C4 calls on advertisers to challenge value of social video ad spend

Channel 4 calls on advertisers to challenge the value of social video ad spend

Research proves ads on YouTube and Facebook are more expensive and less impactful than commercial TV VOD

Channel 4 today reveals the results of new research proving advertisers are paying more per minute for completed ad views with YouTube and Facebook in an environment where viewers are more distracted from content (or not watching at all) compared with TV VOD.

The research found that the true Cost Per Thousand (or Minute) for Broadcaster VOD completed ads is c. 20% cheaper than YouTube and a third of the cost of Facebook* - even when including organic views (which make up much of Facebook’s exposure).

The research also found that commercial broadcaster VOD delivers significantly higher engagement levels, completion rates and watch time for advertisers than VOD ads on YouTube and Facebook.

Research was conducted with independent agency GOG Research and Neuroscientist Dr Amanda Ellison at Durham University and coupled with viewing metrics obtained from Channel 4’s own online marketing campaigns. It showed:

  • Advertising on Broadcaster VoD commands 3.5 times greater attention levels than advertising on YouTube
  • Completed advertising video views are 62% lower for YouTube and over five times lower for Facebook, than All 4 ads
  • Three quarters (73%) of minutes ‘watching’ YouTube on tracked devices showed that the ads and videos were hidden from view due to users using them as background music play-listing behind other tasks
  • 53% of YouTube advertising is viewed in an attentive state, compared to over 85% of viewing time to Broadcaster VOD ads
  • In over 30 hours of Facebook passive usage, only three commercial video ads were viewed for longer than 3 seconds (Facebook’s definition of a view), of which the longest was for 3.5 seconds
  • Almost half of the time Facebook users were observed, they were in constant scrolling mode with just enough time to scan posts. 7 in 10 of them said they actively scroll past video ads
  • Ads on Broadcaster VoD are more likely to be viewed in full screen, with sound, and all the way through to the end than non-broadcaster VoD

The research results identify that in the digital video world, where and how viewers watch VOD content, is equally important as what they consume.

Jonathan Allan, Sales Director, Channel 4 said: “These research results are compelling and support what we already know to be true – that BVOD is a far more effective and efficient use of brand marketing spend than social media platforms. It’s particularly timely as Google and Facebook face further calls to take responsibility for brand safety and viewing measurement and should give advertisers and agencies much to consider as they evaluate their marketing mix and media investment decisions”

Notes to Editors

*When tested against C4 VOD headline cost and using analytics from Channel 4 marketing data

  • COG Research undertook in-home studies of 48x 16-44 year old VOD users from geographically diverse regions across the UK. They observed over 100 hours of eye tracking and skin conductance data which could be analysed and correlated to the second. Dr Amanda Ellison of Durham University analysed the Galvanic Skin Response data to aid determination of the attentive states alongside the eye tracking footage.

A sub-set of these homes were also tracked across their Laptop/PC using Camtasia screen capture software. This was passively recording their screen activity for a whole week of usage. In addition they used Lookback.IO to capture mobile screen activity.

  • COG also determined viewers’ ‘Implicit’ (versus ‘Explicit’) responses to VOD brands and content, the methodology included Quantitative Implicit Response Testing with 1000 respondents.
  • COG Research is a consumer insight company that measures what people think, what they feel and what they do, giving better insight into their likely future behaviour. They have previously won the 2012 MRS Advertising and Media Research award for their work on Thinkbox’s Screenlife, and a 2013 APG Creative Strategy Award with Adam & Eve DDB on their Changing Faces campaign and recently picked up an award at the 2016 MRG awards with Exterion Media.


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