Digital video delivers lots of attention, but is it the right kind of attention? If you force people to watch an ad, won’t they just stare at the skip button, poised to strike as soon as the time is up?

We recently did an analysis of over 1000 YouTube ads that we had collected from our panel to investigate this issue.

First, the bad news, or at least, the expected news. People do look at the skip button. You are not alone. Everyone does it. The chart below shows the percentage chance of a person looking at different areas of the screen, and there a big red blob where the skip button sits.

skip button viewing.png

There’s also a smaller blob of heat in the bottom left of the screen. This corresponds with people looking at the time left in the ad, counting down the seconds until they can see their cat videos.

But that’s not the whole story. Sure, people look at the skip button, but they don’t hate-watch it. The time spent looking at the skip button is brief. The second chart, below, shows the time spent looking in different areas. This reveals that time spent looking at the skip button is short: the majority of the attention goes to the centre of the screen.

skip button dwell.png

What does this mean for advertisers? BRANDED SKIP BUTTONS. Simple as. Someone has to do this. Please, for the love of God, someone has to do this.