Study: High-Impact Digital Ads Amplify Standard Media

A young boy nerd shouts at the top of his voice to his co-worker through a megaphone trying to talk some sense into him. The young nerds are dressed in bowties and glasses. Retro styling.

New research released today by Inskin Media and Lumen Research using a large-scale audience eye-tracking study has proved that high-impact formats can help draw consumers’ eyes to standard formats for longer.

The UK study, in partnership with Mindshare, carried out 3,160 eye-tracking experiments and revealed that, within a browsing session, standard display formats, such as MPUs, shown after a high-impact format, are 27 per cent more likely to be looked at than those preceded by another standard display format.

This attention boost, dubbed the ‘amplification effect’, also shows that users who had been exposed to high-impact formats looked at the subsequent standard display ads for 39 per cent longer.

Similarly, the percentage of those standard display ads looked at for one second or longer, increased by 140 per cent.

Attention to display advertising is extremely scarce, with data from Lumen’s UK eye tracking panel showing that only 12 per cent of served display ads ever get looked at, with only 4 per cent looked at for a second or more.

These results are significant, as longer visual engagement time with ads is known to drive brand recall: when prompted, 50 per cent of users were able to recall the advertised brand after 1-2 seconds of visual engagement time, vs 35 per cent after 0-1 seconds.

The research found that brand recall is strongly linked to business KPIs, such as improved brand perceptions and purchase intent, especially for non and lapsed customers.

The study, which factored in exposure frequency to avoid overestimating amplification effects, also showed that these effects weaken over time, with incremental attention decaying if not stimulated again by an amplifying format.

The implications for media planning are significant. Attention is a scarce commodity: this research will allow marketers to better plan for visual attention and optimise investment more effectively.

Inskin Media head of insight Dominic Tillson commented: “There is an ever-increasing amount of evidence that links visual attention to relevant business KPIs, from brand metrics to sales.

“We have long known that certain high-impact formats can perform very well on critical measures like attention, but until now we didn’t know how they can be used strategically to make standard ads work harder for brand advertisers.

“This study is a big step in making this a reality.”

Mindshare account director Heather Williams added: “This piece of research has important implications for optimising digital impression distribution.

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