digital video


The ARF Knowledge Center provides secondary research services for ARF and ARF-MSI members on a broad range of topics. Analysis of ARF member questions posed to the Knowledge Center in 2023 shows distinct trends and interests posed by different constituent members. As always, most questions tend to be specific to the unique business needs of each member, but there were some overarching trends, which highlight the evolving landscape of the marketing and advertising industry. This FAQ discusses these trends alongside sample member questions and Knowledge Center research reports.

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AI Driven Video Formats Drive Results for Brands

Tori KangYouTube Specialist, Google

Danielle PerrellaHead of Measurement, Google

Tori Kang and Danielle Perrella from Google talked about AI from a media and video perspective with a summary of the overall landscape and an examination of how AI delivers on its promise in the ways it is working within Google’s YouTube. Tracing video’s effectiveness through the consumer funnel, Tori noted how the accelerating consumer complexity in viewing habits requires marketers to be more agile in navigating audience fragmentation, and AI’s capabilities are able to do the heavy lifting by saving time, optimizing efficiency and improving performance. Danielle illustrated how Google’s AI mechanism, Video Reach Campaigns, measured up against manually optimized campaigns and traditional YouTube formats in comparing ROAS and incremental sales. Key takeaways:
  • In improving reach and efficiency compared to manually optimized YouTube video campaigns, a Bubly case study showed using AI delivered 33% more reach at a 64% lower CPM.
  • Implementing AI earned an average ROAS 3.7x (+271%) higher than, and drove more than double the incremental sales (+111%) of, manually optimized YouTube video campaigns.
  • Identifying areas for optimization by finding inefficiencies, defining how AI can answer critical business questions and evaluating how AI can improve key metrics are the key questions for considering how AI should be integrated into a media plan.

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Sonic Branding is Back

The use of specific sounds, audio cues and music for branding is nothing new — it has been employed since radio became a mass medium. But as many marketers are rediscovering, sonic branding researchers are exploring best practices for today’s media environment.

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AI Facilitates Product Placements

AI makes it easy to place products into video content and make those digital insertions look more realistic than ever. This is likely to further increase product placements – a good reason to revisit the research that provides insights on how to make them effective.

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Inside the Journal of Advertising Research: Sonic Branding, ASMR Engagement, and Who Wins in Activist Messaging?


At this Insights Studio, researchers in Europe, the U.K. and the U.S. presented work in relatively new fields that have high-impact potential for the advertising industry. Starting with a forthcoming paper on sonic branding, the authors described their ground-breaking framework for measuring the implicit effects of sonic branding using music to manipulate visual scenes in video, film and TV. Next, a deep dive into autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)—a sensory-inducing device in ads—included strategies for helping brands collaborate with successful ASMR influencers. Lastly, a preview of an article to be published in the March Prosocial Advertising Special Issue showed how brand activism influences attitudes and purchase intentions, revealing a credibility gap between established activist brands and brands emerging in that space. Taking questions from Paul and from attendees, panelists in the concluding Q&A explored links between sonic branding and ASMR, the demographics of ASMR followers, ways for emergent activist brands to close the credibility gap with established activist brands, and future research possibilities.

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If You Stream It, They Will Come: Marketing Through Streaming Platforms

  • MSI

Livestreaming platforms and social shopping in general have grown into marketing channels that can be very lucrative for several different categories. However, livestreaming stands apart from “normal” social media in the fact that influencers are less reliant on corporate sponsors, as they have their own customer base that they rely on. So, how can marketers be successful within these channels? This Marketing Science Institute (MSI) working paper illustrates what forces are at play with livestreaming and how to balance them for the benefit of all parties.

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Influencer Partners a Must for Branded ASMR Content


How can brand managers maximize their engagement with tingle-inducing ASMR videos? A new study, recently published in the Journal of Advertising Research, offers evidence that brands risk being perceived as “inauthentic intruders” when advertising within ASMR communities. They should instead consider collaborating with ASMR influencers, especially those who are highly visible and/or terrific at building emotional connections with viewers.

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Trends in Media Use

A number of presentations at the recent ARF OTT 2023 conference documented the unprecedented rapidity of change in media use in the current era. Here are findings and conclusions from several of the presentations.    Read more »

OTT 2023 Conference

As the media landscape continues to evolve at, arguably, the fastest rate ever, the meaning of OTT has changed from “Over-the-Top” to include video content on all platforms. The ARF’s 2023 OTT conference, held last month in LA, was about “OTT and Beyond.” Read more »