Online Video Ads Leave GIFs and JPGs Standing Still, Says DoubleClick

When it comes to grabbing the attention of Web surfers, advertising distributed via online video handily outpaces static image ads, according to a new DoubleClick report.

The company studied more than 300 online video ad campaigns placed by more than 130 advertisers between June and September of last year. The bottom line: video is significantly more powerful than most other display formats.

DoubleClick said the objective of the study was to identify major performance metrics trends in Web video campaigns based on the various features of those campaigns including industry sector, ad format, ad size and ad length. It predicted companies that invest in online video advertising are likely to see significant results.

In essence, there’s just something special about that “play” button. The report found users click the “Play” button at considerably higher rates than they click image ads, and typically play those ads for two-thirds of their full lengths.

All the ads analyzed for the study included buttons to play, pause and stop the video, and DoubleClick measured the users’ interactions with each of those functions. “The video control consumers are most likely to click is the “Play” button,” it reported.

People are about twice as likely to play a video, or replay one that started automatically, than they are to click through standard JPG or GIF image ads.

Online marketers should note the importance of getting their message across early on when creating videos. DoubleClick said most viewers stuck with the clips for two-thirds of their duration, meaning they typically watched about 19 seconds of each :30 video or 10 seconds of each :15 spot.

DoubleClick said most of the video ad units it studied were embedded in Web pages as opposed to being placed within streaming video content that required the launching of external players. It also said size didn’t seem to matter, noting “there is little difference in the length of play between ads that expand to a larger display window and standard video ads that do not expand.”

Video far outdistances plain image ads when it comes to the coveted click-through rate, said DoubleClick. It said the click-through rates for the videos ranged from 0.4 percent to 0.74 percent, while the click-through rates for plain GIF or JPG ads range from 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent.

The challenge facing advertisers is to match their video efforts to the content, said Rick Bruner, research director at DoubleClick, in an interview with ClickZ.

“It’s a mistake for advertisers to assume that all they should do is take their television ads and move them to the Internet,” he said. “I expect that the most effective video ads are the ones that compel the user to engage with them and initiate the advertising. Our clients are now mixed about whether their ads should play with or without user initiation… I think the best practice is to create the type of advertisements that users are going to request to see and initiate.”

DoubleClick said the findings were based on aggregated and cleansed data gleaned from 2.7 billion video ad impressions. Most of the videos in the study were auto-play types that only included sound if the viewers clicked to activate the audio.

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