Grab the popcorn, gather friends and settle in because it’s time for the finale of your favorite TV show. The most shocking plot twist just happened and the screen goes dark and an ad follows. Let me ask you, would you refrain from discussing what just happened in your favorite show to watch the whole commercial? For the majority of us, we would tune out, talk with friends, switch the channel or if you are me, get more popcorn. Maybe even contemplate paying for the ad free option service while it is playing. We will probably never be able to recite what we just heard let alone name the brand.

Now for the few of you that would stop everything and watch the ad in its entirety, you my friends are the exception. Now if you just HAD to watch the ad it probably did one of the following things, tugged at your heartstrings, scared you, or made you laugh. You are the exception, everyone else has tuned out. How exactly do advertisers get everyone else on board?

So I say to you marketers looking to be the exception and get everyone to tune in, listen up.

"The few that would stop everything and watch the ad in its entirety, you my friends are the exception, the advertising exception"

Recent research now has uncovered some cracks in TV’s historical success. According to Ipsos eye-tracking research, the majority of TV advertising time (55%) is not paid attention to due to multitasking, switching channels, and fast-forwarding.

This is nothing new for advertisers, we have known for a while now that television and other traditional advertising tactics do not capture shoppers’ attention like they once did. The studies conducted by Ipsos, Google and Nielsen verify that ad attention varies drastically across channels and throwing more money at the TV problem will not necessarily work. Everyone wants their ads to be watched and leave a lasting impression on their consumers. It’s time to try something else since TV might not be working…

“Recent research now has uncovered some cracks in TV’s historical success”

Have no fear YouTube is here!

So you might be asking yourself, well if TV ads aren’t working how am I going to grab consumers attention with my ads? Youtube offers a possible solution. Ipsos found that paid YouTube mobile advertising is 83% more likely to receive consumer attention than TV advertising. This shows advertisers that a switch to YouTube might be the way to go if you want higher ad recall and more active viewers. However, there’s a catch. It seems like simply switching to YouTube advertising would fix the problem, but it is not that straight-forward. People behave differently on YouTube than they do on television. In order to succeed on YouTube, you have to play YouTube’s game, and that involves grabbing your customer’s attention almost instantly. Unlike TV, there are no 10-second lead-ins for YouTube. For TV you generally have 30 seconds, YouTube you get 6 seconds before they skip. That means those 6 seconds have to be sweet to get attention.

Are all YouTube ad spots created equal?

No. No. No! There are differences in brand awareness for visible or audible ads. It makes sense right? I know when I am listening to YouTube I am not watching the advertisement video I am just hearing the content, where I am probably less likely to remember what brand it was.

YouTube video advertising does not perform the same across different circumstances and places. According to Nielsen’s new “Impact of Attention” research, 2.4x more attention was paid to ads when the ads were shown on platforms with full sight and sounds, compared to platforms with audio off and subtitles. According to the same study attention paid to video ads on YouTube was 1.8x higher than on social media platforms. If the ad is both visible and audible it is 3.8x times more likely to have brand awareness versus audible only. On the other side, audible and visible ads have a 1.6x higher brand awareness compared to viewable only. 


Through YouTube data users who watch ads for more than three seconds experience higher brand awareness, higher ad recall, and higher consideration. Attention paid to advertising correlates to higher ad recall and brand awareness.

“It doesn’t take long, just 3 seconds to impact!”

3 Best YouTube Practices For Creating Attention Captivating Ads


1. Put Your Brand First

If you are going to show your logo do it in the first five seconds of your ad. You should always make it tied to your product and that ensure it looks natural. Think with Google found that viewers are less likely to watch and remember brands and ads when they feature brand logos that aren't actually on products. Put your brand 1st so that people will continue watching and you will not leave them questioning whose ad this is, even if they skip. So, whether the goal is views, brand awareness or recall, try to show your logo on a product.

“Whether the goal is views, brand awareness or recall, try to show your logo on a product.”


2. Focus on a simple message

Especially when you only have 1 second to catch people’s attention, there isn’t time for confusing or unclear storylines. Grabbing your audience's attention in the first seconds starts with setting the right tone. Usually, your competition does a little story, some product information, maybe an offer and branding. When you are trying to capture the most ad attention you can’t do a little of all, just do 1 thing well and do it fast!

YouTube advertising is designed to reach viewers when they are receptive to a quick story. This is why Tailwind suggests having a simple and clear cut message. So whether you are trying to showcase a new offering or a brand awareness play pick one, everything else will follow. I know when I am watching an ad, if it does portray what company, service or what the message is, I instantly get confused and stop paying attention. Focusing on a simple message will make more viewers take note of you and leave them with a clearly expressed call to action.

“When trying to capture the most ad attention you can’t do a little of all, just do 1 thing well and do it fast!”

Turns out Google found that people are more likely to pay attention to humorous ads. Humor in ads actually resulted with greater lifts in ad recall and brand awareness. If making jokes is not a good brand fit the next best performers were suspenseful and emotional ads and try to portray these within the first seconds.


3. Think of your ad in series

What company has these ads saying, “if you are a couple, you fight over directions, it's what you do, or so easy a caveman can do it”? Most of us would shout out, “If you want to save 15% or more on car insurance, you switch to GEICO. It's what you do.”

Some of the most compelling youtube ads I have seen went beyond one stand alone ad. Geico has done a great job of this and gives their viewers series of ads all with the same message different jokes. Now when you see a Geico ad you know what to expect and wonder what joke they will do next. If you go beyond one ad and into a series of ads that have similar messages you can portray multiple offerings without causing confusion. When your ads are in a series you create an expectation to your viewers that they will see similar but not the same content. Doing this can actually pull more avid viewers in and leave more of an impact. The best storytellers will tell you never close off your brand story, instead try to use something that can be never-ending. In the case of Geico, they tell the same story but different characters. This allows your brand to never be contained into one story.


Plain exposure of your ads isn't enough anymore. TV advertising is starting to fail, but over the top video advertising, like YouTube, can. We have seen that only 55% of the time viewers are paying attention to advertising time on TV. Be the advertising exception so your consumers do not just reach for the popcorn and tune out. Consumers are actually much more likely to pay attention to YouTube. With that in mind, all YouTube ads are not created equal, it has been confirmed to be more effective when they're seen and heard. Make sure you opt into video spots that your ad can be seen and heard. When creating video content try not to rely heavily on one or the other, try to make your video equal on both sides to maximize attention and recall. It only takes three seconds to make an impact on consumer’s attention. Always follow the best practices for creating attention captivating ads on YouTube. Start with your brand first and exciting but simple content right away to take hold of their attention. That means building engaging creative that viewers want to watch and pay attention to is more important than ever! Try to think in series for your video ads, just like Geico has done time and time again. Never contain yourself into one story and your consumers will know what to expect from your ads.

If you don’t know where to start or are just looking for some guidance, reach out to Tailwind. We can provide best practices and case studies for how we have improved YouTube campaigns to capture more ad attention. Tailwind can partner with you deciding the best metrics and set-up when trying to measure an ad attention campaign.




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