Advertisers want their video advertising to hold viewers’ attention, but they can’t always capture the viewers they set their sights on. The amount of attention consumers give to ads depends on their situation. If they’re captive in a movie theatre, they’re likely to be highly engaged in the ads and trailers. But if they’re multitasking on multiple digital devices, they pay little attention to video ads. That’s why it’s important to have the content of the ad match the context of its viewers. HBR.org shared effective ways to make the content of a video ad play well in different contexts.
1. When You’re Playing to a Captive Audience
Advertisers know that their content must engage and persuade in order to be effective. For decades, they focused on persuasion more than engagement. But today, consumers are much more likely to pay attention to content that engages and entertains them. This is generally true for both B2B and B2C consumers.
Yet, there are times when persuasion should be the primary goal, such as with a captive theatre audience. Advertisers can assume that these people will pay full attention to the entire video ad or trailer because they have no other distraction. As a result, these ads can be more persuasive and focus on providing product information, instead of entertainment value. Of course, these ads should be somewhat engaging, but they can spend more time conveying the benefits of the brand without losing audience attention.
2. When Viewers Pause Their Attention
With the rise of mobile and digital devices, audiences are much more likely to multi-task instead of solely viewing an ad. So even if they start paying attention to a commercial, many divert their attention and get more engaged in their smartphones and their tablets.
Yet interestingly, certain ads that are not very engaging still generate the highest sales conversion rates. This occurs because there is apparently a “sweet spot” between too engaging and too dull. Ads that are very boring cause viewers to quickly lose interest, just as ads that are too emotional or overly thrilling prevent viewers from grasping persuasive information. But ads that balance engagement and persuasion seem to make the greatest impact.
3. When Viewers Aren’t Watching at the Start
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Even if audiences tune out an ad in the beginning, it’s still possible to capture their attention as the ad plays out. The best ways are to use eye-catching images, inviting music, and even artsy animation that draw viewers in. Many ads use these powerful tactics and hold viewers’ interest by not identifying the brand until the very end of the ad.
4. When Viewers Channel Their Attention Toward Other Things
When audiences are very distracted, it can seem impossible to get their attention. But advertisers have found a solution by maneuvering viral advertising. Rather than just releasing an ad and hoping it goes viral, some advertisers are reaching out to well-connected bloggers, Internet personalities, and other online influencers to share their ads with their fervent followers. These leaders help build buzz for the ad and encourage their many followers to see and share the ad with friends. This usually makes an ad go viral and captures the attention of viewers who may have missed it.
Try these savvy tactics and watch how well they influence video ad viewing.
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