VidMob: Creative choices like a model’s eye gaze have a measurable impact on video ad performance

New research from data-led creative ad-tech platform, VidMob, shows how the direction of a model’s eye gaze in the first few seconds of a video ad can significantly impact performance metrics, and differs greatly based on context.

The study, based on an analysis of 1.1 million digital ads that ran on Facebook, Snapchat and Google, applied VidMob’s AI technology to detect the specific direction of eye gaze and its relationship to ad engagement. It shows that variation in eye gaze can influence click through rates, view rates and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Highlights of the research include:

  • Direct gazes were associated with higher click rates when brands were looking to purposefully engage viewers in the dialogue, like educational and gaming content
  • Indirect gazes were seen to lift click and view rates for sports, lifestyle, and medical content
  • Pairing direct gazes with positive facial expressions had a beneficial impact on app install campaign performance

A global mobile gaming brand included in this study found that featuring in-game characters with direct eye gaze in the opening frame of a video ad on Facebook yielded a 10% decline in cost per install (CPI). If those same characters looked straight to camera and had happy facial expressions, the CPI decreased 35% further, outperforming their historical campaign average by $6.

Similarly, a large financial services brand discovered that when talent looked directly at the camera, it increased 3-second view rates for educational content by a staggering 59%. Meanwhile, indirect gazes, associated with casual lifestyle imagery, as opposed to interview-style narratives, were associated with a 44% lift in click-through rates for ads about specific products or services such as investment funds, credit cards, and loans.

The data show how audiences respond differently to particular creative elements, and that a brand must implement a creative analytics strategy to understand how these elements can be used to positively influence their campaign outcomes. In order to deliver the highest return on their ad spend, Brands and advertisers need to tap into their own creative data to improve the effectiveness of their ads.

Beth Gostanian, VP of Product, VidMob