Some common video patterns were observed:
- Participants watched content, but turned to companion media
- Participants multitasked with companion media at all
- Participants displayed relatively consistent viewing, but
exhibited low emotional or intellectual engagement.
The study, conducted this spring at the IPG Media Lab in Los
Angeles, tracked 48 adult participants. The participants reflected
the general population of regular consumers of online video.
Participants watched 30 minutes of TV video in the Lab's living
room and 30 minutes of video on a desktop PC in an office scenario.
Participants were contacted ahead of time to make sure that their
video content preferences were available to them (e.g. shows
pre-recorded on the DVR and bookmarked to favorite video websites).
Participants were also instructed to bring and use whatever devices
or distractions they normally use when they are watching video.
Using the biometric tool Affectiva, participants'
"face-towards-screen" was calculated frame by frame. Affectiva was
also used to monitor emotional and intellectual engagement. All
content was time-stamped to correlate attention to the content on
display at that moment.
It was found that simply turning one's head to ignore video ads
had far greater impact than DVR fast-forwarding is assumed to have.
Magna Global estimates that 35% of U.S. households have DVRs and
10% of their total TV consumption is time shifted, within which 65%
of ads are fast forwarded, meaning 35% x 10% x 65% = 2% of total TV
ad impressions are avoided through fast forwarding. Our study found
that 63% of TV impressions were avoided simply by not paying
attention to the screen.
Content watched online had slightly higher attention levels than
content watched on TV (60% vs. 52%). TV attention levels had three
times the drop-off of video when the programming went to commercial
break. As a result, online video ads received 18% more attention
than TV video ads (55% vs. 37%).
Attention levels were also correlated with advertising recall.
Ads that had both aided and unaided recall had higher attention
levels than unremembered ads. Online video ads had an even higher
advantage than TV video ads for ad recall. Online ads had 1.8 times
aided and 1.5 times unaided recall as TV video ads.
Both genders paid relatively equal attention to online and TV
video content and ads. However, women were more likely to recall
the ads to which they were exposed. Ad attention dropped off the
longer an ad was on screen.
When participants did use the DVR to fast forward TV ads, nearly
half of them paid full attention to the screen during that process.
Fast-forwarded ads had 12% more attention levels than
non-fast-forwarded ads. Despite the advantage of eyes on screen,
fast-forwarded ads had much lower recall than non-fast-forwarded
As overall time spent watching TV and online video continues to
grow, the steady creep of ubiquitous connectivity is profoundly
changing video viewing behavior. The challenge is not moving one's
thumb to push fast-forward, but rather moving one's head to look at
their smartphone. Online video, with a less predictable cadence and
an active user experience, does a significantly better job at
holding attention. While distraction media is a threat to the value
of video advertising, it also represents an opportunity to deliver
a deeper companion experience to the on-screen content and ads. The
consumers have the tools; it's up to the industry to give them
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Monahan is the
exec VP of IPG Media Lab.