De Persgroep research: Context, control are key in video ads

By Dieter Thijs

De Persgroep

Brussels, Belgium

It is stating the obvious to say video advertising is on the rise.

According to IAB’s Ad Spend study, spending on video advertising has increased by as much as 85% over the last two years, and the future looks even brighter. The growing use of smartphones is just one of the factors that is having a positive impact on video consumption.

Videos are everywhere. Almost all news Web sites provide video content, and videos are a prominent feature on social media. There are even platforms, like YouTube and Vimeo, which are completely built around video content.

But do viewers experience video content in the same way on all channels? Is the content equally credible? Do people pay more or less attention to video content depending on the channel? Several studies have established a link between advertising and the context in which it happens, but we were unable to find figures that were specific to videos.

Our own research changed all that. We launched our own study to find out how the videos on our own news sites ( and, Facebook, and YouTube were perceived. We also looked at a news Web site from a third party ( in addition to our own so we had a benchmark.

The results of our study are consistent with what has previously been proven regarding advertising and context: Videos on news Web sites are three times more credible than videos on social media. That is a huge difference.

Video embedded on news sites is deemed more credible.
Video embedded on news sites is deemed more credible.

Respondents also mentioned videos fit in better on news Web sites than on Facebook. Additionally, 72% indicated there is a good fit between our news Web sites and videos, while only 54% said the same of Facebook. This question isn’t really relevant for YouTube, of course.

Finally, we also found people pay more attention when watching videos on news Web sites.

People pay more attention to videos on news sites.
People pay more attention to videos on news sites.

The above-mentioned figures confirm the journalistic context of news Web sites does have an impact on how the video content is perceived. But we were also curious to find out what visitors think about video advertising. The increasing use of adblockers raises the question of viewers’ acceptance.

When we asked the same question in a previous study, 56% of respondents said they had no problem with video advertisements, provided they could skip them or scroll away (after a few seconds).

We wanted to know more about that, so we presented them with three formats of online video advertising and asked them to state the extent to which they found them intrusive. These days everyone is familiar with skippable/unskippable pre-roll.

In-feed vertical video is a format that appears within the text of an article, which starts playing automatically (muted). Crucially, however, it’s also possible to scroll away if it’s not relevant. This format has also been adapted for smartphones, which is why it’s mobile only.

What were the results when we compared these formats?

People were more favourable toward advertising they were able to skip.
People were more favourable toward advertising they were able to skip.

The less control (the ability to skip or scroll away) people have, the more they find the advertisement intrusive.

Naturally, this then raises the issue of impact. It seems logical advertisements that can be easily skipped have less of an impact, but the results of our first vertical video impact test refute this. The effective score for this campaign is higher than our internal benchmark for video campaigns.

In addition, both recognition and attribution were driven by women, the campaign’s target group. As such, both the advertiser and the reader benefit from an advertisement format that respects the browsing experience.

About Dieter Thijs

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