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Online video needs “fundamental rethink”

New research by Unruly, the IPA and renowned marketing consultant Peter Field, reveals link between video content and real-world outcomes but marketers need to find a new approach.

New findings have been released from joint research with marketing consultant Peter Field and the IPA, into how emotional and cognitive responses to video content correlate to real-world outcomes for brands.

The ground-breaking study analysed campaigns from the IPA Effectiveness Databank, where video was a key component.

“This study confirms that to flourish as a brand-building medium capable of driving long-term growth for brands, online video needs a fundamental rethink of metrics and models, focussing on the creation of intense emotional responses. This is incompatible with current short-form video thinking” said Field.

“The assessment of video advertising in terms of short-term sales alone has been known to be unwise for TV for a long time now,” explained Field, “But the world of online video has been heavily focussed on short-term metrics and immediate results.”

The IPA Effectiveness Databank is the product of more than 30 years of IPA Effectiveness Awards, covering more than 800 brands in over 80 categories. The data record the nature and objectives of the brands and of the campaigns, their circumstances and their results. Since 1998 the data used has been collected via a compulsory confidential data questionnaire completed by case study authors competing in the awards. As such, the Databank acts as the most robust source of campaign effectiveness available to study. This joint study uses a subset of data from the last 6 years.

The IPA provided scores for real-world outcomes including market share, fame, esteem, differentiation, pricing and activation. These outcomes can be bucketed into 3 distinct types of outcome:

  • Short term business effects – activation effects
  • Long term business effects – including market share gain, reduction of price sensitivity and profit gain
  • Long term brand effects – including differentiation, esteem and fame

Unruly tested the campaigns using its proprietary content testing tool UnrulyEQ Max to obtain scores for emotional response and cognitive response, purchase intent, favourability, brand values, social motivations/shareability and negative/primal responses.

Peter Field examined the correlation between the two sets of data to identify the key triggers that are linked to real-world outcomes.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Unruly pre-testing metrics are linked to real-world outcomes
  • The Unruly metrics associated with long term outcomes are very different from those linked to short term outcomes – video content should be designed with one mission in mind
  • Negative triggers can be linked to short term sales spikes, but this can be detrimental to the brand in the long run
  • Positive psychological response, rather than function, acts as a differentiator for brands and is correlated with long term business and brand outcomes
  • The positive emotional triggers most closely correlated with long term outcomes are amazement and exhilaration

These findings corroborate and expand on those from Binet and Field 2013 study The Long and the Short of It – for the first time, it has been possible to examine how the precise nature of the consumer response to the advertising influences the effectiveness.

The 2013 study, which also utilised campaign data from the IPA Databank to look into long and short term effectiveness, found that for brands long and short term effects are very different. Short term effects drive efficiency but long term effects drive growth and profit. Both are vital for brands and they need to invest approximately 60% of their marketing budgets in brand building campaigns to achieve long term positive outcomes.  

Says Janet Hull, IPA Director of Marketing Strategy:

“ The IPA is delighted to partner with Unruly on this ground-breaking research which begins to provide answers to one of the most often asked questions about how online video advertising is currently working, and what more can be done to improve its effectiveness in a brand context”.

Phil Townend, Chief Commercial Officer, APAC said “Unruly new research helps advertisers create, edit and distribute video content with triggers which link to real-world outcomes, and gives guidelines on how to reach the optimum balance between short term and long term approaches to video advertising laid out by this earlier research.

He added, “Advertisers can use this insight to immediately improve their media plans – our custom targeting solution allows advertisers to identify audience subsets most likely have a specific emotional or cognitive response to content – such as amazement, surprise or exhilaration – and target them at scale across a brand safe premium publisher marketplace.

Click here to access the research.