The importance of video pre-testing for a great YouTube campaign

The importance of pre-testing for a successful YouTube campaign

You’ve invested a lot of time and money in developing a great YouTube campaign. But how do you find out – preferably before you distribute your content to hundreds of thousands of viewers via YouTube – whether your videos are going to stand out, hold your viewers’ attention and create brand impact?


In this blog, I’ll tell you more about the importance of pre-testing: measuring and optimizing the effectiveness of your content before you put your YouTube campaign live. Based on the Video Effectiveness Model of Team5pm | The YouTube Agency, I’ll go through the most important pre-testing features that will ensure you win clicks on YouTube, hold viewers’ attention, and thus make a real impact.


Research shows that the success of your online campaign is determined as much as 55% by your creation and 30% by your media. This means that the use of YouTube (your media) is much more meaningful if your video (your creation) is effective. That is, it is able to stand out, hold viewers’ attention, evoke emotions and make an impact.

Video pre testing


But how do you know if your video is effective? Research shows that most marketers only measure the effectiveness of their videos after the launch of their video campaign, by looking at the number of views, watch time and conversion rate afterwards (Online Video Monitor 2020, Quadia).

In order to get the maximum return from your YouTube budget and expensive video production, however, it can be useful to test and optimize the effectiveness of your video before distributing it via YouTube (and/or TV) to hundreds of thousands of viewers from your target audience.

By pre-testing you can find out:

#1 Whether your video stands out enough and generates attention

#2 On which parts your video performs well, but also where and why viewers drop out

#3 What parts of your video hold the attention, but also what distracts (too much)

#4 To what extent your video succeeds in conveying your brand, product and/or message, which message resonates and is the most effective

#5 Which version of your video performs best, by performing A/B/C tests

Pre-testing enables you to have influence on the success of your video even before it goes live. This way you can be sure that your video (which thousands of people will be watching) will stand out, retain attention and make an impact.


For pre-testing, we at Team5pm Labs use the Video Effectiveness Model. This model shows how media and video creation are used to make your video stand out (Get Noticed), hold viewers’ attention (Hold Attention) and make an impact (Impact Memory).

Video pre testing

Media and creative work together: along the model, the responsibility for communicating your most important video message shifts from media (the use of YouTube) to the creative (your video).

  • Your media (the use of YouTube or TV) is the first to make the move: they ensure that the video is shown to the right target groups, stands out and gets attention.
  • Then it’s your creative’s turn: your YouTube video should ensure that it grabs the viewer’s attention, evokes emotions and (hopefully) stimulates behavior.

Below I explain how you can pre-test your creative per phase (Get Noticed, Hold Attention and Impact Memory).


Consumers are exposed to thousands of digital ads on hundreds of online platforms, such as YouTube, on a daily basis. However, only 4% of these digital ads are viewed for longer than two seconds (Lumen Research, 2016). So it is essential that your video manages to capture attention within all of these digital ads. In organic content and video discovery ads, a good thumbnail is one of the ways to make your video stand out.

Your thumbnail is the business card of your video and important for the YouTube algorithm to rank your video well. Therefore, it is important to test and optimize your thumbnails before your YouTube campaign goes live. This way you can be sure that your thumbnail stands out and convinces people to watch your video.

At Team5pm we test and optimize thumbnails based on:

1) A/B pre-testing

Before the YouTube campaign goes live, we test one or more variants of the thumbnail among a representative number of viewers from the target audience. This allows us to quickly gain insight into the best performing version of the thumbnail based on CTR.

2) Heatmaps by eye-tracking

Based on AI eye-tracking we create heatmaps with hotspots that show how much attention goes to specific elements of the thumbnail, which parts attract attention in the first 3 to 5 seconds and whether there are elements that distract too much.

Video pre testing

KPN’s thumbnail has little visual spread and brings focus to those areas you want to draw viewers’ attention to – the facial expression and title. As a result, the thumbnail stands out and results in a high CTR.


After someone has noticed your video and clicked on it, the goal is to keep your viewer’s attention – especially by showing relevant and interesting video content.

To find out whether your video is holding enough attention and what areas for improvement there are, we pre-test and optimize your video by combining YouTube data analytics with video heatmaps. This way we can literally see where and why viewers drop out or decide to watch fragments of your video again.

Video pre testing

In the Center Parcs video, the combination of retention data and heatmaps shows that relatively many viewers drop out at times when there are (too many) textual distractions, but that they actually continue to watch when there is visual attention to important video messages, such as the design of the renovated Center Parcs cottages.


Finally, the attention gained (get noticed) and retained (hold attention) in the first two phases should be used to imprint your key video messages in your viewer’s memory.

Before your video goes live, we conduct research into the impact of your video message with the help of a consumer panel. In this way, we find out to what extent the video succeeds in communicating your brand, product and/or message, which message catches on and is most effective and which version of your video has the greatest impact.


In this article I discussed the added value of pre-testing to get the most out of your YouTube campaigns. I discussed the different pre-testing possibilities within each phase of the Video Effectiveness Model.

Are you curious to know how pre-testing on YouTube helps you win the click, keeps the attention of your viewers and makes a real impact? Then contact our YouTube Agency without any obligation!


Want to know more about YouTube and what YouTube can mean for you as a brand? Download our free Whitepaper YouTube for Brands!

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.

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