Study: Engagement Key for Rich Media Video Ads

When it comes to rich media ads on the Internet that employ video, engagement really matters. Environment, not so much.

That’s the major, and perhaps, surprising takeaway from a new research study conducted by VideoEgg and comScore. The two companies surveyed the opinions of 14,000 Web users, who were presented with ad campaigns of various types of Web sites from six top brands: Doritos, GE, Hyundai, Telus, Toshiba and Alliance Releasing.
Specifically, the study examined the effectiveness of rich media video ads versus traditional banner ads. The idea was to prove the theory that banner ads which contain video are more engaging. And the more engaging a Web ad is the more it can impact brand metrics such as aided and unaided awareness.
In addition, the study looked to gauge whether site environment—particularly contextual relevance—played a role in how well such ads performed.
Overall, video ads proved to be more engaging, found the study—and engaging ads move the needle better than standard ads. Not surprising was that VideoEgg’s own AdFrame units, expandable placements that take over a portion of a Web page, were roughly twice as impactful as standard IAB banners when it comes to driving awareness.

“What we saw was the overwhelming power of engagement to change metrics,” said VideoEgg president Troy Young. “Online advertising is really easy to ignore. Knowing you have someone’s attention really matters. The takeaway here if you want your propaganda to work [is] get people to engage with it.”
But more eye-opening was the study’s findings on the importance of environment, or lack thereof. When conducting the survey, VideoEgg and comScore classified sites running video rich media banners into three groups: branded sites, smaller but still contextually relevant sites and noncontextually relevant sites. According to Young, while users responded to branded sites more favorably, ads on those sites were not any more engaging than they were on non-contextually relevant sites.
“There was not a significant difference in performance across environments,” said Young. “There is a relationship between environment and ad for some brands, but a great ad transcends environment.”
That will surely rile up some big brand publishers, who make their living on selling the importance of context. And many won’t love the idea that the study was commissioned by VideoEgg, itself a leading ad network.

But Young says the study proves context isn’t always worth paying extra for: “The implication here is, for a lot of media plans, premium environments may not be worth a three-times or five-times premium price.”