Study Highlights Best Uses of Ad Sequencing to Drive Brand KPIs and Save Impressions


NEW YORK – February 27, 2021 – Marketers have long created multiple video ad lengths but with more innovative technology, we now have the ability to deliver those ads in a desired sequence. A new study by MAGNA and IPG Media Lab, “Ad Sequencing: From Exposure to Storytelling,” uncovers the key to determining the desired ad sequencing brands should use to make a good first impression and convert customers fast. The study explores the impact of ad sequencing and finds the key to a successful brand story when delivering more complex messaging is to make the most of the first impression by communicating more up front. The study also found that using short ads as a primer for creative that’s not complex (e.g. brand imagery-focused) and maximizing variation in ad lengths across exposures is key to a successful marketing strategy.

The study tested video ad lengths, sequence of ad lengths, frequency of exposure and focused on three brands spanning Apparel, Auto and Consumer Electronics. In total, 201 ad scenarios were tested. Experimental design was used by randomizing YouTube users into test and control groups, with ad exposures taking place over the course of 5 days.

“Being thoughtful about the sequence brand messages are delivered in can not only amplify the impact on important brand metrics, but also allows advertisers to achieve more with fewer impressions,” said Kara Manatt, SVP, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA. “To plan appropriately, we realized that the complexity of the message plays a key role, and that when in doubt, maximize the variation in ad lengths across exposures”.

Additional key findings of the study include:

  • Sequence Matters. Serving video ads in the best order for a given campaign can result in 2X the impact on purchase intent. The particular sequence that works best for each campaign is ultimately driven by the complexity of the messaging and not by the consideration level of the industry vertical.
  • Messaging Content Matters. Ads with complex messaging, for both low and high consideration categories, should make the most of the first impression by communicating more information in this crucial touchpoint. When messaging is less complex and instead focused on imagery, on the other hand, using short ads to prime audiences work best.
  • Ad Sequencing Curbs Ad Skipping. Ad skipping, which is often seen as an ingrained behavior by consumers, can be curbed by a more effective sequence of ad exposures.
  • Less is More with the Right Sequence. For many traditional brand KPIs, brands were able to achieve the same brand lift with fewer exposures by starting off with the right sequence.


Read the U.S. report

Read the Australian report




MAGNA is the centralized IPG Mediabrands resource that provides strategic investment and media intelligence for agency teams and clients. We utilize our insights, forecasts and strategic relationships to provide clients with a competitive marketplace advantage.

MAGNA harnesses the aggregate power of all IPG media investments to develop go-to-market strategies, designing unique partnerships to drive maximum value for our clients. MAGNA has set the industry standard for more than 60 years by predicting the future of media value. We publish more than 40 annual reports on audience trends, media spend and market demand as well as ad effectiveness.

MAGNA infuses the organization with knowledge that empowers better decision-making. We are a team of experts across five key competencies who support IPG cross-functional teams through: Partnership, Enablement, Accountability and Connectivity. Follow us on Twitter @MAGNAGLOBAL.


About IPG Media Lab

Part of the Interpublic network, the IPG Media Lab identifies and researches innovations and trends that will change the media landscape and how brands engage with their audiences. Since 2006, the Lab has worked with our clients and with industry partners who can help them best adapt to disruptive change. Its expertise, resources and consulting services also help to inform the learnings, strategies and business outcomes of all Interpublic agencies. For more information, please visit or follow @ipglab.



Media Contact:

Zinnia Gill


Director, Global Corporate Communications

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