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Can Advertising Reduce User Engagement?

You’re at home, sitting on the sofa, watching some videos online. It’s been a long day, and you have earned this time to yourself. Then there it is, you’re favorite video, and then…a mandatory two-minute ad. Didn’t you come online to escape (in part) the ads of conventional television?

Advertising can be enigmatic – it is one of the best ways to inform consumers of your company’s product, while simultaneously existing as one of their biggest headaches. It seems anything is fair game to evade ads, from muting them on TV to integrating an AdBlock software with your browser. This begs the question of whether an ad, and it’s placement, can by its very nature reduce consumer engagement?

Insofar as the content of an ad is considered, some themes once believed to be “tried and tested” foundations of Madison Avenue are now being reconsidered on moral and effectiveness grounds. The Wall Street Journal reported how Madonna Badger, co-founder of Badger & Winters, vowed in a speech presented at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year that her agency would cease the origination of ads which objectify women. She encourages her peers in the industry to follow suit. Citing a study conducted by her agency and Girls Lounge, a partnering organization, she concluded that ads which hypersexualize women can be “disastrous to your brand’s reputation and extremely damaging to purchasing intent” let alone morally repugnant.  

Consumer values becoming more influential in ad creation and effectiveness are not the only details affecting the changing nature of advertising. A recent paper published by Stanford University’s Graduate School for Business investigated how Facebook users interact with ad content. The researchers determined:

Our analysis shows that brand personality-related content, such as emotional and philanthropic content, has a strong positive impact on engagement. This suggests that firms gain from sharing their brand personality and information about their social initiatives on social media. Further, we find that directly informative content has a negative impact on social media engagement, but certain informative content induce higher clickthroughs. Thus, brand personality-related content primarily drives engagement and seems key for long term brand building, while directly informative content drives direct-response and seems key to performance marketing. This presents a challenge to marketers who seek to build a large following on social media and who seek to leverage that following to disseminate information about new products and promotions…

Based on their conclusions, the researchers posit “One takeaway from our study is that these strategies work when directly informative content is combined with brand personality-related content to balance reach and engagement on the platform.” Of the existing media to transmit the ad to consumers, an eMarketer survey concluded that video ads are the best resource to reach consumers.

NPAW’s award winning YOUBORA Analytics platform and its SmartAds module are uniquely equipped track and report on how your content is affected by ads, as well as how end-users interact with those ads to evaluate audience impact. With SmartAds, content providers can increase the quality and effectiveness of their ad campaigns, and control the placement of each ad with real time metrics. As our Product VP Alberto Gomez said, “The problem we found is the significant mismatch between the Quality of Experience (QoE) in advertising and the QoE in content, causing a disruptive experience impacts the audience. With SmartAds we will not only spot the experience mismatch and the audience impact, but we will also provide visibility on the performance of your advertising strategy, regardless if it’s Live or VoD.” Consumer tastes are changing, and so is how they obtain video content. Stay ahead of the curve.

Just another thing to think about from us here at NPAW.  

James Noeker on August 25th 2016

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