Even Blank is More Interesting Than Your Brand


Above video generated over 100k views with a shy $1400 investment. About 46 percent of viewers watched it for at least 30 seconds. The “creator” of the video Solve Agency says that on average people watched over 2 minutes of this totally blank video and 22% watched the whole thing through. Maybe there are some hypnotic traits in this blank video or people are just generally slow to understand that the blank section does not belong to the video they are intending to watch. Or maybe people are just stupid.

This was an experiment to showcase that views don´t necessarily mean anything in YouTube (and to promote the agency with the white paper). What I think was the most interesting part that the blank video performed better than many traditional pre-rolls. As the digital industry is becoming more and more video content production relying heavily on paid push, we have been devoutly following the YouTube recommendations for the video content:

  1. Get to the point fast
  2. Brand immediately
  3. First five seconds are the most important

What if it would be more effective to do completely opposite?

  1. Start slow
  2. Brand later
  3. Brand only at the very end

We are not currently leaving any room for imagination or curiosity for our viewers. In this fast paced world if you get the point in 5 seconds why bother for the next 25 seconds to see more of the same. Currently we are designing our pre-rolls for the users with default action for skipping the ad (which is probably the right approach in majority of cases). While we force-fed our message we miss the opportunity to find people who are truly interested in what we say. Of course there are not necessarily any people who are truly interested in what we say. Then I would assume that mastering your pre-rolls is the least of your brand´s problems.

We should experiment more with our video content as well. We are wasting money on researching imaginary consumers in hypothetical situations, when we would have awesome opportunity to test different approaches on real marketplace. Leave five minutes blank to your next pre-roll and see how it works compared to your normal approach. If it would work, maybe you are on to something. If it does not, try something else. The Mountain Dew case study I shared earlier found that the longest version of the ad worked the best. Everything is guesswork until you really test it with real consumers in real situations.

When everyone is doing the same thing, no matter if it is principally right, the one who does something different, whether right or wrong, will be noticed.

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