The ‘Skip Ad’ Button: 4 Strategies to Keep Consumers Watching

Back to Blog - by Christina Homer Evra

Current content consumption trends have made advertisers’ jobs more complicated; Whether consumers are presented with an actual “skip ad” button or they are quick to grab their phones, open a new tab, or move to a different platform to avoid ever watching an ad, advertisers now have about five to seven seconds to make a good first impression on consumers. And while consumers engage with ads on certain channels without hitting “skip” as often (completion rates for CTV and OTT come in at about 94%), they don’t on others. Pre-roll and in-stream ads (i.e., on desktop and mobile), for example, come in at only 62%.

Consumers are choosing what to view. When presented with a skip ad button, chances are good that they take you up on the offer. But the fact that they know what they want from their media consumption isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be a benefit.

Addressing ‘Skip Button’ Challenges in Advertising Today

If you can make consumers forget the skip button, your ads are more likely to drive conversions. Although today’s content consumption trends do make this challenging, they don’t make it impossible. Here’s how to find success:

1. Address the creative element.

Skipping ads has become habitual. An IPG survey found 76% of people who hit the skip ad button do so out of ingrained behavior. Brands, then, should focus on telling a story that compels them to behave differently. Showcase your key message within the first 10 seconds of a clip. Keep it creative, captivating, and informative, using a combination of graphics, people, and text. Making it more dynamic helps you capture viewers’ attention.

Beyond that, don’t forget to mention your brand early on. You can expect people to watch only 5.5 seconds of a 15-second spot. Thirty-second ads enjoy longer viewing, but still only 7.4 seconds on average. Also, consider enabling subtitles, which accounts for a major content consumption trend: viewing content with the sound off.

2. Prioritize relevancy.

According to one Twilio Segment study, 44% of consumers would likely take their business elsewhere should a brand fail to deliver personalized experiences. The most creative, informative ad will do nothing to move products if it’s not relevant to the consumer. That skip ad button is just a click away.

Ask yourself, what kind of targeting tactics will best ensure our ads are seen by the ideal customer? What sorts of behavioral data in digital advertising can we use to serve ads at the right time along the consumer journey? What channels do our ideal customers use when consuming content? Is it social media? YouTube? Video game apps?

3. Define your goals.

Digital marketing objectives can do more than make personalized advertising efforts measurable — though this is important. They can help you clarify your ideas, provide direction, and make better use of your resources. So it all comes down to one question: Do you want to improve click or completion rates? A person who clicks isn’t watching the ad until the end, while a person who watches the full ad won’t likely be able to click through.

If clicks are your priority, include a call to action early on. Consider a “click now” bubble at the bottom of the ad throughout the spot and go long — from 30 to 60 seconds — as the click-through rate is often better at an average of 0.15% or more. If you’re looking for higher completion rates, no CTA is needed, but you’ll still want a hook. Start off spots with something that pulls the viewer in. Just make sure to avoid loud music as it may result in the viewer clicking away. Also, keep it short and sweet, as 15-second ads see a 70% higher video completion rate.

4. Tie digital advertising to overall marketing strategy.

A digital ad will rarely seal the deal on its own. Omnichannel strategies are often necessary to keep brands top of mind — and to continue moving consumers down the sales funnel. After all, the more consumers interact with your brand, the more familiar they’ll become with your messaging. With time, they’ll recognize how your product or service can solve whatever needs solving.

Consider a retargeting tactic to support digital advertising. Dynamic segmentation, for example, evaluates 70+ attributes to customize retargeting bids based on real-time buying indications. Let’s say a consumer watches your ad to completion on CTV. Dynamic segmentation would later serve them a follow-up message on another channel to move them closer to a sale.

At the end of the day, today’s consumers want authentic, personalized experiences. Personalized advertising needs to be targeted and compelling to have a chance of breaking the skip ad cycle. Test new ad formats. Try new marketing channels. Once you make an impression, it can be everlasting.

To learn more about how to beat the “skip” problem, get in touch today.

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