In order to resonate with consumers, brands need to embrace the formats that consumers like most, McGoldrick advised. “The challenge here for advertisers is how to choose the places where audiences don’t see it as an interruption.”
And because that means using skippable formats, they also need to make their message clear and compelling enough in the first few seconds, before it can be skipped, to capture user attention.
“What has been the turning point for brands is seeing data, like the digital video drop-off rates [with about 70% of viewers leaving at 10 seconds],” McGoldrick said. Instead of holding users captive with unskippable formats, advertisers need to do a better job engaging users in digital formats.
Many brands believe carrying the “right message” helps, but the study also spelled out another big no for brands: retargeting.
Ads using targeting based on online shopping history, search history, browser history or a social media profile had over 40% negativity in consumer reaction.
But targeting a user’s passions, hobbies and pastimes scored 43% positivity and just 21% negativity. Targeting based on favorite brands or the surrounding context of a show or website also scored high in favorability.
“These can be more challenging types of targeting to implement, but the potential payoff is so much bigger," McGoldrick said. That type of targeting works because it connects with audiences’ “aspirational self" vs. the reality of what they’ve actually viewed recently.
The study advises those running digital video to embrace the formats that users like most. Then, advertisers must connect with consumers not by showing them an item they just browsed but connecting with their broader interests. It’s a tough challenge, but one that McGoldrick sees brands, agencies, platforms and publishers rising to.
“The format or channel has matured enough that there’s lots of different ways forward in building audience receptivity,” McGoldrick said. “There’s more exposure to the reality of digital video consumption: that it has to be thought out in the way TV advertising needs to be thought out.”