back to article Google: Guinea pig brainwaves prove video ads 'compelling'

As part of its increasingly desperate attempt to actually make some money from YouTube, Google is reading the brainwaves of human guinea pigs in an effort to judge the effectiveness of video ads. As reported by ZDNet, Google has teamed with an outfit dubbed NeuroFocus to measure the impact of video overlay ads on brain …


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  1. Mike Powers

    Alternate websites?

    One wonders what the response would be after a viewing of hamsterdance or icanhascheezburger.

  2. Kevin


    I find the ads VERY "compelling" because whenever I see one I am compelled to close the damn window and forgo the rest of the video.

  3. Munzly The Hermit

    Avoidance is the best way to treat video ads.

    Any video or animation on a web-page, that is superfluous to the content in which I'm interested, is NOT compelling - it is IRRITATING and DISTRACTING . If is an advert, I do notice the brand, but usually vow to avoid it like the plague for its unwelcome attack on my concentration.

    I use every means and plug-in at my disposal to block out such adverts, in which case the brand never crosses my mind..

  4. Jerome

    @ Mike

    One would think the guinea pigs referenced in the article would particularly love hamsterdance - their brainwaves would be off the scale.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just block them

    They would have a hard job proving the effectiveness of video ads here.

    As a matter of policy, nothing moves on the sites I visit, unless I tell them to. Firefox, noscript and flashblock take care of that, and any site which somehow manages to get past them will never get another repeat visit.

    If you can't make a profit from static adverts, then give up. Animated adverts will just ensure nobody visits your page.

  6. Ian Ferguson

    Junk science

    That is just hilarious. I wonder if the ads the guinea pigs found 'compelling' involved naked women?

    Or maybe they just got angry at the irritating ads popping up in front of the video they were trying to watch? I imagine anger produces very similar same skin, pulse, breathing and brain activity results that excitement does.

    This smacks of desperation. It would have been a hell of a lot simpler to just do a trial run of in-video ads and see what the actual, real results were; but I'm guessing they've already done this and the results were extremely negative and didn't produce any significant clickthroughs or purchases, and so Google have had to resort to snake oil science to convince advertisers that the system works!

  7. Simon
    Thumb Down


    ugh I hate these misleading titles... I was expecting actual guinea pigs not just another boring article about how monitoring the brain shows us it lights up when we itch our scrotum or perform virtually any task.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Yes, video ads are compelling...

    They compel me to throw my laptop across the room!

  9. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    @AC 23:03

    Ssshhh - If fragile laptop distributors hear you, the net will be plastered with irritating animations advertising each other's products.

  10. Pete Silver badge

    a faulty silogism?

    Let's see what have we got here:

    advertisements are meant to get our attention

    guinea-pigs find advertisements compelling

    therefore we are all guinea-pigs

  11. ken jay
    Thumb Down

    bah another con

    just when we thought advertising was running out of steam a so called web app come spam search engine supplier thinks we are even more gullible and wish to use the bandwidth we pay for to splurt more uselessness at us

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Hats off to the Neurofocus guys

    EEG is to finding out what's going on in someone's brain as is a thumb on the wrist for finding out what's going on in their cardiac system. Now, I thought the Google boys were smart, but, nooo, Neurofocus have managed to prise away some of their dollars with some voodoo upselling there. Nice work.

  13. Mark Simon

    Whom are they trying to impress?

    I suspect that the main target of these advertising gimmicks is the advertisers themselves. Any technique that cons the advertiser into thinking they’re onto a winner must be compelling enough for them to fork out a few more hard-earned dollars ...

  14. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    Google is definitely the most respected advertiser among guinea pigs. Yahoo doesn't stand a chance.

    Wait... Was this experiment performed on the Gulfstreams parked at Moffett? Parking validated! Now where's the Brin/Page icon?

  15. Wize

    @the 'just block them' squad.

    The trouble being, these adverts are on a video you are trying to watch. Its overlayed onto youtube or whatever site it is.

    The advert people love them because you cant simply use adblock on it, as its inserted by part of the player. Its an 'all or nothing' block. Block it and lose the video feed.

    Unless those wonderful people behind adblock work out how to block the in-video ads.

  16. Simon B

    guinea pigs have same reasoning as humans?

    what a crap conclusion! Guinea pigs will find ANYTHING interesting, us h u m a n s have sense to ignore adverts ..

  17. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Obvious, really

    From the article: "If you know someone who finds InVideo overlay ads "compelling," do drop us a line."

    Perhaps Neurosnakeoil advertised for test subjects using overlay ads, and let a susceptible test population select itself. At any rate, I doubt their methodology was at all sound; this sort of "study" is not done for scientific purposes, so why bother?

    One Coward commented, "Now, I thought the Google boys were smart, but, nooo, Neurofocus have managed to prise away some of their dollars with some voodoo upselling there." Obviously the study is useful for Google; they can use it to market their overlay ad space to gullible clients, and their stock to gullible investors. Looks like a good investment to me. In any case, this data point says little about the average intelligence in the Gevil Gempire, as it was likely a marketing gimmick from the get-go.

    And on a side note - someone mentioned using NoScript and FlashBlock. NoScript does a fine job of blocking Flash for me - what's the advantage of having both installed?

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