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The Key to Video Ad Engagement? Surprise and Joy!

Surprise! People are paying attention to your video ad.

A new study, slated to appear in next month’s  Journal of Marketing Research  shows that serving up a surprise is the best way to get a video viewer’s attention. Now, a scary guy jumping out of the darkness will work just as well as an unexpected bunny wearing a space suit, but getting someone’s attention is only half the battle.

In order to keep their attention, the study says you should follow up with “content that elicits happy or joyful reactions.”

The researchers came to this conclusion by using eye tracking technology and facial recognition to figure out who was engaged and who wasn’t.

Said the authors:

“We found that surprise improved attention concentration more than joy did, and joy improved viewer retention more than surprise did, revealing the dual routes to ad effectiveness that these two related, but distinct, emotions play.”

The third stage of the process involves alternating emotional content. Joy and happiness can only sustain you for so long, they say. Keeping the viewer on an emotional roller coaster will keep them from hitting the skip button.

To summarize, that’s WOW! Awww! Hmm! Oh? Yes! And there you have the perfect video advertisement.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve ever seen in a video? And remember, this is a G-rated blog.