The brain doesn't lie: Neuromarketing study looks at sequencing and channel combinations

Posted on Jan. 12, 2017 by Canada Post in Marketing solutions

Neuroscience gives marketers a fascinating – and useful – look at what happens in the brain when consumers are exposed to marketing messages. It provides valuable insights into the subconscious emotions that are responsible for driving 80-90%1 of consumer decisions.

A first-of-its-kind neuromarketing study by a team of neuroscience experts2 at Ipsos examined consumer engagement with direct mail and various digital advertising channels (email, display and pre-roll video) with two key questions in mind:

  • What is the best media mix to optimize consumer attention, engagement and response?
  • What sequence works best when using digital and direct media channels?

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Both non-conscious (emotional) and conscious (rational) responses were measured. Researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) to study emotional responses, eye tracking to track attention, and surveys to assess brand recall and consumers’ stated attitudes, feelings and perceptions towards the various media presented in the study.

The research revealed two useful takeaways for marketers planning their next campaigns.

1. Multi-media campaigns with direct mail have stronger consumer engagement than single-media digital campaigns

This "Combination effect" means that integrated campaigns that include direct mail elicit greater consumer attention. They are also better at provoking the action-drivers of emotional engagement and brand recall than single-media digital campaigns.

  • Integrated direct mail and digital campaigns elicit 39% more attention (time spent) than single-media digital campaigns.
  • Integrated direct mail and digital campaigns trigger 5% more emotional intensity (arousal) than single-media digital campaigns.
  • Integrated direct mail and digital campaigns elicit 10% higher brand recall than single-media digital campaigns.

Marketers can leverage the “Combination effect” to help mitigate ad fatigue felt by consumers exposed to hundreds of advertising messages every day.

2. Direct mail makes the most impact when it follows a digital message

Media sequencing matters. This study suggests that direct mail’s impact on consumer engagement with integrated campaigns may be strongest when it follows digital advertising.

    • Brand recall peaks when direct mail follows email, outperforming the average for the other single and integrated media campaigns by 40%.
    • Arousal peaks when direct mail follows display, outperforming the average for the other single and integrated media campaigns by 26%.
    • Motivation peaks when direct mail follows pre-roll, outperforming the average for the other single and integrated media campaigns by 3% (this small lift in motivation is significant enough to drive meaningful changes in behaviour).

These findings on the "Sequencing effect" offer marketers across industries an opportunity to advance their own media efficiency. Rolling out the right marketing media in the right order creates more effective campaigns. The observations in Connecting for Action can be used as a starting point to apply, learn and build upon for upcoming integrated marketing campaigns.

Why measuring attention, emotional engagement (arousal, motivation) and brand recall matters to marketers

The value of measuring attention (time spent) is that it increases the opportunity for brands and advertising messages to be noticed. If a customer spends time looking at your ad, they are spending time with your brand and your message.

Measuring arousal and motivation gives you a read on the non-conscious effect of advertising on a consumer. High arousal couple with high motivation creates a positive effect for the consumer, leading to a greater propensity to take action.

Brand recall is tightly linked to consumer purchase behaviour. Consumers are more likely to make purchases from brands that they can easily recognize or remember than from unknown brands.

When you use the optimal media channel mix in the right sequence, you are more likely to inspire consumers to take action on the campaign’s messaging. Use the research in Connecting for Action to get big results with small changes to your marketing mix and timing.

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1 Peter Noel Murray, Ph.D., Psychology Today, Feb, 2013

2 Elissa Moses, CEO & Jessica Reiter, SVP, of Ipsos Neuro & Behavioral Science Center of Excellence. Thomas Ramsay, Founder & CEO, Neurons.

READ MORE: How direct mail helped a great idea grow into a successful business

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