Study: TV ads twice as memorable as mobile ads
October 13, 2022
Comcast Advertising has released a report titled TV Makes Memories highlighting how ads in the television environment have a unique ability to drive memories – suggesting this is due to three factors of engagement that are important for branding outcomes: attention, connection and repetition.
The report reveals that these outcomes, and consequently the strongest memories, are most effectively achieved through premium, long-form TV advertising – both traditional and streaming – on the big screen.
Comcast Advertising conducted the study in partnership with MediaScience, a provider of lab-based audience research. The results revealed that unaided recall was 2.2x higher and purchase intent was 1.3x higher for the same ads viewed in the big screen TV environment compared to the mobile digital environment. Furthermore, when a TV ad preceded these types of digital ads, both purchase intent and unaided recall were better than two digital mobile ads alone.
“Many of us know instinctually that TV ads are memorable. The jingle that gets stuck in your head, the commercials that make you laugh – all of this is the result of TV’s ability to imprint on your memory in a unique way,” said James Rooke, President, Comcast Advertising. “This research validates TV’s memorability, proving ads viewed in the long-form, lean-back TV environment have greater unaided recall and purchase intent versus the same ads shown in a short-form, small-screen digital mobile feed. Engagement is a metric that increasingly matters to our clients, and with this research, we’re showing how powerful TV and streaming are when it comes to building that engagement.”
In the study with MediaScience, Comcast Advertising sought to better quantify the engagement of TV and streaming advertising on the TV screen, by exploring how different types of ad exposure impact memory. Viewers were shown 30-second ads in mobile digital environments, TV environments, and a combination of the two. Participants were then exposed to an even mix of well-known and unknown brands, and their response was measured by biometrics – including eye tracking, cardiac deceleration and neurometric intensity – as well as post-exposure survey questions.
The consumer study investigated how the impact of watching a traditional or streaming TV ad in a ‘TV environment’ may differ from a viewer seeing the same ad in a mobile digital environment on a as measured by awareness, recall and purchase intent. Comcast Advertising extended this comparison to look at the three factors of memory gleaned from existing academic research of memory influencers: attention, connection and repetition – to explore the differences in the ability of a TV environment versus a mobile environment to influence memory and ultimately, advertising effectiveness.
In addition to the findings around purchase intent and recall, the study found that:
- Ads viewed in the TV environment garnered more visual attention as participants watched 71 per cent of the ad, compared to just 30 per cent of the digital mobile ads – likely a result of the full-screen viewing experience and mitigated distractions inherent with the digital experience.
- Participants rated the creative message better when an ad seen in the TV environment preceded an ad in the digital mobile environment.
- On first exposure, there was 3.4 times better recall for TV ads vs digital mobile ads, compared to 2.3 times better recall for well-known brands – suggesting that viewing ads in the TV environment gave brands the best opportunity to make a first impression and better impact a consumer’s formation of brand memories.
As revealed through this research, in the high-quality, long-form, full-screen TV environment, where visual attention is high, brands are more likely to be remembered – which influences consumers as they move towards purchase and improves cross-screen advertising that may follow. When it comes to branding, advertisers should consider how their ads stimulate attention, make a connection, and use repetition – enhancing memory, and thus, efficiency.
“Once again we see the power of cross-platform synergy,” said Dr. Duane Varan, CEO, MediaScience. “Here, social media and digital video work best when they activate memory structures built through the kind of brand equity that TV delivers. It’s a powerful combination.”