YuMe hooked up with Frank N. Magid Associates and Razorfish and took a look at connected TV ad experiences. From the collaboration came a set of best practices to make sure that your users and content viewers are getting the best experience they can. This was all done via an in-person focus group study and it really does offer some illumination in regards to how best to supply connected TV users with good content and experiences.

Interaction is vital to a good connected TV experience but some interaction is best left out of it. The research showed that this new platform requires a new mindset in terms of how to build a proper consumer experience. You can’t just take a bit of online video, mash it into some TV content and shove it all down the consumers’ throats. Connected TV requires a whole new way of thinking in terms of how to create the experience, market to the consumers and meet their expectations.


Here’s how they did the study.

The study took place December 2013 in Santa Monica, CA. Four media clinic discussion groups were formed by heavy CTV, mixed and traditional viewers ages 18-39 and 40-55. 50% of group members lived in homes with teens, 19% in homes with kids under 12, 38% lived in homes with adults over 18 and 100% subscribed to cable/satellite TV service.

yume connected Tv demographics

So they got a good mix of everything except cord-cutters and cord-nevers it seems as all of them were pay TV subscribers. That’s all well and good and some of those “kids under 12” or “homes with teens” might very well never pay for TV services in a traditional sense and therefore be future cord-nevers and they are growing up with connected TVs and devices in the house already.

How to Make Ads Engaging on Connected TV?

The major question of the study was just this,  how do you make ads engaging here and what will consumers pay attention to? They enlisted the help of four leading brand advertisers including Best Buy, Citi, Truvia (a stevia-based sweetener) and a “major quick service restaurant.”

From the results the team assembled a list of best practices and guidelines to get the most out of connected TV marketing endeavors. While they may not be a complete set of things to remember when marketing to the connected TV crowd, they should help to create more effective and engaging campaign.

 Three Key Points

From the study, three major points became the foci, how they use the connected TV and perceive its value, how they interact with ads and viewing and follow up discussion about the ad creative and their reactions and perceptions.

One of the major findings is that connected TVs are usually in multiple rooms and many often have more than one including game consoles, desktops, OTT devices, etc.

yume connected tv ad best practices

Main Best Practices

  1. Capture Attention with Animation – Motion attracts the eye, this is a known fact, so this point seems sort of moot to me as we should all know this.
  2. Set Expectations and Deliver – Yet another obvious factor. I think the one participant summed it up best, “30-second, eye-catching, here’s what we have, why it benefits you, this is how much it costs, call-to-action (want more info?).”
  3. Keep Interactions Simple & Relevant – It’s a TV, not a computer, make the interactions closer to that than to a full blown desktop experience. “Use the TV for TV, use a laptop for ordering or surfing for information.”
  4. Make Content Easily Accessible – If it’s engaging and easy to use without being too disruptive, we’ll probably use it and feel like we’re doing “our part” in the grand scheme.
  5. Utilize Video to Drive Engagement – Right, because it’s a TV, and TVs are made for video, not static images.
  6. Think TV First – This sort of sums up a lot of what they found.

Secondary Focus

Here are a couple other things I gleaned from the study which I think are as important as their main factors.

  1. Ad Load –Consumers have a low tolerance for interruption, they want to watch TV not be pulled in multiple directions, especially when it interrupts the content or draws them out of the immersion.
  2. Complementary Creative – Relevant calls-to-action need to be used. The creative in the ads and the interaction needs to be somehow relevant to the viewing content.

Personally, I felt like the study showed not much in the way of new information. Motion attracts the eye, don’t overwhelm with information because it’s still a TV experience, etc. I think the most important information is that you need to limit information on the connected TV ad and let them go get the rest on their own instead of trying to cram it all in and then trying to capture their immediate attention when they’re already invested in watching television content, which you’re interrupting.

Perhaps what is needed is a bookmarking system where a user can say, “Yes, I’m interested but I’m trying to watch something right now, bring this back to my attention after it or later or during another viewing session.” Even the report says that at the end so we are on the same track here.

That seems to be something that might make a world of difference in the long run. TV viewers are used to having ads break up their content, but they don’t want it to lead them away from the content, they want it to complement it. So if you do that and respect the fact that they’re not there to interact with your brand or your ad but to actually watch some piece of content, you might actually gain a bit of respect from them. I think that’s something that a lot of advertisers get wrong. Sure, to you your brand and product are the most important thing in the world. That doesn’t mean it’s of any concern to the viewer whatsoever. I think a better approach might be, “hey we wanted to tell you about this product, if you want to know more later (or now) let us know and we’ve got that for you.” It’s definitely far better than HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY YOU! HEY, HEY YOU! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT MEEEEE!! LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! HEY! HEY YOU! HEY YOU! SEE THIS?! LOOK HERE! STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND LOOK AT ME!

Smacks of desperation, doesn’t it? And it’s annoying to boot. How do you think most consumers will react when you’re interrupting their favorite show right when they’re going to find out exactly what happens to their favorite character when they’re unwinding from a long day of work in which they’ve had nothing but stress and aggravation. Let them watch their show, then remind them that you’ve got something they might be interested in.

There are a couple other interesting conclusions drawn in the study as well. To watch the research study highlight reel, visit www.yume.com/CTVEngage/. For all CTV best practices and the full research report, visit: http://www.yume.com/insights/video-advertising-research (I suggest you get the full report simply because it’s far more enlightening than the highlight reel).