Opt-in Video Ads Engage Users Eight Times More than Auto-play Ads

Hal Conick
Marketing Insights
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Key Takeaways
​What? Full-screen video ads that interrupt ad interplay may annoy users, but ads users can opt into may actually increase engagement. 

So what? Opt-in ads will become a standard format for in-app advertising in the next few years, says Ari Brandt, CEO and co-founder of MediaBrix.
Now what? Brands must approach mobile as the consumer’s domain, which they must receive permission to enter with ads. 
​Oct. 4, 2016

Opt-in ads earn brands increased face-time and better recall from consumers

Do full-screen video ads in apps annoy users? Not if the users opt to watch them, according to a new study.

Embedded, opt-in ads within apps saw eight times more mental engagement, three-times more time spent with the brand and a higher brand recall than the usual interstitial video ads, according to a study released by MediaBrix, a mobile ad firm. The study, undertaken by neuromarketing organizations True Impact and Neurons Inc., tested the reaction of users to ads in two different delivery formats. 

“Our study shows users not only prefer opt-in ads over interstitials, but they also engage with and comprehend them better,” says Ari Brandt, CEO and cofounder of MediaBrix. “Brands are beginning to understand that, so there is a clear, emerging trend of them turning to opt-in ad formats. We believe it should, and will, become a standard format for in-app advertising in the next few years.”

Looking to tell your brand’s story in an engaging way? Visit Brand Storytelling 2016 in Washington, D.C., an AMA face-to-face training series, November 2-3.

Study Statistics 

One key finding from the study shows that full-page video interstitial ads, or those that cover the interface of the host app, triggered “fight-or-flight responses” at twice the rate of embedded opt-in ads. Interstitial ad viewers spent 22% of their time looking for the “X” button to escape the ad.

Source: "Neuro Research Brand Receptivity in Mobile"

Other findings from the study include:

  • ​Close to 90% of viewers watched the full 30-second opt-in ad, compared with 25% of interstitial viewers.
  • Embedded ads see eight-times the engagement of interstitial ads.
  • The product was remembered 73% of the time in opt-in ads compared with 40% of interstitial ads.
  • Interstitial ad viewers had four times the “feeling of motivation,” according to neurometric measures within the study.

Are Opt-in Ads the Future of Mobile?

Brandt notes that ad-blocking is less of a concern in app-based video ads right now, but taking a user-first approach may work as a preventative measure of keeping them out entirely.

“When a brand acknowledges a user’s state of mind, asks permission to engage and adds value to their experience, there's no reason to block the ad,” he says. “We can't just buy impressions; brands need to earn the users’ attention. We now have a host of data to create a positive connection offer relevant value, based on what we're learning from behavioral triggers.”

When asked what marketers should take away from this study, Brandt says they need to realize that users interact and navigate mobile in a different way than any other platform. 

“The user is in control, and brands need to ask permission to enter their world,” Brandt says “This research helps marketers better understand consumers’ mobile behavior and their attitudes toward different delivery methods in mobile video. With mobile advertising expected to surpass desktop and approach $30 billion by 2018, brands must understand and embrace a new way of approaching consumers, or face the consequences.”

Mobile video will see a hefty increase in spending in the next many years. Cowen and Company, an investment firm, reports $4.35 billion has been spent on mobile advertising in 2016. The company predicts the spending will ascend to $17.42 billion by 2020

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Author Bio:

Hal Conick
Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at hconick@ama.org or on Twitter at @HalConick.
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