Smartphone Video Ads Over 100% More Effective with Millennials Than TV [Report]

Smartphone Video Ads Over 100% More Effective with Millennials Than TV [Report]

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As part of YuMe’s research, Insights from Multi-Screen Research Millennials: Distinct in Video Consumption, in partnership with IPG Media Lab, they looked at video advertising, its effects on Millennials and topics like distraction due to multi-tasking, time-shifted TV content and other factors. The other part of the report talked about what Millennials watch, where, and on what platform. I offered a few thoughts on all of that as well, like the potential for cross-promotion between retailers and restaurants. I specifically wanted to pull out all the video advertising findings and give them their own space to breathe, because that’s what many of you need to know about.

First off, I’ll cover some stuff I did cover in the other article, mainly, how Millennials are watching video on smartphones and tablets, apps. The great thing about apps is that you can slide advertising into them and the user is in a single instance, generally, on the device. If they leave the app to do something else on the device the ad will generally pause, or replay when they return to the app. So you’ve sort of got them locked in and have a good percentage chance they’ll see the ad. The same can’t be said when the video has been downloaded to the device where the user has total control and can scrub through a video in the event that ads were embedded.

Video Consumption And App Usage

The other way to watch video which is covered in the research is streaming it from a webpage. With technologies like VAST and HTML5 video advertising can now be delivered to the majority of mobile devices. Depending on the operating system, some viewers may be able to multi-task while the ad plays, which offers a lower percentage chance that the viewer will see the ad. As far as I can see, the video app is the way to go whenever feasible. Also, it’s the most commonly used way to watch videos by Millennials and Generation X on smartphones and by them and Baby Boomers on tablets.


Multi-Tasking Impacts Video Advertising Effectiveness

This becomes even more important when you take into account the fact that a large majority of all three generations multi-task when watching a video. The difference is the fact that the Millennials do it with other connected devices. Even 80% of Baby Boomers said they multi-task while watching video. I too am guilty of that, in fact I’ve been on my laptop and iPad at the same time as watching something on the DVR. Hey, I have a lot of things to get done some days!


I’m technically a Generation X kinda guy, but I can totally relate with the Millennials on a wide range of things. Like this whole multi-tasking while watching video. A full 13% more of them multi-task on various connected devices than Generation X, 23% more than Baby Boomers. Then again, I think the Boomers weren’t brought up that way while the Gen X’ers at least had home computers and game consoles which might account for some of the multi-task mentality.


As for the Millennials, they were all practically born with a phone in their hands and many have better smartphones than I do. But the real information in all this comes when you take into account what that multi-tasking does in regards to video advertising.

As YuMe’s research found out, it lowers ad recall. Now it’s not all that severe in that it only lowered it 2-9% via smartphones, tablet apps and tablet browsers. Then again, Millennials weren’t all that great at unaided ad recall from TV or the PC anyway compared to Gen X’ers, so it is in line with expectations on the other platforms. As the chart below shows, smartphone video ads had the highest unaided ad recall. Does that translate into effectiveness? I suppose so, if you’re just going for recall and that can then translate into brand awareness overall later.


Video Ad Impact on Millennials

Now, here’s a prime piece of information from the research. If you want Millennials to think that your brand is in fact “modern” then you should be targeting them with video advertising on smartphones. That combination showed the highest agreement in believing that the ad shown was from a “modern brand.” Of course, it was still only 6.7%, tablet browser video ads came in at 5.3% and everything else was under 4%. I suppose that’s technically almost 100% more effective than video advertising on TV or PC.

Modern Brand ad recall

Interestingly, video ads on smartphones also scored highly with Millennials and Gen X’ers on the belief that it was from a “brand on its way up.” But only 1.1% of Gen X thought it was a modern brand. Gen X had a negative response in regards to whether the brand was quality, premium or a brand they respected. Almost as if, your video ad incited vitriol in their brain and they suddenly didn’t like the brand at all. How positively fascinating! I wonder if that is due to many Gen X’ers remembering the days before massive online video ad loads and yearn for those nearly ad-free days again, whereas the Millennials have pretty much grown up with more and more video advertising online. There’s something here I think that could be more specifically delved into and might offer some extremely interesting research that could translate into how to better target Gen X with video advertising (I suspect the answer will be “with much, much less of it”). It could also be the fact that Gen X simply things video ads are blasé.Millennials see smartphone video ads as persuasive

Meanwhile, the Millennials still had positive reactions to those questions, however, the “brand I respect” was quite low, at just 1.7%, whether it was a quality brand did quite well, relatively speaking, with 3.7%.

Oddly, this did not translate at all to video advertising on tablets, except for the respect. I wonder if this is a case of brands re-purposing content which is made for smartphones onto tablets and the quality going downhill to the point that the Millennials are all totally, like, “BLECH!”


That’s a Wrap

So, the takeaway from all of this is that if you want to specifically target Millennials, smartphone video ads are the way to go. Not so much on the tablet video ads though, oddly. Again, it might be just poor quality content. Here’s a theory, what if it translates to screen size? What if, the bigger the screen, the less impressed the Millennials are with the video ads and therefore with the brand itself? I can’t imagine many of them would be too thrilled with having to sit through video ads while their favorite game was loading on a game console, which is basically what brands do to them on tablets when they’re using free apps or watching video. I can definitely see some interesting research angles that could be offshoots of this research and delved into far more deeply. I also think that same research could compare the exact same situations for both Gen X’ers and Millennials and end up with some ideal video ad targeting strategies, so long as you have the data available to target the specific demographics. There also seems to be some potential for cross-platform, timed ad exposure that might work to foster a deeper sense of respect or a more positive overall attitude toward the brand. It’s all just a matter of crunching the numbers.


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