For the average consumer, skipping ads is just another part of searching the web. Years of navigating the internet have solidified this ingrained behavior, and according to research by Magna and IPG Media Lab, 76% of consumers skip ads without even thinking about it.
Over time, skipping ads has become an automatic behavior for consumers, ultimately forcing advertisers to change their content strategies in the hopes of creating lasting impressions. To appease consumers, advertisers may opt for the safety of skippable ads.
But a brand with a desire to connect with its audience and inspire authenticity might be more drawn to a non-skippable ad format. Advertisers, then, have to decide which option is best for their specific purpose while also meeting the needs of their audience.
When Is a Non-Skippable Ad the Right Choice?
If you’re looking to generate an uptick in general brand awareness, non-skippable ads are the best route to take. These longer formats give consumers a taste of your brand or product and establish you in your industry. They need to be engaging and bold, grabbing attention early on with catchy hooks, surprising messages, or creative imagery. If consumers are engaged, they’ll be happy to watch longer ads.
An audience’s acceptance of non-skippable ads also depends on what platform and format they’re using. Because consumers use many channels during their day, an omnichannel approach to choosing ad formats is often most effective.
Take social media, for example. A brand takeover ad on TikTok is an immersive ad experience that appears when the app is opened. The content is non-skippable but lasts only three to five seconds. Compare this to over-the-top media services, where users stream television content via networks or devices. In this format, ads can be longer because that’s the expectation consumers have on that platform.
Additionally, consumers will be more willing to stay engaged with a non-skippable ad when they know how long it will be and what will be covered. Including a countdown means consumers are aware of the time they’ll invest in watching, and it shows that you value their time.
Knowing how to create a successful non-skippable ad campaign is only half the battle. Before giving the green light, it’s best to sit down as a team and discuss whether skippable or non-skippable ads are right for your purpose.
4 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Skippable or Non-Skippable Ads
You want to reap all the benefits of video advertising and use the best video advertising techniques in your playbook, but how do you know whether you’ve chosen the best format for your message? Here’s a checklist of questions to ask before you decide:
1. Is there an emotional element involved?
Non-skippable ads need to be clear and concise to boost brand awareness, but they also need to evoke an emotion from the viewer. It’s an age-old adage, but it’s true: People won’t remember what you said; they’ll remember how you made them feel. If you can give them an ad experience that takes them on an emotional journey, they’ll be more likely to have a positive impression of your brand.
2. Does the ad format match your goal?
If you’re looking to drive conversions, skippable ads may be the best investment. While it seems counterintuitive, the few seconds of pre-skip content is prime time to offer deals and encourage clicks. Non-skippable ads are better used for boosting credibility, brand awareness, or product awareness, not encouraging click-throughs. It also makes sense for a longer, multipart story. Bumper ads on YouTube, for example, can be played sequentially to tell a larger story about your brand in installments.
3. Are you only looking at the completion rate?
A high completion rate does not necessarily equal a successful campaign. In some cases, a non-skippable ad could yield an 80% completion rate, whereas a skippable ad could net only 40%. However, it’s meaningless to compare these figures if your end goal is to engage consumers. A consumer may be highly engaged and still skip an ad or highly disengaged and see it through to the end. Campaigns need to be measured by the overall value they bring to the full marketing strategy, not by their completion rate.
4. Do you have a strong digital strategy?
Digital advertising should be data-driven and targeted precisely to your audience. This becomes even more important when an ad campaign is involved. Using smart video advertising techniques like contextual targeting and sequential messaging will drive home your brand messaging.
You may think that all consumers use the YouTube “skip-ad” button, but in the showdown of non-skippable versus skippable ads, the choice isn’t quite as clear. If you can leverage an omnichannel approach and craft ads that engage the user emotionally, there’s no reason that a non-skippable ad couldn’t be your best bet.