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

21 March 2017

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 Cog 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”


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