Case Study: Google, Paragon Honda


Are more features in a longer format better at driving dealer site visits?

To investigate this question, Google Unskippable Labs invested $120K across four Paragon assets. 

The Challenge

Paragon Honda, in New York City, was looking for a way to engage with consumers and encourage them to “check out the features” for the CR-V crossover, while increasing the watch time per unique user. Statistically, 80% of “new new” car buyers are looking for specific features in a car that will help them prepare for an unexpected situation. During the last year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Paragon Honda saw an increase of more than 20% in consumers who went from “riding” to “buying.”

This advertising and marketing challenge for Paragon Honda and Tier10 represents an incredible opportunity to reach a new audience. But the team at Tier10 faced a few challenges when they started looking at how to best reach that new audience with compelling, feature-oriented visuals. 

Leading Insights

Feature(s) grab and hold attention. Big supers in support are helpful. Safety is best. 

Our Hypothesis

If a :15 second auto ad with four feature callouts drives site visit, a four-minute ad with 20+ features will drive even more traffic — maybe at a lower cost-per-site visit.

The Solution

Google’s Unskippable Labs is a unique group that tests interactive advertising opportunities via YouTube. Their goal is to leverage data about user behavior to determine what types of creatives drive engagement for various industries. They compile their findings to offer insight into the automotive industry. It’s called Unskippable because they are looking at how consumers engage with the content. 

The creative and production processes were different than what many advertisers would probably be familiar with. And, in some ways, it seemed counterintuitive. For Tier10, it involved a control and lots of close-up shots, and larger font sizes that were targeted for a more mobile audience (~5 ½” screens). It also involved shooting the ad as a video via an iPhone with an Amazon ring light. Production was cheap and easy. 

The project focused on using equipment that was fully accessible for production, so dealerships could all shoot the video footage, take pictures of their inventory, and share the compelling end product themselves. Tier 10 tested a wide range of variables, including various ad lengths, talent inclusions, etc. to create a four-minute, 13-second spot with a production specialist.

To investigate this question, Google Unskippable Labs invested $120K across four Paragon Honda assets: 

Play Video

Branding :15

Play Video

Safety :15 / without talent

Play Video

Feature :15 / with talent

Play Video

Feature 4:13

The Results

This long-form ad experiment has been called a science fair experiment of sorts, where the advertising team had a hypothesis. They tested the hypothesis, with an A and B test, and they were able to see and share the results. The Unskippable process turned out to be something of a revolution, delivering exactly what Paragon Honda needed. 

The long-form Paragon Honda ad was loaded with features, which drove more than triple the average site traffic at a cost differential that was down by nearly 33%.

The long-form ad drove 6x the watchtime and 3x the site traffic vs. the short-form ads — and did so at one-third the cost per site visit. 

The reach of the long-form ad was further demonstrated when we look at the Google searches for Honda, which increased by more than 26%, based on consumers who viewed the long-form ad. 

The long-form was equally efficient for consumers “ready to talk numbers” and “tire-kickers” — it effectively widened the audience. 

The steady stream of close-up features worked to “pull” the consumers along, delivering a watch time that was an astounding 78 seconds on average. 

Safety features do drive brand awareness — most specifically with the “tire-kicker” audience. 

With that longer runtime, the team was able to allot more than 28% more time on each feature. That’s nearly double the time typically dedicated to each feature on average in a more standard ad. 

The process for developing and launching this long-form ad campaign was different, but it also inspired a complete shift in the company perceptions and practices for the future. The success of the long-form ad campaign proved it doesn’t take high-end, expensive equipment to capture video that engages with consumers and compels action. It may simply take a re-envisioning of what consumers want and need, with a focus on delivering the long-form creative experience, stacked with compelling content that will capture buyers’ attention.

Bonus: +26% lift in searches for “Honda” after seeing the long-form asset.

These results clearly demonstrate that consumers will continue to watch an ad if it contains content that they value, like the feature-heavy focus of the long-form ads. As a bonus, the analytics showed a dramatic increase in queries related to Paragon Honda during the time frame when the ads were being tested.

It’s not just features, it’s not just length — it’s the assortment of features combined with the time to take them in 

+28% more time per feature in the long-form asset, in comparison to the “Features :15s creative.

Achieving Amazing Results

What this long-form advertising campaign shows is that the future of digital advertising and marketing is not set in stone. With input from Google and their Unskippable Labs, Tier10 delivered long-form ads that yielded results which surprised even Google’s Unskippable team. They’ve demonstrated similarly impressive results for other brands across the U.S. 

Learn more about Tier10, and find out how they deliver extraordinary results in support of the digital marketing and advertising efforts at top name brands like Paragon Honda. With their focus on innovation, they push the boundaries for what’s been thought possible. They also listen to consumer voices, and the real results of research and data, to encourage better engagement and higher conversion rates across industries. 

Tier10 has already proven that their approach works. Now is the perfect opportunity to discover how those winning strategies can be put to work in the service of other companies, looking for creative approaches to reach audiences and inspire action and engagement in more meaningful ways.