IPG Finds Skipping 'Skippable Ads' Has Become Ingrained Behavior, Offers Solutions

Skipping past skippable video ads has become an “ingrained behavior” for most consumers, according to results of a media trial released this morning by IPG Mediabrands’ Magna and Media Lab units.

Seventy-six percent of consumers said they skip the ads because it is an ingrained habit, the study found.

“This is further exacerbated by the fact that not only do the majority skip ads, but they do so right away,” the IPG units note in the report, adding that a primary reason why consumers complete skippable ads has to do with whether they are relevant to them and whether they are currently “in-market” for the product or service being advertised.

“In-market audiences are more swayed by pre-existing brand affinities,” they explained, adding that “everyone else tends to just ‘wait it out.’”

On the plus side, Magna Senior Vice President-Intelligence Solutions Strategy Kara Manatt said the media trial identified “viable solutions” to improve the viewing of skippable ads.



“While skipping is an ingrained behavior, more succinct ads, coupled with human connection and good storytelling, will help brands more deeply engage with its audiences,” she stated.

The report recommends that advertisers consider using six-second, non-skippable ads, which “substantially increase both higher and lower funnel metrics and provide impressive value compared to skipped ads,” as a way to complement their skippable pre-roll campaign.

The insights were gleaned from a study of 11,338 users who were recruited from a representative online panel. They were given an initial survey with demographic and media consumption questions, and then directed to a content video of their choosing. Before viewing the ad and content, they were also asked to turn on their webcam so that emotion and attention could be tracked throughout the experience. After choosing a piece of content that was indicative of their normal media consumption habits, participants were randomized into one of the 108 test cells involved in the study that determined what type of pre-roll ad was served. Each participant had 2-3 video experiences, depending on the type of test cells they were randomized into. Passive data collection took place during the ad experience, such as interactions, time spent with the ad, etc. Afterwards, participants completed a survey that measured traditional branding metrics and qualitative feedback.
6 comments about "IPG Finds Skipping 'Skippable Ads' Has Become Ingrained Behavior, Offers Solutions".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 15, 2017 at 12:23 p.m.

    Joe, I gather that IPG measured the ad "skipping" rate for individual ads. If so, it would be very interesting to know the average "skipping" rate, as well as the overall observation that many ads are "skipped". I wonder if IPG is willing to share the average rate per ad exposure with us---assuming that I'm correct about the study? Is it 10%, 25%, 50% or 75%?

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 15, 2017 at 12:31 p.m.

    Good question, Ed. I don't know. I only know what they released so far, but I will ask them. Standby.

  3. Anne Frisbie from InMobi, February 22, 2017 at 1:44 p.m.

    I think that moving to shorter length videos of 6 to 15 seconds that are nonskippable will become an important way to execute branding especially for in app mobile video experiences.

  4. Stuart Meyler from Beeby Clark + Meyler, February 22, 2017 at 7:25 p.m.

    Of course. Consumers are using technology and behavior modification to avoid annoying, interruptive, and intrusive advertising. The only rationale response is to provide content that can inform in a way that is complementary to what consumers are doing at the time. Google figured this out with AdWords and created the most powerful and effective form of advertising seen in the last 50 years. The ad is the answer to what the consumer is looking for in that model. 

  5. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, February 23, 2017 at 4:58 p.m.

    We need to be quite careful with this kind of research. When the party knows they're observed their behavior always changes. So all we can say is "under artificial circumstances we observed behavior X". 

    It is concerning that the initial survey focused them on "media consumption habits". That likely skewed the results because they probably had a hint of the behaviors the researchers were interested in.

    But here's a possible egregious (fully invalidating) error:  The write-up implies that the "content" they watched was watched on their computer. They "turned on their webcam". I know I don't have a webcam near my TV. And it says the researchers observed emotion and attention. The only way to do that is to have the webcam pointed at their face... In other words watching content on the computer.

    If so, then these conclusions must be thrown out.

    My experience (but not proven in research) is that when watching programming on my computer, ads feel even longer than normal. So it seems that all we can say is "Consumers skip ads a lot when watching programming on their computer." End of story.

    Watching on a TV set is inherently different than watching on a computer.

  6. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 23, 2017 at 7:15 p.m.

    To Doug's point about survey design and bias, some time ago, when I was the co owner of a monthly trade magazine targeting advertisers, I turned down an ad  whose sponsoring magazine had done an eye tracking study that compared it's average ad noting---based on a definition of visual engagement----to that of its arch rival. In this "study" the average advertisement  in the magazine that wanted us to run its ad, scored something like an 80% noting while its rival came in at a pathetic 5-10%. In addition to the atypical situation, small sample, etc. I found these results to be totally unbelievable, especially as other data---Starch, for example---indicated no significant differences between the two books. Clearly, the panel of "regular" readers who paged through the losing magazine while their eye movements were tracked, took the matter lightly or were reluctant to spend more time with the task than was needed. Also, the losing magazine had an image that might cause some of its regulars to be embarrased if they showed keen interest in its contents. In any event, the ad in question never ran anywhere.

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