms for careful and intelligent branding online”.


Sorcha Proctor, senior insights manager at the Internet Advertising Bureau said: “The last few years have seen an unprecedented amount of excitement throughout the industry of the rise of online video advertising and what it can do for brands. Our job, in partnership with Sky, was to equip advertisers and agencies with the knowledge and insights to understand which formats are right for them, depending on the direct response or branding nature of their campaigns.


This research project is one of the industry's biggest to date, and provides an invaluable, holistic view of the role of online video advertising, showing how consumers understand the trade-off between ads and good quality content.”




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