What stops people from skipping ads? 3 lessons from industry leaders

Kim Gardner / August 2019

The YouTube “skip” button is a powerful tool for measuring advertising engagement. If it goes unpressed, you know you’ve truly captured people’s attention. But how do you ensure that happens? We asked creatives and advertisers what stops them from skipping ads. Their tips could help make your next ad unskippable.

Content that feels real

Slick video with high-production quality might have been the gold standard in the past, but online, much of the content people value most has a raw, authentic feel – and the most successful ads often mirror that approach. “The ads that always seem to pull me in are when someone is holding their phone and talking right at me down the camera about something I care about,” said Steven Bartlett, CEO at Social Chain Group.

Making it personal

Online video offers opportunities to personalise at scale, allowing brands to connect with people by serving ads next to the content they value most. “Before, we used to interrupt people and tell them what we wanted them to know,” said Crystal Rix, chief strategy officer at BBDO. “Now we know more about our audience, and we can make all of the content more contextually relevant – and, ultimately, more meaningful to them.”

Full-speed storytelling

When viewers have the option to move on after five seconds, it’s important to grab their attention from the get-go – and that starts at the script stage. “It’s really adjusted the way we think about storytelling and the integration of celebrities, or how we use certain filming techniques that might make you stick around a bit longer to see how it ends,” explained Brandon Pierce, group creative director at Droga5.

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