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Ben Jones, Google's creative director, was in charge of the
video tests and is working with brands to implement some of the
findings. He was also featured in
Ad Age's digital innovators list.
The online video space is exploding with places to run video
ads, but the brands and agencies are still trying to understand
what's different about the digital space compared with television.
They can't just run their 30- or 60-second spots from TV and hope
that gets people to stick around on their smartphones.
The point of the tests was to see how ads might perform if
creative choices were made with mobile environments in mind as
opposed to desktop, or even TV. The average completion rate for the
average video ad on mobile devices is 22%, according to Google. On
desktop, it's 28%. The best-performing video in the test, one in
which fast pacing was the dominant factor, achieved a 33%
"view-through" rate on mobile., Google said.
Here is what Google found.
This test took one video with a slow pace, drawn-out dialog and
longer shots, and compared it with a fast-cut of the same ad. The
faster version led to a view-through rate of 35% on mobile, while
the slower version had a 29% view-through rate. On desktop, the
faster version had a 33% view-through rate, compared with 31% for
the slow version.
This test tried an ad shot for vertical video, which is becoming a
common format within apps like Snapchat, and compared it with a
horizontal ad. Snapchat has found on its platform vertical leads to
higher view-through rates. Google said it found no such success --
horizontal performed better. The horizontal video had a 29%
view-through rate on mobile, and the vertical had a 27%
Captions on and
In one test for captions, viewers saw subtitles and in another they
didn't. Showing the dialog in text is something brands have been
playing with, because often they don't know if the ads will run
with sound on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The subtitled
video performed slightly better with a 23% view-through rate on
mobile versus a 22% rate for the non-subtitle video. Desktop saw
similar results, too.
This test featured the subtitled video and compared it with a video
that used supplemental text, which is when the words are used more
creatively to boost the overall story, not just to translate the
dialog. The supplemental text is becoming popular on digital video,
adding extra layers to storytelling and delivering more information
in a shorter period of time. That performed the best with a 26%
view-through rate on mobile compared with 25% for the straight
captions. Desktop saw similar results, too.