How advertising works

People don’t have to remember the advert for it to have an effect

Whether or not people recall your advert is only one measure of success and does not give the full picture of ad effectiveness. When consumers process advertising, they convert the content of the advert into semantic packages to store in long-term memory. The brand identifiers (e.g. logo, colour), feelings (fun, calm) and ideas (tasty, healthy) get attached to each other and stored. When the consumer recalls the brand in the future (maybe seeing it in a store) those factors get activated – but they may not realise they were learned from advertising. So, they think of Coca Cola as refreshing but don’t know this knowledge came from an advert.

Emotion is important even for rational messages

Emotion is an important component of memory encoding and processing generally. Things we learn when in a heightened state of emotion create longer lasting memories than situations when we feel very little. The same effect has been shown to affect advertising – emotionally charged adverts generally perform better in ad effectiveness studies. So, if you can get your message across in an emotive way then your adverts are likely to be more effective.

Not all brand perceptions drive sales

Maybe you have found that your brand is not seen as ‘luxurious’ as competitors and decided to change those perceptions. But not all brand perceptions are linked to sales (in fact the majority have only a weak connection). If ultimately you want to impact on sales (or enquiries) make sure that your attitudes are actually linked to sales. Modern research techniques such as Emotional Logic’s Motivation Deep Dive can help with that and will multiply the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Don’t just rely on low attention processing

In recent years there has been a lot of discussion about low attention processing – increasing evidence suggests that advertising can work even if people don’t pay direct attention to it. In fact, some theories state advertising works better if people pay less attention. However, this is only partly true.

When people don’t really pay attention to advertising, they form an impression. This can happen unconsciously, is stored in our implicit memory and can have a direct impact on sales. However, this type of memory encoding may not be sufficient if your advertising is trying to change brand perceptions or to get people to take immediate action. In those cases, advertising benefits from higher attention processing.

Whether your ads require attention to work depends on the product category you are in and what your campaign is trying to achieve.

Context determines how well an advert works

We are often being told that advertising must stand out, disrupt, be different. This is useful for creative styles but not when it comes to media context. Hundreds of ad tests we conducted have shown that the context of the advert has major impact on effectiveness. The same advert in two different contexts can go from best to worst performing.

It is all about understanding the mindset of the audience – if you can tailor your advert towards what viewers and listeners may be thinking at the time then you can double the attention your advertisement will receive.

A cooking themed advert inside a cooking programme, a 4×4 car brand inside a mountaineering feature will be significantly more effective than random ad placements, even if they are lifestyle targeted. And the more specific you can go the more attention and engagement you will achieve.

 

Emotional Logic offers a suite of affordable online tests that can help you optimise your ads so they are fit for their specific campaign objective. Get in touch to find out more.