'Biometrics' show emotional responses to branding : CNN Study

Findings released today from a brand new study by CNN International suggest that brands who choose multimedia campaigns to communicate their advertising messages are more memorable to consumers and are more likely to enhance perception of their brands. The results carry weight for brands that place their advertising in an engaging environment, prompting an emotional response from the audience.

The CASE study (Cross-platform Advertising Study on Effectiveness and Engagement) consisted of a rigorous two stage approach. Stage one involved a multinational online study of cross-platform effectiveness in which consumers were exposed to diverse media experiences. Stage two measured attention and engagement through a variety of techniques including biometrics, eye tracking and in depth interviews.

“We wanted to show that by complementing advertising on CNN TV with ads on CNN.com and CNN mobile, an advertiser can markedly increase campaign recall leading to positive shifts in brand attitudes’, commented Duncan Morris, Vice President, Research, Turner International Asia Pacific. “The fact that these respondents were not primed for an advertising study makes these results even more poignant.”

Body responses such as heart rate, motion, respiratory rate and galvanic skin response (sweating) were translated into measures of “attention” and “engagement” – the Holy Grail for advertisers. These were collected by using a lightweight ‘smart vest’ which respondents wore while watching CNN programming and advertising.

The biometric research proved that CNN television and online content prompted an emotional response from the audience. Perhaps contrary to popular belief that viewers disengage once scheduled programming ends, the results also showed that engagement actually can increase during ad breaks, as much as 10%.

William Hsu, VP Advertising Sales Asia Pacific, CNN International added “In the current economic climate, CNN is committed to demonstrating ROI for every advertising dollar spent. This study shows it is content that provides the springboard for advertisers to secure meaningful connections with audiences. In conjunction with our recent PWC study, it provides valuable industry insight to help brands market smarter.”

The level of attention an advertisement receives impacts the ability of respondents to remember the brand. When respondents viewed advertising online and on mobile, they were more attentive, increasing the likelihood of advertising being noticed and adding to the re-call of the overall campaign.

For example, using the eye-tracking technology which measures the time viewers spend gazing at points on a web or mobile page, users eyes were on the video window on the CNN website for 66-80% of the time that the video story was playing. Video attention is higher still during the pre-roll ad. In fact, on average, the users’ eyes are on the pre-roll ad for 77-87% of its duration.

The research showed that despite the high cross-over between the audiences of all the CNN properties, the audience is in a different state of mind when online or using a mobile phone versus watching television. Generally audiences were more attentive (though not necessarily more engaged) when online or mobile than when watching television.

For example, one in five consumers who were exposed to TV advertising for a well known bank were spontaneously able to re-call the brand advertised, however when online and mobile advertising were added, this figure rose to one in three.

With video viewing online and television viewing both prompting a strong emotional response from respondents, by combining TV advertising with online advertising, brands are surely onto a winning formula.

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