At home one recent evening, I played with several iPad apps, surfed the web on my laptop, checked my blackberry, all while the TV droned on in the background. Sometimes I watched, and sometime I surfed, and sometimes I interacted, and sometimes I did all three — with different levels of engagement and attention.
Which raises an interesting question: how much does media really matter once your brand has great advertising?
Is “reach” all that counts? We now know from research that media “form factors” likely matter greatly to advertising performance — they can be performance amplifiers whose “volume” can either dial up or dial down your ad’s performance.
So, for example, we know that the same ad in on-line video outperforms the same ad on TV across key ad metrics like ad recall, brand recall, etc. The question is why? And why does this matter to marketers?
Media Form-Factors: Neural Based Learnings Across the 3 Screens
NeuroFocus, a leading neural based marketing measurement service, has done some interesting work in assessing how the 3 screens are processed by consumers. At a recent Advertising Research Foundation meeting, Dr. A.K. Pradeep of NeuroFocus outlined their learning about consumers precognitive responses — e.g. those that take place in advance of conscious thinking — to TV, PC, and mobile.
NeuroFocus research indicates that consumers react differently to different media. This is because consumers:
- view TV as excellent for communicating action and emotional depth.
- better engage with PC’s on dynamic content and highly personal communications.
- get a memory boost from mobile’s small screen and concomitant focus.
Media Form-Factors: What Does This Mean For Marketers?
1. Ad Performance Differs by Form Factor
Ad performance differs by form factor. The same video ad performs differently on TV versus on-line video. I think it’s safe to predict that when we measure it, the same ad will also perform differently on a mobile phone or an iPad.
Form factors matter, and marketers need to measure and understand the differences in performance to develop the most impactful media plans. Imagine the day when you have four different ad performance scores: one each for TV, Web, iPad, and mobile – all for the same ad.
2. Media Character Influences Performance
Different media have different “media characters” and physical characteristics, and consumers process them differently. This needs to be taken into account when thinking through how to translate your brand strategy into a media strategy.
- Television — If TV is better for emotional depth, then it’s probably more effective for brands with strong emotional benefit messages. TV also seems superior for action, especially given the ever expanding screen sizes; brands that need to visually demonstrate their benefit in action are also likely to do better in TV.
- Personal Computers – PC based communication provides depth and interactivity. This is key for educational driven brand strategies. As well, brands with highly personal and sensitive messages ought to perform better in this environment.
- Mobile – Since mobile communication tends to drive greater memory retention, brands with a totally new message, or with limited spending, could benefit from this medium. And, of course, brands with timely and urgent calls to action should definitely be in the mobile space.
Media Form-Factors: Media – More Than Reach, Frequency and GRP’s
The point is this. Media is a lot more than reach, frequency and GRP’s. The media type, the delivery form factor, and the personality characteristics all influence how your advertising works.
And, of course, these are all just tendencies, not absolutes. TV can clearly deliver memorable ads, PC’s can communicate emotional depth, and mobile can deliver emotionally laden messaging.