The mobile platform is advertising’s newest puzzle and it’s making creatives question their storytelling tactics. With high traffic and low engagement, mobile marketing is established enough to have brands knocking at its door, but most are questioning if anyone’s even home. Mountain Dew, BBDO NY, OMD Worldwide, and Google’s Art, Copy & Code team joined forces to figure out how video advertising needs to evolve in order to be effective in a mobile setting—Unskippable Labs was born.
The collaborators took an existing television advertisement (Mountain Dew Kickstart’s “Come Alive”) and created three versions, each varying in length and content. Using YouTube TrueView (it gives viewers the option to skip ads), they monitored the viewership of each cut in an effort to understand what catches the attention of mobile viewers.
The three cuts included:
“The Original”—a traditional 30-second TV spot with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
“The Big Punch”—a 31-second mobile ad that presents the brand before the viewer has a chance to skip.
“Pure Fun”—a 93-second cut that drops viewers into the middle of the action. Here, there’s no real story arc and the brand is subtly featured throughout.
Viewers had no clear preference when viewing the three ads from desktop computers—view-through rates were nearly equal; however, on mobile, “Pure Fun” boasted a 26% higher view-through rate than the other two cuts.
Viewers watched “Pure Fun” more frequently and for longer periods of time—an average of 1 minute 9 seconds. Despite elevated viewership, brand recall (Mountain Dew) was more or less equal to the other cuts and specific product recall (Kickstart) even plummeted.
Were viewers perplexed by the randomness? Intrigued by the uncertainty of direction? Who knows? What we can conclude is that brevity isn’t a necessary component for mobile marketing as we once thought.
Previous mobile efforts prioritized engaging viewers directly with outcries of, “Hey! You there!” within the 5-second grace period before viewers have the ability to skip. Perhaps this study will spawn a new wave of mobile marketing, ultimately ditching ad norms and turning to riffs on absurdity and unpredictability.
This goes back to the idea of making consumers care and making it mean something to them. If you have concerns about getting your target audience to take notice of your brand, contact us anytime.