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A Look At Sequential Video Advertising

John Bastawrous
Written By
John Bastawrous
Published On
Nov 06, 2020
animated rendition of an online marketplace.

From Nike’s You Can’t Stop Us Campaign, to the trendsetting Wassup commercial spot by Budweiser, to the NBA’s Christmas spot, the internet is filled with incredible video campaigns that, to this day, still remain the talk of the industry. With every brand out there competing for consumers’ attention, we are constantly seeing mass improvements in the quality of video campaigns, likely fuelled by an increase in budget and the fundamental business need to be better than competitors in every and any way possible. 

The Importance of Video in Marketing

In Canada, 25 million people per month watch video content digitally and 16.5 million of them are watching on their smartphones. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yes! That is a jaw-dropping number of people per month consuming content digitally, presenting an incredibly wide audience of attentive watchers for brands to markeat to. 

If you as a brand can get their attention, you could win them as a customer, and in some cases, you might only get one shot. So how do you make it count? 

By engaging their curiosity during the milliseconds you have their attention to elicit an irresistible urge to engage with your content. 

Since the introduction of online video, the preference for this type of content took the world by storm — 66% of people preferred watching a video to reading or looking at a product. Why? Well, the reality is that videos can tell a story better than a photo ever could. As a matter of fact, the average user remembers 95% of a message when it is watched, compared to 10% when it is read. It’s why platforms like YouTube have become so popular and the same reason why Amazon created Prime Video in an effort to become a player in this ever-growing video space. 

Now that we understand the importance and dominance of video as a content type, let’s dive into the topic you’re here for: Sequential Video Advertising. 

Have You Seen These Ads Before? Probably.

If you’ve ever watched YouTube videos and have been served an ad before, midway, or after your video finishes, you’ve witnessed the effects of video advertising. Groundbreaking — except not really. Video advertising dates back to 2009 when YouTube began allowing brands to advertise on the platform in several different formats.   

Let’s look at this occurrence but with a slight modification. 

Have you ever been watching YouTube and have been served a video ad during your video, then as you continue down the YouTube rabbit hole you are then served with a different video ad from the same company, brand, or product, that comes off as a continuation of the first video?

Why does this happen? Is it a coincidence? Welcome to the world of sequential video advertising. Keep reading to learn more. 

animated graphic explaining how sequential video ads operate

What Is Sequential Video Advertising?

Sequential video advertising allows brands to tell a story by showing people a series of videos in a specific order to build interest, reinforce a message, push a customer further down a sales funnel, or even to create a unifying theme for the brand with viewers. 

Most brands running video advertisements are using a single piece of video creative (and there is nothing wrong with that — if your content strategy consists of video assets, you’re already heading in the right direction) but with multiple videos or vignettes, the tools in your arsenal as an advertiser are far more plentiful. 

How to Leverage Sequential Video Advertising

By leveraging sequential video ads and multiple pieces of creative, brands can serve videos contingent on how the user interacts with each video in the sequence. If you skipped one of the ads, a different one would later appear with a different message, ultimately giving you the opportunity to build a story so compelling that the user would not be able to resist the urge to engage. For example, Global Goals put forth a sequential video ad campaign that put the spotlight on poverty and cleverly danced around the 5-second “skip ad” feature to retain viewers quickly at the onset.

real-life depiction of YouTube’s backend when setting up a sequential video ad campaign.

In the graphic above, we show how video ad sequencing looks on the back-end. If a user clicks “Skip Ad”on the first video (Video sequence step 1), they’ll be served a different ad (Skipped Sequence 1) with a different message that acts as an evolution of the first. 

Now in some cases, using video sequencing ads can help push a prospective customer further and further down the sales funnel with each video.

Let’s say your company is a smart device installation service that offers a mountain of different “smart” devices to enhance the technology in one’s home. You produce an incredible 60-second video that showcases the best products and major benefits of employing your service. When you launch your video advertising campaign, you notice a significant drop off after the 5-second mark when YouTube allows users to “Skip Ad”. Not enough users are clicking through to your full video! After spending tons on production and ad spend, you are stuck with a video that isn’t generating clicks and, in turn, no new traffic to your website… 

By leveraging sequential video ads, you can split the 60-second video into more digestible short ones and rejig the creative so that the first five seconds of each vignette is as powerful as can be. This could result in users eventually watching the full video (just in pieces), understanding the company’s entire service offering, and clicking through to the full video and website when they are ready. 

A new strategy. The same content. A few additional hours of creative revisions. And voilá

3 Reasons To Use Sequential Video Advertising

1. A primed user is a powerful viewer

Video sequencing helps unlock the ability to prepare a user for a grand reveal when the user is most likely to convert. With the use of multiple assets, you are able to paint a clear picture and build a case for the user to engage. Naturally, with one asset, a user is 27.4 times more likely to click-through online video ads, now imagine what that figure could look like after they’ve been exposed to a teaser 1-4 times? 

2. Consistency is key

Establishing a connection between the stories in a sequence is important in building a relationship with the user. Things like maintaining a similar cast, same narrator, or overall theme to the video can prove to be essential in building familiarity with the user so they become more and more comfortable with each video watched. 

3. Numbers don’t lie

Since Sequential video advertising launched, the numbers have been impressive. Google reported that sequential video ads increased ad recall by 118% and purchase intent by 40%. So if 10 people became interested in a product from seeing it in a traditional ad, this means that 40 people would become interested in that same product after a sequential video advertisement. 

Capitalize on Sequential Video Advertising Today

It’s important to review the assets you have at your disposal before deciding how to best use them in advertisements. The Influence Agency provides professional consulting and digital marketing services that could help separate your brand from the rest. If you’re looking for a team that can take your online presence to a new level in a meaningful way, contact us today and let’s get to work! 


  • John Bastawrous is a Senior Client Success Manager at The Influence Agency. With 7+ years of both digital and shopper marketing experience, he is always seeking ways to provide insightful findings on relevant topics in different industries. And as a long-time Toronto Raptors fan, he is completely desensitized to pain.

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  • John Bastawrous is a Senior Client Success Manager at The Influence Agency. With 7+ years of both digital and shopper marketing experience, he is always seeking ways to provide insightful findings on relevant topics in different industries. And as a long-time Toronto Raptors fan, he is completely desensitized to pain.

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