Facebook Says People are OK with Video Ads that Interrupt Content, As Long As They Are Short

According to Facebook no two formats are equal in terms of effectiveness. “These days people talk a lot about the second screen, but it’s not clear anymore which screen we’re talking about,” said Mark Rabkin, Facebook’s VP of Ads and Business Platform. That reality means that advertisers need to measure different ad formats differently.

People’s attention wanes the fastest in feeds, like on Facebook or Twitter, since an ad is merely one piece of content among many – so the bar for capturing attention is high. But feeds are likely to help forge deeper connections if an ad quickly communicates a message or grabs people’s attention, says Facebook, offering massive scale and reach.

According to Facebook, most people are comfortable with pre-roll and mid-roll video ads they can’t skip, as long as the videos aren’t too long.

A majority of people watch such ads until completion; more than 70% do so for Facebook’s own midroll ads. Facebook says that advertisers can take advantage of these high completion rates by getting to the point quickly: 6-seconds and 15-seconds are emerging as standards for video ads, says the company’s research.

As for unskippable ads, people have become accustomed on tapping on the skip-button as soon as it pops us and zapping through the creative. So, advertisers should consider the first five seconds, what Facebook calls the “pre-skip portion” as an independent high-reach ad placement, and focus on the rest to provide more information to people who have demonstrated their interest.

Facebook, for its part, is urging advertisers to rethink mobile advertising, by pushing out shorter, more attention-grabbing ads in a variety of different creative formats.


Dua, T. (2018, January 5). Facebook Says People are OK with Video Ads that Interrupt Content, as Long as They Are ShortBusiness Insider.

ARF Women in Analytics: Gender Equality: Your Career, Your Future

Despite progress, women are still underrepresented in senior management. In fact, in corporate America, women fall behind early and keep losing ground with every step.

Why? Key reasons include women being blocked from:

Participating in meaningful meetings,
Receiving challenging assignments,
Having access to senior leaders.
The result?

Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager,
Fewer women ending up on a senior path.
Why should companies care? More gender diversity in the workforce will lead to stronger organizations, and that’s good for employees as well as for companies.

Click on the link to view the 4-minute video featuring comments from several speakers: Women in Analytics.

Event program featured:

  • Shelley Zalis (CEO, The Female Quotient), on gender equality in advertising.
  • Jane Clarke (Managing Partner, CIMM) and Mary Ann Packo (CEO, Kantar Gold Rush), on the role of women pioneers in the workplace.
  • Lynnette Cooke (Global CEO, Kantar Health), “Early in my career they would ask me to scribe and take notes or go to the easel. The excuse was that you because of your handwriting was so much better! Later on it was easy to just say ‘no.'”
  • Lorraine Hack (Partner, Heidrick & Struggles), “Expand your network … go broader because that’s when you increase your perspective, and perhaps a chance for another job …”

The Value of Media Environment in Engaging Digital Display Audiences

Editor’s Note: This paper from David Bassett and Mike Follett from Lumen Research was selected as Best Paper at the 2017 PDRF (Publishing and Data Research Forum) international conference in Madrid.

At the 2015 PDRF conference, along with Andrew Green (IPSOS), David Bassett (Lumen Research) presented findings on attention to print advertising from our paper Engagement as Visual Attention: A New Story for Publishers. Drawing on eye-tracking data collected from Lumen’s weekly press omnibus, Lumen Research presented statistics on the typical levels of attention Press ads achieve, highlighted the role editorial plays in delivering attention for advertisers, and went on to argue that the emerging scalability of eye-tracking provides a good option for measuring the thorny concept of reader engagement.

In this year’s paper, Bassett updated the conference with some new data Lumen has collected on attention to digital advertising together with our partners Aimia.

As the data accumulates though, there is one overwhelming conclusion of pivotal significance for both publishers and advertisers: media environment is critical to engaging audiences with advertising—and to an extent often overlooked and undervalued by current media markets.

The Reality of Digital Ad Attention: Cutting Through is Tough. The headline stats on attention to display advertising are sobering. It’s well known that digital advertising has viewability issues, with only around half of banner ads meeting the IAB standard of 50% of the ad being in view for at least 1 second. What is less well appreciated is that viewability far from guarantees attention. Over all the ad impressions we have recorded among our panelists, 66% of them were “viewable”. But among these, only 18% were noticed at all; 82% were completely missed, not recording a single moment when the user’s eyes were fixated on them. Overall, that means only 12% of all impressions are actually seen.

It’s worth contrasting this with data on press. Here, there are much higher levels of attention, with 73% of “viewable” ads being seen (in the sense that 73% of ads are seen when people are reading the double page spread with the ad on). Not only are digital display impressions less likely to be viewed than press, but the dwell times people spend with the advertising is also lower. Lumen Research newspaper data shows that on average people spend 2.2 seconds looking at Press Ads, around which there is a large variation. 41% of viewable press ads are seen for a least a second, with 7% seen for more than 5 seconds. That might not sound like a huge amount, but it is much higher than we see for digital display, where the average dwell time is just 1.2 seconds.

