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The art, science and brilliance of engaging video ad creative

Rebecca Waring

VP insights & solutions

Les Seifer

vice president, head of creative

Marketers, you’ve got five days for consumers to watch your video on social

Rates of engagement with video ads drop off significantly after just a few days

Marketers have only a small window of time in which to capture audience attention and drive meaningful engagement – before ad fatigue sets in and views and conversions drop off, according to exclusive new data from QuickFrame. Here’s what marketers need to know.

Our feeds are overflowing with video, and it’s estimated that, by 2022, online videos will account for over 82% of all consumer internet traffic – a 15-fold jump from 2017. What’s more, video increasingly represents a critical component of an effective marketing strategy. A 2020 survey by Biteable found that nearly 70% of marketers say that video sees a better return on investment than Google Ads – and 61% view video as a ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ part of their marketing strategy. Long story short: video advertising is accelerating.

But while investment in video advertising grows, something else is happening: consumers are growing increasingly weary of these ads, according to exclusive data from video-as-a-service platform QuickFrame. In fact, if a Facebook or Instagram user doesn’t watch an ad within the first five days of its launch, you’re in trouble.

This message is about to self destruct

After a year gauging the performance of 2,900 videos on Facebook and Instagram, QuickFrame recognized four undeniable trends:

  1. Video views are highest within the first five days of a campaign. On average, video completion rates max out on day five, and then rapidly taper off with an average decrease in delivery by 5% day-over-day.

  2. Things get worse after eight days. In the first eight days of a video ad campaign, 64% of users will stop and watch at least 25% of a video — and 1.5% of them will complete the entire video. However, after the eight-day mark, viewership declines sharply. By day 14, viewership begins to decline by a rate of 3% each day. This means that marketers need to optimize their creative to garner as much engagement as possible within the first week or so of a campaign.

  3. The likelihood of completing a sale wanes after two weeks. Sales and conversions are highest within the first 14 days of a campaign. On average, 0.32% of consumers will convert in the first 14 days. After the two-week mark, however, conversions decline dramatically and cost per acquisition (CPA) jumps by 18%.

  4. Marketers have just three days to convince viewers to download an app. In the first three days of a video campaign, audiences are willing to download apps if they are encouraged to do so in the ads. However, after about three days, the rate of installs drops off sharply, and cost per impression spikes. And over the course of a 30-day campaign average, install rates drop by 33%.

Ad blindness, privacy concerns and other headwinds

While marketers today increasingly put out platform-specific and audience-specific ads, there is still too much content to keep up with. The average user has accounts on more than eight different social media platforms.

“A big reason that ad fatigue has increased is the proliferation of all the different platforms,” says QuickFrame’s chief revenue officer Spencer Weinman. “In years past, a brand would create one video, likely for broadcast, and use that video on other platforms. And as a user, I would go online and say, ‘Oh, I saw that ad ten different times.’ And it kind of creates ‘ad blindness’.”

The ‘anti-ad’ trend has only been accelerated by growing demand for data privacy – which significantly limits marketers’ ability to serve targeted ads to audiences. “The trend of ‘We hate ads’ from consumers has continued, and that impacts the entire industry,” says Mostafa ElBermawy, chief executive of performance marketing agency NoGood. “Most of the players in big tech, including Apple, Facebook and Google, are becoming more privacy-focused – [even though they] rely on ads as a primary source of revenue.” Increasingly, he says, big tech will need to find ways to diversify revenue streams in light of growing demand for data privacy.

And while marketers are increasingly investing in platform- and even audience-specific ads, the problem of consumers encountering the same ads over and over again furthers their disenchantment. Though automated tools on platforms like Facebook exist to intelligently monitor the frequency at which ads are served (QuickFrame’s Weinman says that Facebook “is one of the better optimization platforms” in this regard), the problem may still arise.

That’s why marketers shouldn’t rely on these automated tools to eliminate such problems, but should invest in creating better experiences for audiences, says Ken Weiner, chief technology officer at contextual intelligence firm GumGum. “As an industry, we really haven’t been putting the consumer experience first – resulting in consumers having frustrating experiences with digital ads, including seeing the same ad over and over again, ads appearing in the middle of the sentence of the content they are watching [and other issues],” he says. “In order to make digital video ads more effective and less annoying, we need to adopt new innovative approaches in how to deliver video ads.”

Audience-specific content, in particular, will help keep ads relevant to viewers – an issue that remains top-of-mind for many experts. “It’s not that consumers don’t like ads, it is just that when they are served an ad that isn’t relevant to them, disrupts the environment they are in, or they see the same ad over and over again, it becomes irritating,” GumGum’s Weiner says. “The ad for the shoes you bought yesterday following you around the internet is a waste of money for the marketer and is a distraction for the consumer.”

Contextual advertising is a potentially effective way to improve relevance, according to Weiner. “[It’s] about understanding the environment the consumer is in and aligning the ad to that specific environment so that it is a seamless and non-intrusive experience. Sophisticated contextual intelligence technology can understand the environment the consumer is in and help to place a relevant ad that will enhance the consumer’s experience rather than hinder it.”

Additionally, investing in more frequent, lower-cost creative is more effective than investing more time and resources into producing one show-stopping spot, says QuickFrame’s Weinman. “Instead of investing six or seven figures in every piece of video that you create, you’re probably better off, for example, creating 10 pieces of video content for what used to be the price of one.”

Facebook declined to comment for this article.

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