Modern age viewing behaviour changed advertising

When we think of traditional style TV advertising, the best practice has been to slowly build up to the action.  But now in an on-demand online world, viewer behaviour has changed.  Being targeted with an ad feels more and more like a hard-core interruption of the content you decided to watch. Our skippable world turned us into ‘spoiled’ viewers with shorter attention spans and that’s why repurposing your ad or recreating a tv-style one won’t generate much impact. Looking for proof? Have a look at Flexa. For this paint brand, we tested a TV commercial (TVC) against two ads specifically designed for YouTube. And the data doesn’t lie: the TVC showed a huge drop out in viewers between five and seven seconds (the moment viewers are allowed to skip the ad), compared to the YouTube-first ads. 

So, as an advertiser it’s now more important than ever to stop interrupting what people are interested in and to be what people are interested in. You can do so by incorporating these four online ad essentials…

Online ad essential #1: build up your story high

Our changed viewing behaviour influenced the way ads should be build. Simply said: the story arc has changed! Now, ads are starting high – lead with the money shot – then sustain action and interest throughout. We call this: the emerging story arc. 

Playing by the online rules of ad creation

Dutch insurance company Centraal Beheer does a great job at incorporating this changing story arc in their YouTube advertising strategy. Their goal was to create a video ad fit for the online environment to boost awareness among business owners – a very niche group. In the process of creating the ads, we played by the online rules when it comes to visuals, text and sound, taking all relevant factors into account. We decided to flip the script of one of the ad creatives within the sequence. This one started immediately with the highest action. The different story built-ups combined, distinctively increased memory, curiosity and credibility among the different sub-groups within the target group. The results far exceeded the initial KPIs.

The ABCD model

To help you enhance your ad creative even more, Google came up with a helpful anchor: the ABCD model. Ranging from Awareness to Direction, it’s giving tips on how to create an online ad that draws viewers in from the start, sparks recall, connection and eventually: drives action. It’s good to keep these ones in mind while writing your scripts and planning production. Because – even if you’re producing an awareness campaign – using ABCD and guiding the viewer to take action can drive +10% more ROI!

Online ad essential #2: learn what your audience likes to watch

The biggest advantage of advertising online is that the endless amount of targeting options allow you to know who exactly you are reaching. And since you know who you are reaching, you can find out what this audience likes to watch. The Google Ecosystem forms a gigantic database with an abundance of information about your target group at your fingertips. With it, you can get answers to questions like “what kind of content does my target group watch the most?”, “which YouTube channels do they follow?”, “what interests do they have?” or “what websites do they visit and what are they searching for online?”. By using this data, you will discover what creative formats, storylines, hooks and USPs are the best to trigger your audience with your ad.

Getting to know your audience: an example

A dog food brand asked us what online ad they had to create to convince their audience that their brand was the best choice for their pet. With data-driven content research, we mapped out what dog-related content was the hottest at the moment. The data didn’t lie: dog reaction videos with dog voice-overs were by far the most popular. Our in-house creatives came up with a ‘pet diary’ ad format – showcasing life from a dog point-of-view with funny voice-overs. With in-depth audience research we got insight into the trail of signals their audience left behind within the Google Ecosystem: dog food related keywords they searched for, relevant websites they visited and which pet-related apps they downloaded. This information allowed us to optimise scripts, the setting of the format and to create a spot-on targeting. By tapping into the trends you see in data and using creativity as the magic touch you can create an online ad that doesn’t interrupt what your target group is interested in, but is what your group is interested in.

Online ad essential #3: utilise targeting possibilities to optimise your creative

YouTube offers endless targeting possibilities. If you optimise your creative according to these, you’ll get the most out of your ad campaign. 

Ad sequencing

Ad sequencing is a creative way of conveying your brand story by serving your viewers different parts of your creative that follow each other up based on, for example, how long they viewed the first one in the sequence. This allows you to create and target different versions of your ad, based on unique viewing behaviour.  

Frequency management

Google offers data about the unique reach of an ad, taking into account that the same ad is viewed on different devices or that people share the same device. Because you can set the number of times people will see your ad, your unique reach becomes much higher. This way you minimise viewer irritation and maximise recall. 

➤ Insight in streaming devices

Google gives you data on which device people use to watch your ads. Based on this, you can adjust your ad creative accordingly! Think of an awareness campaign for the Connected TV streamers and more conversion-oriented ads on mobile devices.

Conveying your brand story with online advertising

Oot granola is a brand that sells subscription-based ‘breakfast-in-your-mailbox’. The brand wanted to tell their brand story with YouTube advertising. With audience research we located the converting target group and supplemented it with custom target groups, which have an above-average interest in a healthier lifestyle. We targeted them with different snippets of an online ad, based on their unique viewing behaviour. Think of: how long they watched the first snippet, a different second snippet would be shown. The result? More quantitative and qualitative traffic to the website, significant growth in subscriptions and a reduction in SEA budgets through a 270% growth in branded search. This way of advertising allows you to really convey your brand story, engage the target audience and even get people to go to your website to order your product.

Online ad essential #4: pre-testing and optimisation

To make sure your creative does what it promises to do there is video pre-testing. You basically test out your online ad to potential YouTube viewers from your target group(s). Data from clients points out that pre-testing your ad in its natural environment, leads to 15% more conversion and retention. We dive deeper into the data and look at questions, such as:

  1. Does the video content spark interest among your target group?
  2. Where does attention go and which elements distract? 
  3. Where do viewers drop out and which aspects perform well? 

Based on enhanced AI technology, we can predict how your ad will perform and optimise it accordingly. By testing out your creative before it goes live, you’re sure that you’ll get the maximum ROI from your budget.

Ready to create the perfect online ad?

To create an ad that doesn’t interrupt what your target group is interested in, but is what your target group is interested in you have to play by the online rules. Data can help you. Are you ready to create the perfect online ad? Download our free white paper YouTube for Advertisers or get in touch here.

Want to discover what a YouTube marketing agency can do for you?

Born and raised on YouTube, we’ve developed a unique, data-driven approach to create effective videos. As the second-largest global search engine, tapping into YouTube’s full potential requires more than just uploading videos. A specialized YouTube agency can efficiently navigate this complex platform, ensuring your marketing investment translates into measurable results. Click here to learn more about a YouTube marketing agency.