December 2, 2020

The 2-Second Rule for Engagement

The 2-Second Rule for Engagement

How long do advertisers have to make an impression when they engage an audience online? Not as long as you might think. Marketers typically assume people will watch all of their 15 or 30 second spots or all of their rotating banner ads. But when looking at the data, it seems that’s not always the case. In fact, it rarely ever is.

The IAB Digital Video Glossary says a video ad is considered “viewable” if at least 50% of the ad is viewed for two consecutive seconds. Yet even if we just look at impressions, the average time a viewer pauses for a Facebook video is 1.7 seconds, while the average YouTube ad is 5.5 seconds.

These facts, along with similar research studies, have recently confirmed what we all feared: Marketers now only have about two seconds to capture consumers’ attention before losing them altogether. And to make matters worse, a research journal from the Society for Judgement and Decision Making says consumers can even make buying decisions in as little as 1/3 of a second! That’s a pretty small window of opportunity.

The 2-Second Rule for Engagement

Captivate or be forgotten

Genius Monkey is no stranger to these short engagement revelations because our attribution data has proven time and time again that when split testing video creatives, when there is a pre-loaded offer within the first 2-5 seconds there is a 27% lift in SQL (sales qualified leads) conversions, versus the offer or unique selling proposition being somewhere later in the creative/spot. Why is this?

People want to know if they can afford or are enticed by what you’re selling before you sell it to them, so as not to waste time. After all, time is money in today’s day and age. So marketers have to find savvy ways to break through the nonstop chaos and meaningfully connect with their audience–in the blink of an eye.

Advertising campaigns that wish to succeed need to reach consumers fast and leave a powerful impact. Recent research says this kind of success comes down to two things: draw attention to the ad and then provoke an emotional connection from the ad. That’s the marketing recipe for triggering impulse purchases.

But how do you create an ad that can execute these response elements in only two seconds? That’s the million dollar question we’re about to dig into.

Grab their attention with proven ad formats

Video Ads

Video ads continue to play an increasingly critical role in advertising thanks to their ability to engage potential customers in quick-yet-meaningful ways. Other ads struggle to make the same kind of instant and lasting emotional impression on viewers because people simply prefer videos (especially short videos) to other formats. This is mainly due to the reduced attention spans of modern consumers.

But thanks to the magic of color, light and sound, video ads can easily grab peoples’ attention and make a strong impact in just a matter of seconds. This makes video ads a top priority for advertisers across the board.

Programmatic and OTT/Connected TV

When it comes to video ads, programmatic is the clear choice. In today’s marketplace, nearly 75% of video ads are programmatic. Programmatic ads are able to reach target audiences across channels and devices by using mountains of data to optimize campaigns. Programmatic also offers an assortment of formats like in/out-stream, pre-roll, mid and post-roll, so nearly every internet user can be reached. The effectiveness of programmatic is especially seen when it comes to Connected TV and OTT platforms.

In fact, 59% of ad buyers plan to increase their CTV spend within the next year while 50% plan to increase OTT spending. Programmatic advertising can find and display the perfect video ad to your target audience in the right place at the right time, making it a highly-effective platform that marketers simply cannot afford to ignore.

Which leads us back to the million dollar question: What’s the most effective way to get consumers to connect and/or purchase when you only have two seconds? Pre-roll ads.

Why choose pre-roll ads?

Pre-roll ads are the short promotional videos that play just before the primary content chosen by the viewer begins. Running an ad right before highly-desired content is a savvy move because your audience is usually willing to sit through a brief ad to get to the content they truly want to see. So there’s a pretty good chance they’ll watch a few seconds of your ad, perhaps even the whole thing.

That doesn’t mean you should shorten your ads, however. It just means you should preload your 30-second spots in order to captivate viewers within the first few seconds.

Pre-roll video ads are especially effective across several metrics, including brand awareness, brand engagement, brand likability and purchase intent. Here are three of the biggest benefits of using pre-roll ads:

1. They can target–and then retarget–your viewers, as needed

With pre-roll ads, you have the power to target viewers based on their location, age, gender, etc. And you can also use retargeting to follow them across channels and devices so your ad keeps showing up.

2. They don’t feel like interruptions

Because pre-rolls play before the primary video content, viewers aren’t upset about the wait time or any expectations. Most viewers consider pre-roll ads to be 3.5x less interrupting than mid-rolls and post-rolls.

3. They boost brand awareness

According to a Nielsen study, video ads viewed for less than even one second still saw increased ad recall, brand awareness, and purchase intent. In a media-saturated world of noise and chaos, where attention spans are literally shrinking by the second, it seems pre-roll ads might just be your best bet to be seen, heard or remembered. If nothing else, they’re certainly a very wise move for marketers looking for fresh viewership.

Pre-load, pre-load, pre-load

In today’s information age, there is no doubt that attention marketing is the top of the advertising food chain. Which means one simple thing for marketers hoping to grab as attention with their ads as possible: Don’t. Be. Boring.

If you want your brand message to be seen, to make an impact and to connect emotionally with consumers you can’t cut corners on creativity, sensitivity and/or originality. Create content that’s visually gripping, human-centric, understandable and optimized and your ads will surely catch the eyes of viewers everywhere. Don’t lose your buyer before you begin your pitch, though, so make that initial offer up front to get them hooked!

If you’ve only got two seconds to win a consumer over, you better make them count. And the Genius Monkey team can help you do just that!

Interested in learning more about how Genius Monkey can boost your conversion rates today?

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