Priming Across Screens: The Cross-channel Impact of Mobile and TV

By: Staff | Dec 30 2015

From our living rooms to the palm of our hands, screens big and small are giving us the flexibility to access content whenever and wherever we want. While this 24/7 access appeals to consumers, it has complicated campaign planning for advertisers. People can now see the same brand ad on different screens and at multiple times on any given day, whether they are on their mobile phone or watching their favorite TV show.

Facebook wanted to understand the neural impact of preceding an ad exposure on one platform with an ad exposure on another platform (beyond what was attributable to increase in frequency). To study how people’s brains respond to TV ads after seeing that same ad on a mobile phone or on TV, we commissioned Neuro-Insight, a neuromarketing agency in the US.

Methodology

In September 2015, we measured the brain activity of 100 volunteer participants in the Neuro-Insight lab. During the 2-day test period, the participants, US adults ages 21–54, were assigned to 1 of 2 randomly selected groups. On Day 1, participants in one group watched a TV show with ads while participants in the other group browsed their own Facebook News Feed, which included test ads, on their mobile phone. On Day 2, participants in both groups watched the same brand ads during a new TV show. The brand ads shown during the test period represented a mix of verticals—including Automotive (2), CPG (1), Entertainment (1) and Tech/Telco (2)—and creative ad formats, including display and video.

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During the test, participants in each group wore EEG caps that measured responses correlated with real behavior from different parts of their brains. Neuro-Insight was able to measure their responses against neural metrics Approach/Withdrawal—the brain’s response to positive and negative emotion—and 3 key neural metrics that were the focus of our study: 1) Engagement, an indicator of how involved people are, 2) Emotional Intensity, a measure of the strength of emotion being experienced, and 3) Memory Encoding, the rate at which the brain is storing the current experience about the brand into long-term memory, where it can be recalled more than a few minutes later. This metric is recorded for the left brain as Memory Encoding detail and for the right brain as Memory Encoding global.

Understanding the multiscreen impact

Higher levels of brain activity were reported among participants who saw ads on Facebook first and then watched TV ads the next day. This result was consistent across all metrics measured. For Memory Encoding, we saw that participants first primed with the TV ad performed below the 50th percentile for Memory Encoding when they viewed the TV ad on Day 2. Meanwhile, participants first primed with the ad on Facebook scored above average on this metric.

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