Socially Recommended Online Video Ads Increase Performance

According to the Social Ad Effectiveness study by Unruly, the results of a survey to determine the impact of recommendation on brand metrics among 18-34 year olds found that social recommendations dramatically increased ad performance.

In particular the study found that:

  • Video enjoyment increased purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%
  • Enjoyment of the video rose by 14% among viewers who had viewed following a recommendation
  • Brand recall and brand association rose 7% among viewers who had been recommended the video versus viewers who found it by browsing

The explosion of social networking has opened up a massive opportunity for advertisers to open a dialogue with their audiences, says the report, particularly via video campaigns that make brand ambassadors of opinion leaders in social spaces. Social video advertising has grown rapidly, more than doubling in size every year since 2009, and direct engagement metrics are strong. Unruly has delivered over 1.34 billion social video views, with an average 1.95% of viewers clicking through for more information, and 0.94% sharing the video.

However, there is little granularity around the extent to which social advertising impacts traditional brand metrics. This study sets out to understand the effect of recommendations in online video advertising, determining to what extent social recommendations affect brand metrics such as recall, favorability, message association and purchase intent. It finds that recommendations impact video enjoyment, and so also considers the effect of video enjoyment on the key brand metrics.

Key findings described in the report are:

There was a 14% increase in the number of people who enjoyed the video following a recommendation versus those who had discovered it by browsing. Moreover, a recommendation reduced the number of people who did not enjoy the video by 41%.

Video Enjoyment (% of Respondents Per Discovery Group)

Video Discovery

Did Not Enjoy

Enjoyed Video







Source: Unruly, Social Ad Effeciveness, February 2012

Viewer enjoyment of branded video is important because it has a direct impact on key brand metrics. Viewers who enjoyed the video they watched demonstrated 139% higher brand association, 97% higher purchase intent, higher brand favorability, and higher brand recall than their counterparts who did not enjoy the video.

Uplift For Viewers That “Enjoyed” Video vs. Those Who Did Not

Brand Metric

% Uplift

Brand recall


Brand favorability


Purchase intent


Brand association


Source: Unruly, Social Ad Effeciveness, February 2012

68% of viewers who had browsed to the video correctly recalled the brand when prompted, compared to 73% of viewers who had arrived at the video following a recommendation. This 7% uplift suggests that video viewers are in a more receptive and attentive frame of mind following a recommendation, allowing brands that produce and distribute social content to benefit from closer communication with their audiences.

Brand Recall (By Discovery Mechanic)


% Recalling Accurately





Source: Unruly, Social Ad Effeciveness, February 2012

Recommendations caused a 7% increase in brand association. Agreement with key brand statements increased from 41% among viewers who had browsed to the video to 44% among viewers who seen the video following a recommendation.

This result reinforces the above suggestion that recommendations make viewers more receptive to brand messaging. There was also a drop of more than one fifth in the number of respondents that disagreed with key brand statements. Recommendations have a large role to play for brands, says the report, in changing off-message perceptions among their audiences as well as in actively cultivating on-message perceptions.

Brand Association (% of Respondents per Discovery Mechanic)




Disagree or Strongly Disagree with key brand statements



Agree or Strongly Agree with key brand statements



Source: Unruly, Social Ad Effeciveness, February 2012

Viewers of the social videos tested went on to perform a multitude of brand or video related actions. Notably, 49% of viewers purchased the advertised product within three days of the view. 38% of viewers spoke to someone in person about the video, showing a social video view to stimulate real life conversation. 9% of users searched for the brand, and 4% of users searched for products of that type. Social video viewing is having an effect across all aspects of the purchase funnel, concludes the report.

User Behavior Within Three Days (% of Viewers)



Within Three Days

Purchased advertised product



Talked to someone about video



Commented on video



Visited product homepage



Posted link on social site



Searched for product on search engine



Followed brand on social site



Sent video to someone



Searched other similar



Source: Unruly, Social Ad Effeciveness, February 2012

The report concludes by noting that the power of social video lies in the recommendation to view content. This recommendation comes from peers in social media environments, and from authoritative blogs and news sources covering advertiser content editorially. The impact of the recommendation on consumers is considerable:

  • Viewers are more likely to enjoy a video when it has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (14% higher enjoyment)
  • Viewers are more likely to recall a brand name when the social video has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (7% higher recall)
  • Viewers are more likely to engage with an ad’s messages when the social has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (10% higher brand association)

Please visit UnrulyMedia here and chose Social Ad Effectiveness for the PDF file of the study.



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