Maybe Online Ad Viewers Actually Pay More Attention? An Auto Marketing Site Wonders.
I ran across a blog post recently that asked some interesting questions about how and why we watch video advertising online.
What drew me to the post, really, was that it was on the Automotive Digital Marketing.com Website, so it had a certain provocative spin. (I am easily provoked.) Automotive advertising is the mother’s milk of television advertising, and newspapers’ too, and increasingly, of course, it's major on the Internet. If you have shopped for a car in the last decade, no doubt you have been online shopping far more than you’ve been walking around your town’s Auto Mile kicking tires. In fact, the sales people at dealerships kind of figure that by the time you’ve walked in, you’re at the buy end of the funnel. You’re not a shopper.
On its Website, Automotive Digital Marketing notes a study by YuMe and IPG Media Lab studying how viewers interact with online video ads in ways they don’t with TV ads. It wasn’t a particularly new study (it’s from 2011) or a big study—just 48 people, actually, chosen for diversity and their viewing habits —but the questions are cool and interesting enough that the ADM Website reprinted the entire article, cribbing from a story first reported by ReelSEO.com.
The Website said YuMe and IPG took measurements of facial expressions, eye movement and placement and biometrics to determine the interaction and engagement levels of both TV and online video.
In short, the results are pretty impresssive.
In this slice-o-life snapshot, 27% of the online viewers were watching undistracted by anything else, including work and magazines and chat, and of course TV and email. That’s huge, especially by comparison. Only 6% of TV viewers watched without distraction.
I remember a TV executive (I think it was Garry Marshall) once telling me he feared that while it might appear a person is watching TV, she might really be staring at the family room window wondering whether it’s type to get the curtains cleaned. The small screen, with small stories, might, indeed, be better at keeping our attention.
“It seems that short attention spans and instant gratification needs have teamed up in Americans to show that we can't just watch most shows for their entire length,” the ReelSEO.com story said about the study’s findings.
“Or maybe the content of the shows just isn't totally engrossing and so we fill the attention gap with other media. Our mobile phones are the biggest distraction in regards to ad avoidance with 60.4% of subjects using it and DVRs play a big part of that as well with 45.8% using that. Having a laptop in the room is also a major distraction for TV viewers.”
The Website says the major takeaway was ad recall. It was overwhelmingly in favor of online video—recalled twice as much as a TV ad. Only 28% of the TV viewers remembered a car ad, even when aided. With the same aid, half the online ad viewers did. For unaided recall, 25% remembered the TV ad; 38% remembered the online ad.
Again it would seem there are enough caveats in this study to make it not much better than just interesting but it presents an intriguing theory. While online advertising may be super-annoying because it’s right in your face, it’s also advertising presented right where your face has chosen to be.