Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown, thinks consumers should be in it for the long haul…

A few weeks ago, Kantar Millward Brown hosted a webinar titled ‘Create digital ads that drive brand growth’. Tip number one was to “Make people feel something” and tip two is closely related: “Stand out at the start”.

Nigel Hollis

Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown, Nigel Hollis

Yes, with digital video you must engage emotions quickly

The idea that you need to achieve engagement fast is well founded. With skippable video formats, viewers will skip as soon as the option presents itself. In an analysis conducted last year, Kantar Millward Brown found that by the 15-second mark, on average only just over a third of the initial audience remained, dropping to around a quarter by the end of the video.

The variation was huge, not just by creative but by primary reason for visiting the video site, and age (16 to 19-year-olds are far less likely to hang in there).

Just how valuable are these ads?

Findings like these cause senior marketers like P&G’s Mark Pritchard to challenge the industry into delivering better results. In a keynote at dmexco, Pritchard suggested that low engagement cannot just be solved with shorter ads, stating:

What this did was raise a deeper question: if you look at it through the lens of the consumer, just how valuable are these ads? We can make a two-second ad work, and we do, but surely we can do better than that.

Yes, we can, but not without deep knowledge of the target audience. We must also recognize that the challenge is not just in reaching people, but also engaging them.

Digital ads need to earn attention just like any other medium, but the bar is set far higher.

We know that some video content can retain audiences better than the norm, on average retaining over half their audience by the 15-second mark, even among impatient Gen Z. How do they do that?

There are darker ways to ensure viewers don’t skip your ads…

By matching the content to the interests and values of a target audience and by making sure it’s apparent within the first few seconds that the ad offers something of interest. This requires more than just a creative idea –  it requires the right idea – and crafting its execution in order to ensure the final video creates a sense of anticipation.

Use all the consumer insight data you have available

This will help you understand what interests your audience, what they feel they are missing, and what they might respond to if they knew it existed.

Use multiple sources of qualitative and quantitative insight, and then test the final content before its distribution. Do that, and the chances your digital ads hold an audience and generate sales will improve dramatically – otherwise, you might as well place your brand next to a cat and shoot some video on your phone. Someone will look at it for a few seconds.

Ultimately, digital success still comes down to offering the audience something they find remarkable, inspirational, or useful – but what do you think?


Andrew Hodges

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Andrew Hodges

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