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Eye-tracking research provides insight into long-term advertising

Just recently the Australian marketing professor Karen Nelson-Field has published a second eye-tracking study into the effects of video advertising around TV content (TV and online), Facebook and YouTube. This new research, called Decay, shows that the effect of video advertising on the consumer’s purchase decisions continues for up to a month after he has seen a video advertisement. The effect between advertising around TV content and advertising on YouTube and Facebook is very different.

The objective of this research is to help in the best possible use of video advertising. Professor Nelson-Field observes in her research that advertisements placed between TV content on TV or online have a much longer influence on purchase decisions than advertisements on Facebook or YouTube. This is independent of what type of screen they are viewed on. It appears that the recollection of TV advertising is so strong that the effect on sales after 28 days is even greater than the effect of the video ads on Facebook and YouTube during their peak, immediately after being seen on these platforms. According to the research, this is due to the superior visibility of TV commercials.

To exclude human influence on the data collection during the Benchmark Series research program, artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning technology and eye-tracking software are used.

Short-term versus long-term sales effects
This research examines how long the exposure to the video advertising has an impact on the purchase decisions (sales) for the three main video platforms: Facebook, YouTube and TV, depending on the screen that is being watched.

Initially, the short-term sales effects were investigated by asking more than 2,500 respondents to choose products in an online supermarket, immediately after they had been exposed to several ads. In this follow-up study, the same respondents were asked again to visit the same online supermarket and choose products after 14 days and after 28 days after exposure to the advertisements.

According to this, the short and long-term effects of video advertisements differ significantly per platform and screen:

  • With the repeat measurements, TV and video on demand (VOD) have the strongest impact on sales compared to Facebook and YouTube, regardless of which screen was viewed.
  • Ads that are viewed within TV content have a greater impact on sales immediately after exposure than ads on Facebook and YouTube, via any screen.
  • The ads on Facebook and YouTube are quickly forgotten and the effect on sales takes a little more than 6 days while the effect of TV advertising lasts 10 times as long.

The effects of TV advertising are more sustainable
As an explanation of the research results, Professor Nelson-Field comments: “The new results show that some platforms are better in delivering the crucial element of media effectiveness: The ability to anchor something in the memory. TV advertising not only delivers a larger sales effect in the short term, that sales effect is also more sustainable because the TV commercial stays in the memory for a longer period. TV advertising continues to hold this impact because of the visibility (viewability). The main reason why TV advertising attracts so much attention and impact is that TV advertising uses the entire screen and because of a large number of pixels. As TV ads fill the entire screen, they are 100% visible and do not suffer from ‘below the fold’ scrolling. So, TV wins on two fronts, the impact is immediately bigger from the start and it decreases less”.

All Response Media viewpoint
This research clearly shows that TV is not only the best video platform in terms of short-term sales effect but also in terms of a long-term effect, since the creative content is better remembered. And long-term effects are important for brand growth. All advertising is eventually forgotten, but TV commercials are the most striking and less likely to be forgotten. As a result, they have more impact, a greater impact on sales and a better campaign reminder. So, if you want your advertising to have an impact on your target group for a longer period, VOD works best on the smartphone. And for the long term, TV content on a TV screen is the best way to influence consumer behaviour.

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