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Video ads are more effective when both seen and heard
10 April 2017
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Google has released the results of research into the effectiveness of YouTube ads with and without sound.


  • Brand awareness
    • Video + sound had 3.8X the effectiveness of sound only.
    • Video + sound had 1.6X the effectiveness of video only.
  • Ad recall
    • Video + sound had 2.7X the effectiveness of sound only.
    • Video + sound had 1.4X the effectiveness of video only.
  • Brand consideration
    • Video + sound had 2.6X the effectiveness of sound only.
    • Video + sound had 2.9X the effectiveness of video only.
  • Researchers also looked at brand performance of YouTube ads by viewable time (more than 3 seconds vs. less than 3 seconds):
    • Brand awareness: Longer ads had 2.3X the effectiveness of shorter ads.
    • Ad recall: Longer ads had 1.9X the effectiveness of shorter ads.
    • Brand consideration: Longer ads had 2.1X the effectiveness of shorter ads.

Currently, 95% of YouTube ads are audible, and 93% are viewable, as defined by Google:

  • Audible : Audio level at least 10% at some point during ad play
  • Viewable: At least 50% of ad pixels viewable on screen for at least 2 seconds

Results are based on a sample of 1000+ YouTube ads.

FYI, here are (short) definitions of those effectiveness measures from various sources:

Brand awareness: the proportion of consumers who know of the brand (AMA Dictionary)

Ad recall: a measure in which a sample of respondents is exposed to an ad and then at a later point in time is asked if they remember the ad (Television Bureau of Canada)

Brand consideration: the percentage of consumers who would consider your brand for a given purchase occasion (Bain & Company)


It's not surprising that video+sound beats sound only on all measures. But the findings for video+sound vs. video only are interesting. Because adding sound to videos created a much greater lift in brand consideration than in either brand awareness or ad recall. And when you get right down to it, it's brand consideration that gets you a seat at the table and the opportunity to close a sale.

- David

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