Sept 2019 (Vol. 59, Issue 3): NEUROMARKETING
Best Measures of Attention to Creative Tactics in Advertising: When Do Attention-Getting Devices Capture or Reduce Attention?
One reason that measuring attention to an advertisement is so difficult is because no two tests are the same, and each piece of research demands its own specific set of metrics. Steven Bellman, Magda Nenycz-Thiel, Rachel Kennedy, and Nicole Hartnett (the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia) partnered with Duane Varan (MediaScience) to examine a series of scalable biometric measures across responses to 10 creative devices in more than 100 television advertisements.
The research team used a rich mixture of tools to examine attention-getting ability. The authors advise that “different measures are needed to detect when any attention is being paid; for this reason, no one measure of attention is enough.” They further suggest that “it is necessary to link advertising measures—including biometrics—to content in order to determine the specific characteristics people are responding to.”
Biometric devices that record eye tracking, skin conductance, and heart rate, in particular, are associated with measuring arousal, which is a necessary step in aiding marketing academics and professionals to assess advertising effectiveness.
The Ehrenberg-Bass/Media Science study utilized laboratory data from 1,040 respondents with responses across 118 advertisements. Each participant viewed eight advertisements shown in a random order in the context of television programming.
The authors report important findings:
- They were able to demonstrate that “across the three levels of attention that generally apply to television viewing—preattention (inattention), focal attention, and comprehension—biometric measures detect the lowest level of attention, which is focal attention (orienting responses) to advertising stimuli.”
- “By using a combination of measures, this study shows—for the first time—that it is possible to mark the transition between these two lowest attention levels” (between preattention and focal attention).
- “If one biometric measure has to be prioritized before others, these results suggest heart rate as the best option (in utilizing neuromarketing to improve advertising research) because it was most strongly associated with market performance.”