Google using neuroscience research to test overlay video ads.

YouTube still doesn’t seem to deliver sufficient revenue and the video ads on offer still haven’t been picked up by the ad community. In addition to the regular display ads, there are also overlay ads, which cover one third of the video. (Google says they will also be introducing pre- mid- and postroll ads, when they’re launching full length videos.)
However, the overlay ads have not yet been widely accepted, so Google has now undertaken a study:

Teaming up with the neuromarketing firm NeuroFocus and the branding consultancy MediaVest, Google conducted a study in which it measured people’s nervous-system responses – through brain-scanning skull sensors, eye tracking, pupil dilation, and galvanic skin response – as they watched YouTube ads.

There were only 40 participants, whose score for overlay ads was apparently above average:

Specifically, after fielding a study among 40 participants last May, InVideo ads scored above average on a scale of one to 10 for measures like “attention” (8.5), “emotional engagement” (7.3) and “effectiveness” (6.6). According to officials, a 6.6 score is considered strong. (Source)

Yet they worked best when in combination with banners:

The combination of overlays with companion banners also grabbed users‘ attention more than banner ads alone, scoring a 6.6 compared to a 6.3 for just banners. (Source)

I can see that getting in-video ads right will be a huge leverage for YouTube to achieve sufficient revenue. And it’s probably one of the best ways to quickly and substantially increase revenue options on the site.

Yet I would prefer more creative and user relevant options for displaying the messages of my clients…

Another interesting fact is the news about the advanced neuroscience approach Google has taken to evaluate their overlay ads. Only 40 participants, but probably much more data available than you would get from 100 traditional focus groups.



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