Not On The High Street Wins our Panellists Hearts

Since it's Valentines Day, we decided to test whether digital valentines ads would receive more attention than non-valentines ads, or whether people would pay attention to the ads at all!

Click to view the results and find out whether romance is really dead...

Lumen In The Press: Ad Attention Increases During Key Shopping Times - Newsworks

Eye-tracking specialists Lumen tested a wide range of print and online newsbrand ads in December 2016, to see which were noticed, what most interested people and how long they spent looking at the ads.

It found that people spend longer reading their newspapers around Christmas – and that includes the ads. Total viewing time for print and digital newsbrand ads increased by 36% in December – that’s over 100,000 hours more than pre-December...

Netflix - Advertising's Answer To Unfortunate Events

For Every Unfortunate Event, There's an Advertising Solution

80 nationally representative participants read a digitised copy of The Metro while their eye movements were recorded, to see which ads gained the most attention.

This week's winner was an ad from Netflix's new series 'A Series of Unfortunate Events', based on the children's novels by Lemony Snicket. 

print ad testing

Netflix created an unusual, full page ad in the format of a letter directly addressing commuters reading The Metro. For anyone who has read the books, seen the film or the series, the letters wording is in keeping with Lemony Snickets dark humour and allows readers to relate to the ad by using a topical theme of the 'winter morning commute'.

advertising engagement statistics

As the heat map above illustrates, the ad successfully grabbed readers attention, with high levels of standout, and held it there for an average of 18.5 seconds!

Safely beating the expected norm of 3.3 seconds.

feature analysis

Using lots of copy in ads can go one of two ways, however, this particular ad managed to keep readers engaged with  61% reading the letter till the end. 

All paragraphs did well, particularly the bullet points in the middle of the letter, where 80% of the sample were engaged for an average of 4.8"

These bullet points use clever wordplay, one of the authors traits, to humour the readers and intrigue them to read on to where they find out that the ad is for a new Netflix series.

Is Lemony Snickets Secret Society too Secretive?

advertising recall graph

Although, this ad won readers attention, recall for the Netflix brand was weak.
Only 9% spontaneously remembered seeing a Netflix ad and only 16% remembered when prompted.




The letter cleverly spoke to its audience in the authors voice, however the brands voice seems to have been lost amongst this, with very low numbers of people remembering seeing an ad for Netflix. 
There was no Netflix branding and it was only mentioned once in the final paragraph, which received the lowest standout and engagement levels of the four main paragraphs. However, the letter clearly created intrigue and illustrates the series' secretive style.

If you want to test your creatives using our eye tracking technology or want to find out more about what we do drop us an email by clicking the link above!

Virgin Mobile Prove Ad Size Isn't Everything

Virgin Mobile's Latest Ad May be Small but Was Still This Weeks Omnibus Winner

80 nationally representative participants read a digitised copy of The Metro while their eye movements were recorded to reveal which ad gained the most attention.

Print ad testing

Virign Mobile made this small ad format (20x2) work well for them by being careful not to include too much information & choosing a catchy, play-on headline to intrigue the reader. Virgin get straight to the point of the ad, highlighting their special offer by using contrasting colours for text and background, that also link with their brand identity

advert engagement statistics

Virgin's ad achieved 14% higher standout and 0.3" longer engagement on avg. when compared to our normative database of over 3000 ads.


Virgin Not As Well Known For Their Mobile Network Deals?

Despite gaining the most attention compared to expected norms, Virgin did not perform as well on recall. Just 13% remembered spontaneously and 24% after being prompted. 

However, Virgin currently only have a small market share as a mobile network provider compared to some competitors, which could weaken recall for them offering a mobile SIM deal.

advert recall data

Eye-catching ads like this, however, may help to improve the brand being better recognised as a mobile network provider in the future.

Top Tips for Small Ads

1. Keep your message clear and simple
2. Use contrasting colours so text stands out
3. Keep some negative space on your ad
4. Try a catchy headline to grab readers attention

Although smaller ads may have lower standout when compared to a full page ad, if done correctly you can still grab the majority of readers attention and save yourself a few quid!

Halitosis - Hard Not To Notice

The first eye tracking omnibus of 2017 revealed The Bad Breath Co. as the winners!

80 nationally representative participants read a digitised copy of The Metro while their eye movements were recorded, to reveal which ad gained the most attention.

Creative Ad Testing

The Bad Breath Co. get straight to the point with their statement headline and large product image, instantly telling the audience what they are offering. Print ads only have a short time-frame to engage and relay a message, so this is an important tactic!

Eye tracking metrics

The ad had 14% higher standout and 0.6" longer of engagement compared to the expected norm

bad breath feature.png

The product image engaged over half the readers for an average of 1.5". However, this image also includes product and brand info, which is why we may see these long dwell times.

Although this ad has a striking headline and product image it isn't all squeaky clean! The extra copy, under the logo, uses very small and difficult to read font that readers are likely to ignore.

Creative ad testing


The Science-y Bit

Layout is a key factor of performance. Psychological studies have revealed that stimuli presented in the left visual field is processed by the right hemisphere and vice versa.


Since our right hemisphere is better suited to processing pictorial info and the left hemisphere to logical/verbal info, by placing images on the left and text on the right of ads (like The Bad Breath Co.) processing fluency should increase, allowing readers to digest the ad quicker. (Grobelny & Michalski, 2015).

Lidl Are This Year's Final Christmas Ad Winners!

Our final omnibus of the year had 80 participants read through an online version of The Metro, whilst we recorded their eye movements. The eye tracking results revealed that Lidl's Christmas Advertorial won the most attention.

Eye tracking results Lidl

Usually, our results say less is more, but in this case, Lidl's ad revealed more is more! They have linked their advertorial to their long-running 'Lidl Surprises' campaign, which is working to change perceptions about the quality of their food.

Eye Tracking Results

This is not the first advertorial Lidl have used to promote their Christmas products. Early December they ran an advertorial on page 4 of The Metro, advertising their range of Ice-wine, again emphasising the quality of their products. 

Eye Tracking Feature Analysis

Both ads outperformed expected norms and the feature analysis shows how participants were drawn to the article banner, giving them enough time to comprehend who and what the main article is about. Around 50% also spent longer than 1" on the ad copy, allowing time to scan and recognise Lidl's campaign message.

Eye Tracking Dwell Times

Using an advertorial has allowed Lidl to tell a more in-depth story about their Christmas products and where they come from, which works nicely with their TV Christmas ad that focuses on how its turkeys get from farm to plate! 

Who Won the Internet?

This week's winner is... Three!

Since January 2016, we've been running the world's first eye tracking panel. We've recruited 300 households up and down the country, and equipped each of them with a laptop-mounted eye tracking camera.

We can use the panel to test ads against one another to see which gets the most attention. This week, we compared two MPU's for Three and Vodafone.

61% of respondents viewed the Three ad for an average of 0.8 seconds. 

On average, MPUs tend to be viewed for 0.8 seconds. Although Vodafone's engagement was marginally higher than Three's, with 61% of readers looking at the ad, Three take the win.

How Jackson Beat It!

Three’s muppet-style character (who’s actual name is Jackson) is working hard to engage readers.

We often find that ads that feature images of people or humanoid characters capture attention more effectively than those that simply feature an image of a sim card.

It appears Jackson really is delivering in his role of making ‘stuff better’.