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Native video ads perform better: Study

Purpose-built, native video ads drove significant lift for brands, as the native, in-feed, auto-play videos grew rapidly, according to a joint study by Opera Mediaworks and comScore. The study found that brands and agencies are seeing meaningful results from mobile-first, purpose-built video ad creative.

Findings from the study showed that native video ads outperformed comScore mobile norms across key upper and lower funnel brand metrics. The campaigns that closely followed creative best practices for native mobile video demonstrated higher results, in particular, with lower-funnel metrics tied to converting users to actual consumers.

“Based on the findings, auto-playing video specifically created for native, in-feed environments can have a major impact on results like purchase intent and likelihood to recommend. While not a substitute for full-screen mobile video ads, native video ads can be a strong complement and a key part of the mobile video marketing mix,” explains Nikao Yang, SVP for Global Marketing and Business Development, Opera Mediaworks.

For the nine campaigns in the study, purpose-built, native video ads that auto-play in the feed drove significant lift at a 90 per cent confidence level and outperformed comScore mobile norms across key metrics in both upper- and lower-funnel metrics.

There was a 6-point lift overall in mobile-ad recall and the consumer perception of the ads as unique was higher by nine points. Among lower-funnel metrics, there was a 5-point lift for intent to purchase metrics and a 5-point lift for likelihood to recommend, while outperforming mobile norms.

Among the nine campaigns, the four that followed creative best practices out performed the rest by three times in favourability, three times in likelihood to recommend and more than two times in purchase intent. These campaigns also had nearly twice the ad recall and drive two times more ad uniqueness for the brands.

“While we know that not all campaigns are created equal, this study highlights that native mobile video campaigns not only work but can be especially effective when following creative best practices. This fast-emerging ad format shows great promise, but demands a new set of creative skills in order to maximise effectiveness. It’s important for brands to make an impression quickly and engage with the consumer on a more visual level to drive campaign success,” said Andrew Lipsman, Vice President, Marketing and Insights at comScore.

The report also highlighted that short-form video ads in the 5-10 seconds range have different constraints, requiring a creative approach to capture consumers’ attention. Campaigns cut from a 30-second ad to fit this format understandably underperform.

“We saw strong results for our native video ads built according to Opera Mediaworks’ creative practices for our client campaigns. Not only did brand awareness KPIs see significant lift but also lower funnel metrics like intent to watch and likelihood to recommend performed extremely well,” says Sarah Bachman, VP, Mobile Strategy at Horizon Media.

Tips for creative best practices

Hook user in first 2-3 seconds: In high-speed, scrolling content feeds, video has to grab the user’s attention immediately.
Quick cuts and close-ups: Quick cuts, strong point-of-view angles, arresting imagery and close-ups are key to engaging users within the feed.
Oversized text: Calling out product information and dates with clear, concise and large text is critical to driving home the message to users.
Call to Action: Brands should ensure through the text around the native video ad unit and the end of the video includes a clear call to action and/or compelling offer. Examples may include offering a coupon, encouraging an install of an app or simply providing the option to see a longer video to learn more about a product.
Make sound secondary: Often, users have their devices audio on mute, so the creative should not overly rely on sound.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.