Unruly / viral review / 5 Major Reasons Why People Skip Video Ads Online – New Study

5 Major Reasons Why People Skip Video Ads Online – New Study

Whether it’s fast-forwarding through TV ads, leaving the room during the commercial breaks or hitting the skip button on YouTube, one thing is clear – advertisers are struggling to get and keep consumers’ attention.

But why do people skip video ads? What are the main factors? And what can advertisers do to stop it?

Every year advertisers come up with creative ways to encourage people to stop skipping, such as Geico’s award-winning campaign, “Unskippable” (below).



But are they missing a trick? Are there things they can avoid in the first 5 seconds that will radically reduce the percentage of ad skippers?

Well, to help understand why people skip better, Unruly teamed up with Kent State University and King’s College London to conduct the first in-depth analysis into what drives it and what advertisers can do to avoid it.

It will come as no shock to anyone that, in today’s time poor society, the research found that length was a major factor, with longer ads much more likely to be skipped, but some of the other findings are more surprising. We’ve put together a handy list of key takeaways for you.



1. Ads that start happy put viewers off

You may think that seeing images of happy, smiling people would help consumers feel more comfortable and less likely to skip. But seeing really happy people in the first five seconds of an ad, especially when you are not in the best mood yourself, can be a little annoying and more likely to have people reaching for the skip button.

So avoid fake celebrities looking like they’re having too much fun on yachts!


2. Ads with intense emotional responses are skipped less

It goes without saying that ads that create a more intense emotional response are more engaging, and therefore more likely to keep the viewer watching rather than skipping.
But there is further evidence that making people laugh or cry in the first five seconds actually impedes consumer processing – meaning they are too distracted to skip.

Create an ad for an ad by engaging your viewer emotionally in the first five seconds.


3. Opening with your brand increases skipping

Overt branding from the outset leads consumers to skip more. Once consumers know what the brand is, they feel no further need to engage with the ad, so are more likely to skip. Interestingly, this doesn’t apply to brand colours or ‘feeling’ – both of which are important in overall brand recall, recognition and attribution. Keep the brand reveal for later in the ad, but introduce other brand assets as early as possible.


4. Unconventional ads are skipped more

Consumers are irritated by ads in general, but even more so if they don’t recognise it as an ad. Better the devil you know…

While viewers may not like having to watch ads, the majority accept the fact that they need to watch them. What they resent, however, is having to figure out whether something is an ad or something else altogether. So be creative…. just not too creative.


5. Too much action increases skipping

You may think that by making your ad action-packed from the start will mean people are less likely to skip.

However, the research actually shows the complete opposite. Instead, viewers are focussed on getting to their desired content and don’t want something that requires additional brainpower to understand what is going on.

A lot of movement on screen forces a viewer to concentrate – so they skip.

Ads that are easy to comprehend and don’t require too much brain activity will do better.