YouTube users know the routine.
Open a video, wait for the pre-roll ad, hit “skip” a few seconds into the ad if allowed, then watch the desired content.
That creates a tough proposition for advertisers, which have just seconds to get consumers’ attention as they jump from video to video.
But Paragon Honda in New York City found a way to keep viewer interest in a pre-roll campaign for the CR-V crossover by going in the opposite direction. Instead of focusing on a quick-hit video that tries to leave a lasting impression in the first few seconds, Paragon Honda and Google made a bet that consumers would stick around if presented with a longer production that was rich with vehicle features.
The team at Google’s Unskippable Labs unit, which studies how ads influence viewer behavior, believed if 15-second auto ads highlighting four features could drive website visits, a four-minute ad touting more than 20 features would create even more traffic.
That theory seemed questionable at first to Brian Benstock, a partner and general manager of Paragon Honda.
In what Benstock called the age of “give it to me now, give it to me quick,” he thought it would be counterintuitive to push lengthy videos that people could brush off after a few seconds. Automakers have a hard enough time trying to hype their products in 30-second TV spots, he said, so expecting consumers to engage much longer than that would be a tall task.
It turned out that consumers are more open to deeper videos than Benstock expected. Paragon Honda’s ad agency, Tier10, developed a four-minute, 13-second spot with a product specialist giving viewers a rundown of various options on the CR-V.
The Unskippable team thought the campaign would be a success if most people tuned in for at least a minute. Paragon’s pre-roll spot, which ran for a month beginning in October, blew past that mark with an average viewing time of 78 seconds.
The dealership leveraged Google audience data to pursue in-market buyers for small to midsize utility vehicles.
“If you’re making it valuable to the consumer, they’ll stay,” Benstock said.