In today’s media environment, attention is a valuable and increasingly scarce commodity. Consumers are exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day and switch screens as much as 21 times an hour. The average attention span is eight seconds.
In that light, asking a consumer to sit through a 30-second video ad is asking a lot. Consumers know this, which is why they are more open to the idea if they get something in return.
That’s the gist of some new research MediaMath recently conducted with the Mobile Marketing Association and OpenX in a report titled “The Consumer Engagement Crossroads: Getting consumers to opt in, before they opt-out.” The TL:DR version: most consumers prefer opt-in video ads, which reward them for their time and attention. Marketers who aren’t using the format widely might consider expanding their use.
The clear favorite
The study found that 80 percent of consumers are so dissatisfied with digital advertising that they’re considering ad blockers. That’s largely because the ads they’re seeing are irrelevant. Some 67 percent of respondents said the mobile ads they see are never relevant to them or are not relevant very often. When those mobile ads are relevant, they work very well. Sixty percent have clicked on a mobile ad, and some 20 percent of consumers say they bought something in the last week because they saw a mobile ad.
But not all mobile video ads are created equal. While only 12 percent of consumers said interstitial ads are very good and 19 percent said the same of pre-roll, 30 percent liked opt-in ads. Though marketers don’t use opt-in ads as much as the other formats, nine out of 10 agree it provides a better consumer experience than other ad formats; 80 percent say it offers a better ROI.
Why opt-in ads work so well
Opt-in ads originated in gaming. Usually, consumers opted to watch an ad in exchange for a reward or unlocking a new level. Its applications transcend that category, though. Consumers calculate that their time and attention is worth something. As is the case with their personal data, many are fine with trading their attention to get something in return. The research showed that more than 50 percent of consumers would be willing to watch ads up to 60 seconds long for discounts from retailers, premium video content and more. Some 77 percent of consumers would watch a 30-second ad to get a discount from a retailer.
Opt-in ads work so well because they give consumers control. By using the format, marketers communicate to consumers that they recognize that their time is important. The format is a rare win-win in the current media environment that both marketers and consumers find amenable. Combined with effective targeting, consumers may find such ads not only tolerable, but welcome.