A quick look at advertising in context across these channels is also instructive. Compare the following images and it’s easy to see why digital display advertising is usually less noticed than press (see the examples in the link). Press ads are just much bigger things, and not so easy to put out of view. Another factor is less obvious: Press ads “load” at the same time as the content, whereas digital ads experience latency.

Bassett, D. (2017, December). The Value of Media Environment in Engaging Digital Display AudiencesPublishing and Data Research Forum.

The Celebrity Power of Music in Advertisements

Dr. Bradly Vines, Director Neuroscience Europe at Nielsen writes that influencer marketing is one of the industry’s trendy flavors. Connecting consumers with brands through the voices (and images and videos) of celebrities. Or through anyone with influence. Our recent research, however, reveals that there’s an old-school component to ads that acts much like an influencer: music.

Neuroscience shows us that, when used correctly, music can put viewers and listeners in a more positive mood, leading to a greater reliance on intuition and a reduction in both critical thought and focus on detail. This “fluid processing” is an ideal state of mind for processing advertising that brands should be seeking when communicating with consumers.

The familiarity that consumers feel with some music also helps to engage memory frameworks, bringing to the brand familiar and positive associations already in place in the minds of consumers. Of course, not all familiarity is positive familiarity. The wrong music can trigger associations that are not in line with core brand values and can overshadow the brand if it is the wrong song, or it may even date the communication.

A value, like trust, can be difficult to communicate and measure with traditional research tools. Much of the perception of trust is nonconscious, so measuring it accurately can only be derived with technology that can measure the nonconscious impact.

It’s no secret that music licenses can be expensive. Brands, of course, want to know whether such an investment will be worth the return. Another client, this time one of our beverage clients, wanted to test such a scenario. In short, would a well-known pop song be worth significantly greater investment than a song created just for the ad? It was a quarter-million-dollar question for the brand team.

Using the tools of neuroscience, Vines found that the pop song increased attention, emotion and memory by 20 percent. Additionally, the neurological wear-in score showed that the pop song delivered a significant increase in effectiveness over multiple viewings, meaning that consumers engaged more with the ad the more they viewed and heard it. In Vines’ experience, this is a difficult feat to accomplish!

The important takeaway is that every situation, every ad and every brand is different. Our brains will react differently to different songs in different contextual environments. But only when you can access this deep layer of thinking can you truly understand – how does sound influence us? And that is a question worth answering.

Source: Vines, B., Dr. (2017, November 29). The Celebrity Power of Music in AdvertisementsNielsen.

Adweek Presents: Great Advertising in Print and Outdoor in 2017

Editor’s Note: Two articles from Adweek and Dropbox featuring “Best of 2017” creative, showing examples and commentary on these exemplary ads. Both are from Tim Nudd, creative editor of Adweek and editor of AdFreak, Adweek’s daily blog.

Nudd, T. (2017, December 13). Print Isn’t Dead! These 7 Great Ads Showed the Medium at Its Best in 2017Adweek.

Nudd, T. (2017, December 14). 13 Brilliant Outdoor Ads That Stopped People in Their Tracks in 2017Adweek.

Netflix and Spotify Ask: Can Data Mining Make for Cute Ads?

Last week, Netflix decided to have some holiday fun courtesy of its user data. So the streaming service took to Twitter to pose the question, “To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?”

The tweet was meant to be an entertaining jab at a cheesy holiday film that the company released last month. But while many saw the humor, others were creeped out by the specificity of the information, with some complaining that Netflix appeared to be using its data in a flip manner that mocked some customers.

It’s no secret that companies, especially those born in the digital age, are amassing deep and detailed troves of information on the habits and preferences of their consumers. For streaming services, that data fuels the recommendations. But companies are also taking a bit of a risk when they turn those findings into marketing, whether through conversational social media posts or advertisements from Spotify with lines like “Take a page from the 3,445 people who streamed the ‘Boozy Brunch’ playlist on a Wednesday this year.”

A message that one person might see as clever and unexpected can just as easily be seen by another as an ominous reminder that Big Data is often lurking just around the corner.

Netflix emphasized that the use of data to better serve users was a main part of its business and that its behavioral data was collected anonymously. The company has frequently shared interesting information about viewers’ habits in the past, said Jonathan Friedland, a Netflix spokesman. He added that last week’s tweet might have inspired an intense reaction in part because “it was brought down to an individual level as opposed to a broader trend level.” But he pointed out that Netflix does not use customer data to sell ads on its platform, as Google and Facebook do, or sell it to other entities.

Source: Maheshwari, S. (2017, December 17). Netflix and Spotify Ask: Can Data Mining Make for Cute Ads?  The New York Times.

How the Ad Community’s Media Behaviors Became America’s “Norms”

via the VAB (Video Advertising Bureau and Research Now)

The goal was to investigate how the advertising community compares to the general public and explore their perceptions about ‘typical’ American media behavior. Research Now surveyed 254 respondents in February who were currently employed full time at a media, full service or digital / social agency or as a marketer / advertiser at a brand.

