How to make sure your YouTube Ad isn’t skipped

Reaching your audience via YouTube is one of the most powerful marketing tools at a company’s disposable. It doesn’t take anything more than the simple recognition of the monetisation and optimisation of their pre-video ads to know that this is true.

Having said that, there are very few of us out there that can say we don’t huff and sigh away at the five seconds it takes before we can hit the ‘Skip Ad’ button and move onto the video we wanted to watch. So, what is the worth in these ads and (more importantly), how do you go about making the unthinkable: the un-skippable YouTube ad.

At first, the idea of creating an advert that will most likely get skipped at the soonest possible point seems crazy. However, you might be surprised to find that in fact, brand recall is increased by 22% even amongst those that are serial ad-skippers. Of course, it’s far better if they would watch the whole thing, but at least there’s some reassurance that even a skippable ad is beneficial. Despite this, creating an ad that doesn’t get skipped is obviously the main objective.

Creating an un-skippable ad can essentially be broken down into three main criteria: capture, brand and action. (Forgive us for the accidental yet sickeningly sweet reference to lights, camera, action). If you are able to harness these key areas, you will be on your way to creating a hyper-watchable YouTube ad. They can be explained as follows:

  • Capture the audience’s attention
  • Brand the video clearly
  • Action the audience into doing what the video is meant for

With a ‘Skip Ad’ ad, you’re looking at anything from 12 seconds to just over a minute, anything more than this and you should work in movies, not advertising. However, if you don’t get the audience’s attention in the first few moments, the rest of the video is pointless. So, how do you capture the audience’s attention from the get-go? Here are two quick tips:

Get your viewers involved: by choosing to approach your YouTube ad from a two-sided angle, you can tempt the viewer into watching the whole video. You can do this by asking them a question from the start (e.g. how many dogs are in this car?), or by inviting them to touch the screen and make it part of your video concept.

Make the ‘Skip Ad’ button obvious: Acknowledging the skip button is nothing new, but it is still effective, if not just for the sheer number of ads that ignore it completely. Incorporating the skip button will make your viewers hesitant to skip but your video concept has to be strong enough to stop them from skipping.

If you’re lucky enough to capture the audience’s attention, you need to think about branding your video. There are a number of ways of doing this, and the most obvious is to incorporate the brand logo. Research shows (from Google, no less) that a brand logo in the first five seconds increases the chances of your ad being skipped. However, brand recall and awareness are also increased with this method. On the flip side, if the branding is gentler in the first five seconds then people were far less likely to skip, but the recall and awareness are decreased. So, it’s clearly about getting the balance right. Our advice (which is also based on almighty Google research) is that if you choose to show the brand logo in the first five seconds, then tie it into your product or service. People are less likely to watch and remember brands when the brand logo is floating around the screen somewhere (plus, it just looks lazy).

Lastly, is the active element. If you’ve managed to keep the viewer watching until the end of the video, anything less than nailing this part makes everything that’s come before it, pointless. The vital part of this is keeping it simple. Make one call to action and stick to, so you can ensure that your viewers know what you want them to do. So, if you want them to book a ticket, say it, if you want them to click for more information, say it. Obviously, there must be an element of creativity which persuades them that it’s worth their time, but that all depends on your video concept.

Creating an ‘unskippable’ YouTube ad takes some doing. The convenience of the ‘Skip Ad’ button is too difficult for most viewers to resist. Essentially, it’s all about making original and exciting content. If you’re stuck for a place to start, hopefully, our guidelines will give you some encouragement.

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