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Original Digital Video Connects Brands With Hard-to-Reach Audience of Young, Diverse, Tech-Savvy Consumers, According to IAB Research

Study Uncovers New Cohort of ‘Brand Seekers’ Who Are Open To Discovering Brands and View Advertising as ‘Beneficial’ & ‘Fun’

NEW YORK, NY (April 26, 2018) —The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today released “Digital Video Viewers and Brand Connection,” a comprehensive study that unveils that brands have huge opportunities to leverage original digital video (ODV) as an advertising and engagement platform. The results show that the ODV audience, which consists of a younger, more ethnically and racially diverse, and tech-savvy demographic, is especially receptive to learning about brands they don’t know and directly communicating with them. ODV viewers also reported a higher level of brand engagement, ranging from paying a greater number of visits to a brand’s site or brick-and-mortar store to participating in more social media and word-of-mouth buzz.

In 2018, original digital video is estimated to reach 86 million Americans, 13 years and older, among which 72 million are adults (18+). ODV viewership among American adults has been on a steady rise from 45 million in 2013 to 72 million in 2018, a 60 percent increase.

There is a strong affinity between ODV viewers and newer direct-to-consumer “Direct Brands,” such as Away, Birchbox, and Bonobos, with the ODV audience having a higher awareness of this type of brand than the general digital video audience. They also express more familiarity with Direct Brands, and are more likely to purchase from Direct Brands than the average digital video viewer. However, established “Incumbent Brands,” like Brooks Brothers, Maybelline, and Samsonite, garner a higher level of awareness, familiarity, engagement, and purchase intent when looking across the entire digital video viewer landscape.

The top five sources of awareness of ODV content are:

  • Word-of-mouth
  • Browsing websites/apps
  • Social media posts or comments
  • Search
  • Television ads

Still, show reviews, print, radio, and billboard ads are also highly influential on content choice among viewers who rely on these mediums for ODV content awareness, even though they do not have the same level of reach as the top sources.

According to the study, nearly half of ODV viewers are “Brand Seekers”—a category of consumers who are likely to seek out and be open to new brands they don’t know, and be receptive to direct communications with them. They are also more optimistic about advertisements, believing they can be beneficial and fun.

“This study makes it crystal clear that investment in original digital video is a must for today’s brands,” said Anna Bager, Executive Vice President, Industry Initiatives, IAB. “The research demonstrates that original digital video delivers a hard-to-reach audience who are more engaged with brands than other digital video viewer groups. All in all, the findings are sure to further inspire marketers to line up next week for NewFronts presentations, so they can benefit from the power of ODV.”

To download the entire “Digital Video Viewers and Brand Connection” study, please visit

A total of 2,022 interviews were completed online in the U.S. during March, 2018. A representative sample was captured across key demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, and region) of respondents ages 13+ and were weighted back to align with the most recent census data and to provide insight into natural sizing of U.S. digital video viewers. The median time taken to complete the survey was 12 minutes. Samples were sourced from YouGov and YouGov partner panels. Specifically for ODV audience tracking from 2013 to 2018, 2018 ODV viewership is adjusted to US adult population 18+ years to be consistent with previous years. 24 brands were utilized in the research as proxies for the brand category analysis, including 12 Incumbent Brands and 12 Direct Brands. The list covered a wide range of verticals from online retail to brick-and-mortar store, from clothing to groceries. An Incumbent Brand in each category (e.g. apparel, cosmetics) was paired up with a similar Direct Brand.

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, it develops technical standards and best practices. IAB and the IAB Education Foundation are committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., IAB advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City and has a San Francisco office.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]