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Is there a right time to deliver your video ad?

Is there a right time to deliver your video ad? Paul Lyonette

Think about the last time you watched a video online. It is likely to be a recent memory as online video has become a routine part of our lives, with almost three quarters (72%) of Britons and a quarter (25%) of the global population watching internet video clips every day.

Given the enduring popularity of online video, the value of video advertising is clear for brands keen to reach highly engaged audiences. The channel experienced 56% year-on-year growth in the first half of 2015. However, the video advertising landscape is complex, with consumer viewing behaviour becoming increasingly fragmented across device and location.

Reach and frequency – the standard metrics of display advertising – are insufficient to accurately measure the impact of video campaigns. Instead marketers need to look at video specific metrics such as receptivity and attention to ensure their video ads are being served in an optimal context. Marketers therefore need to address several contextual factors to work out the right time to run their ad.   

Recent research by IPG Media Lab and YuMe explored the impact context has on video ad performance, and identified certain situations that produced positive results.

Users that watched a video ad on a smartphone while commuting displayed particularly high levels of overall favourability, purchase intent, and recommendation intent. Other contexts, such as viewing comedy with friends on a tablet, or watching drama at home using a laptop, also produced increased levels of receptivity.

Contextual influencers such as content genre, location, need-state, and device should not be assessed in isolation, but should be combined to ascertain the most favourable context for serving a particular video ad.

Here are four questions marketers should be asking themselves about the context of the consumer’s viewing experience when considering the best time to serve their video ad:

What are viewers watching?
The type of video content that an ad is served alongside can make a significant difference to audience attention, and certain content genres are more engaging than others. While viewers are likely to be less receptive to advertising while they are watching comedy or drama, for example, they will be more receptive when watching practical content relating to news, technology, business, or politics.

Why are viewers watching video?
The need state of a video’s audience can also have a big impact on how receptive an audience is to advertising, as well as the level of their attentiveness. Videos that require lean-forward viewing – where the audience is actively seeking information – are likely to generate high levels of receptivity to advertising. Additionally, video content that promotes lean-back viewing – where the audience is simply consuming content – will result in higher levels of attention.

Where are viewers watching videos?
Location is a key factor in the success of video advertising, and is the most prominent indicator of receptivity. With online videos increasingly being viewed on smartphones and tablets, viewers are no longer confined to the home, meaning marketers need to understand the impact of location on attention and receptivity. Perhaps surprisingly, viewers are both more attentive and more receptive when they are on the move, with ads viewed at work or in public places having more impact than those viewed at home.

How are viewers watching?
Online videos can be viewed on a wide variety of screens – from connected TVs to smartphones – and the type of device can have a significant impact on the performance of video ads and specifically audience attention levels. Viewers are far more attentive when viewing an ad on a smartphone compared to any other device, and show a higher level of message recall. They are also likely to be more receptive when viewing an ad on a mobile device than on a CTV or desktop computer.

Marketers need to take advantage of these insights to connect with their audience at the most profitable moment. Advanced audience targeting techniques mean that marketers should already know who their audiences are. By adding in the what, why, where, and how, they can get a better idea of the when, to determine the best time to deliver engaging video ads when audiences are both attentive and receptive.


Paul is the UK Country Manager for YuMe and is responsible for driving revenue and growth across the UK.  Previous to joining YuMe he worked at Microsoft Advertising as Head of Mobile in the UK, and later ran the Emerging Platforms Team...

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