YouTube Research: Sound - Does it matter if ads are audible?

A huge range of factors determines whether an ad resonates with audiences. When you’re planning a campaign, you may wonder how important it is that your ad is audible and viewable. In order to help advertisers and agencies understand the relationship between ad viewability, audibility, watchtime and brand response, we conducted research looking at more than 1,000 Brand Lift studies.

First, let’s lay out some definitions. An ad is audible when the audio level greater than or equal to 10% at some point during the ad playback. And according to the Media Rating Council, viewability is achieved when at least 50% of ad pixels are viewable on screen for at least two seconds.


We took more than 1,000 Brand Lift studies and split the exposed respondents into three groups: those for whom the ad playback was audible and viewable, those for whom it was audible only (not viewable) and those for whom it was viewable only (not audible). For each of these groups, the brand response was compared against that of the control group in their Brand Lift study.


What did we discover? Compared to when they were exposed to ads that were viewable only or audible only, the average difference in ad recall, brand awareness and consideration between the exposed and control respondents was significantly higher when people were exposed to ads that were audible and viewable. In other words, when it comes to ad recall, brand awareness and consideration, the brand response is higher when users see and hear ads.

Stronger brand response when users see and hear ads

We also split the exposed respondents into those with less than three seconds of watchtime and those with three or more seconds of watchtime. Again, we measured the brand response and compared it against the control group from each Brand Lift study. The difference between the metrics of the exposed group versus the control group was significantly greater among people with more than three seconds of watchtime.

Stronger brand response with longer ad watchtime

In essence, the study found a stronger brand response when people are exposed to ads that are audible and viewable compared to when they’re exposed to ads that are viewable only or audible only. It also found that longer ad watchtimes produce a stronger brand response.

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