Respondents were asked to provide two separate responses to media consumption questions: “What do you do…” (self-reported) and “What do you think an average American does…” (estimated).

The survey compared the advertiser responses to the general population’s “real” media consumption based on third-party syndicated research. Among the key findings:

  • The average adult spends double the time watching TV than estimated by most media professionals
  • Media professionals vastly overestimated how much time is actually spent watching video on a computer and how much time is actually spent by the average adult watching video on mobile devices (adult viewing is overwhelmingly via TV sets)
  • There were other misconceptions about consumers’ use of connectivity, early adoption, ownership of connected TV’s (all overstated)

View the full report

What Does ‘Attribution’ Mean?

a commentary on modeling | via AdExchanger (source: Matt Voda – CEO at OptiMine)

Some believe attribution is all about identifying the magic sequence of ads and touch points that unlock the customer conversion. Others may define attribution as assigning a special weight to an ad based on a fractional formula. Throw in some murky terminology, such as “top-down,” “bottom-up” or “u-shaped,” and you can see how the topic can inspire confusion.

In some regards, this may just be a symptom of a nascent, emerging field. Market confusion precedes the coalescence and convergence around best practices, methodologies, and standardized terminology. Only after these key steps does a mature market begin to take shape.

On the methodology point, there is an overreliance in the market on the notion that the only way to achieve attribution is to track every customer across every device, for every ad in the mix. Not only is this impossible, it ignores the millions of reasons that have nothing to do with advertising that compel a customer to make a purchase.

Factors like hidden needs, personal beliefs, the power of the brand promise, the economy and even the day’s weather can all drive purchases in ways that are more impactful than ads. Missing these elements can cause harm by overassigning credit to an ad that may have had zero value or by undervaluing harder-to-track marketing efforts that boosted awareness or pre-purchase education.

Agile, action-oriented marketers may rush to certain attribution “answers,” but a dose of definition upfront is best in this case. Marketers should start with a more general definition of attribution that gets to the overall, essential goal: measuring the value of the impact or contribution a marketing campaign or an individual ad has on an outcome.

Read entire article on AdExchanger

What Low Response Rates Mean for Telephone Surveys

via Pew Research (A detailed report is available via the link below)

Telephone polls still provide accurate data on a wide range of social, demographic, and political variables, but some weaknesses persist. After decades of decline, the response rates for telephone polls like those conducted for Pew Research Center have stabilized in recent years to around 9% (see table below).


Telephone poll estimates for party affiliation, political ideology, and religious affiliation continue to track well with estimates from high response rate surveys conducted in-person, e.g. General Social Survey. So even at low response rates, telephone surveys that include interviews via landlines and cellphones, and that are adjusted to match the demographic profile of the U.S., can produce accurate estimates for political attitudes.

The fact is that national polls (in 2016) were actually quite accurate. Collectively, they indicated that Clinton had about a 3 percentage point lead nationally and she ultimately won the popular vote by 2 points. Furthermore, according to a new report, there are clear reasons why national polls as a group fared better than state polls. For instance, national polls were much more likely than state polls to adjust for respondent education level in their weighting, which proved critically important in the 2016 election.

Live interviewer phone polls now represent a minority share of all polling conducted in the U.S. Online polls and automated (Interactive Voice Response) polls, or combinations of the two, are collectively more common and tend to have significantly lower response rates. Response rates to online opt-in surveys are so low as to be incomputable because far more internet users are invited to join opt-in survey panels (or to take one-off online surveys) than actually do so.

Read entire article on Pew Research

Connected Consumers Enjoy More Than Just Digital

via Kantar

The Kantar DIMENSION report is an analysis of 5,213 connected adults (ages 18+) across the U.S., Brazil, China, France and the UK. Connected adults in this study are defined as those who have access to the internet via both a PC/laptop (at home or work) and a personally owned smartphone or tablet.

According to the survey, traditional media isn’t going away. Indeed, almost half of the “connected adults” we surveyed stated that while they access online media forms at least once a day, they are also reading, viewing and listening to media via their established formats.

97% reported that they watch TV on a TV set, mirroring the dominance of the established format that is observed repeatedly in audience measurement studies all over the world. This is not to suggest that our sample never view TV on any other device. 73% of them say they view TV online and 70% of them do so via a mobile device, but they also still access the medium through the TV set. It’s an ‘and’ not an ‘or’.

Print tells a similar ‘and’ story. 83% say they read news and articles in printed newspapers, while 84% read magazines in print.

These consumers are however also accessing news and articles online. Indeed, 93% read articles online and 84% on mobile devices – an indication of the ubiquity of smartphones and of their growing importance to advertisers.

71% of consumers surveyed agree that they sometimes see the same ad over and over again and that it gets too repetitive. In the U.S. specifically, 27% say they always use ad blocker software.

In comparison, 75% of those surveyed had positive attitudes towards offline advertising – agreeing that they like it generally and it can be enjoyable. 80% of the connected adults surveyed say they tolerate or generally like ads within printed newspapers.

Read entire article on Kantar >>

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