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Eye Tracking Research
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.
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'.
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.
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?
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.
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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.
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!
The ad had 14% higher standout and 0.6" longer of engagement compared to the expected norm
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!