In Life Not All Things Are Equal, Including Billboards – What Does That Mean For Advertisers?

A blank billboard at a street of Lisbon, Portugal
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QMS, in association with Neuro-Insight, have unveiled a global-first neuroscience investigation that uncovers how the attributes of digital large format billboards help define their own unique site personalities and what this means for the brands that advertise on them.

After releasing a precursor neuro-study earlier this year, that demonstrated the significant increase in impact generated by large format digital billboards, QMS’ follow up landmark study shifts its focus to how this impact might differ from site to site and how it can transfer to a brand’s creative.

Faced with a current outdoor measurement system that assumes a majority of people seeing a site will be equally impacted and that therefore any single site will deliver the same consumer impact as another site, the study set out to uncover the notion that in fact not all QMS sites are equal, with each assuming their own unique personality.

In partnership with Neuro-Insight, QMS evaluated the notion, using a combination of nPlicit and Neuro measures, to test the strength of key attributes associated with each of their sites and how that might impact a brand’s creative. Testing 20 sites against 12 attributes, the study confirmed that each QMS site is truly unique, demonstrating varying degrees of strengths across different attributes.

Furthermore, once QMS confirmed that their sites were associated with key attributes, they then set out to understand how that association may impact the brands’ creative who advertise on them. Testing 12 attributes against 10 category creatives, again using a combination of nPlicit and Neuro measures, QMS found that their sites have transferrable attributes. Results indicated a strong relationship between the strength of the site and the performance uplift of the attribute for the brands’ creative.

QMS GM of strategy, Christian Zavecz said: “We have always believed that just like brands, not all sites are created equal, and this latest study conducted by globally recognised Neuro-Insight has been able to validate this.  But even more importantly, it has been proven that our sites can actually strengthen or reinforce an attribute of the brand’s creative that is advertised on that site.

“In other words, creating a type of ‘halo effect’ through the power of association and context, reinforcing the importance of the medium for brands.”

Neuro-Insights director of sales and marketing Peter Pynta commented: “The idea of ‘borrowed equity’ and association in advertising has always made a great deal of intuitive sense. It’s the primary underpinning of the huge sponsorships we’ve all seen and experienced – like Red Bull and Formula 1.

“It’s a key strategy in building brand uniqueness and differentiation. Neuroscience can now quantify these effects with the sensitivity that unlocks far more subtle but powerful associations that we may not have previously valued. This new data should give rise to more targeted conversations on how a medium, such as digital outdoor, can amplify the communications objectives of marketers.”

The pioneering study aims to give clients a deeper understanding of QMS sites and provide advertisers an additional layer of sophistication when evaluating and selecting sites in line with the brand’s objectives. Moreover, QMS anticipates the study will deliver advertisers a deeper and more “real world” way to consider and purchase digital out-of-home moving forward.

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