Exponential Study Finds Interactive Video Units Outperform Standard Banner, Pre-roll Ads

Eye tracking and facial coding technology measure emotional, physical reactions to interactive ads

EMERYVILLE, Calif. – Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions, reaching more than 700 million users each month, has released its study titled The Power of Video-Driven Experiences: What Attention, Emotion and Perception Can Tell Us About Good Advertising – which finds that interactive video advertisements are significantly more impactful than standard banner and pre-roll video ads.

“This study validates what we’re seeing every day – that interactive video is a powerful digital vehicle for brand impact”

Exponential commissioned EyeSee, a market research firm, to investigate the effectiveness of interactive video. The study compared VDX interactive video ad units to 30-second pre-roll units and standard banner units, focusing on three key KPIs – attention (length of browsing and interaction time), emotion (type of emotion and strength of emotional reaction) and perception (impact on brand lift). These KPIs were evaluated via eye tracking and interaction rates, facial expression and surveys, respectively.

The study found that interactive video ads are more effective at seizing attention, provoking emotion and driving brand impact. Key takeaways and statistics include:

  • Interactive video impacts purchase consideration. 17 percent of users who viewed an interactive pre-roll video ad and 19 percent of users who viewed an interactive rectangular video unit stated they “definitely will” consider purchasing the brand in the future. That statistic was only 13 percent for the standard pre-roll.
  • Interactive video advertising units generate positive brand perception and make a lasting impression. Compared to standard pre-roll units, video-driven units held attention for over twice as long, produced higher ad recall rates and boosted brand perception.
  • An invitation to engage with video advertising is more than just a gateway to a compelling experience; it can be valuable real estate in itself. 69 percent of users spent over five seconds looking at the interactive teaser compared to just 11 percent who viewed the standard animated banner of the same size. Interactive teasers are also 3x more likely to stimulate a positive emotional reaction (particularly ‘Focus’). Further, 82 percent of those who viewed the teasers reported “favorable” or “very favorable” brand perception on the surveys compared to just 68 percent of those who viewed the standard banner.

“This study validates what we’re seeing every day – that interactive video is a powerful digital vehicle for brand impact,” said Bryan Melmed, VP, Insights Services, at Exponential. “The choice of ad format has huge implications for marketers and advertisers; advertising focused on engagement delivers more compelling, memorable experiences.”


In the study, a sample of 500 panel-recruited participants were asked to browse a series of realistic mock websites how they would naturally – at home and using their own devices. Throughout exposure, users were monitored via their webcams for their facial expressions, visual gaze, and navigation while surfing the pages. After users finished browsing, they were then exposed to an additional mock webpage with generic editorial content and additional dummy advertisements. To assess brand lift metrics, users were presented with a seven-question survey assessing recall and brand perception.

The study can be found here.

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way brands interact with audiences across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and action. Creativity and audience insights form the foundation for building smarter, more relevant solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.