New Neuroscience Study Shows How Mobile Users Actually Respond to In-App Ads


CommPRONewsItemBy Editorial Staff

In-app mobile video advertising platform MediaBrix announced the results of a new study from neuromarketing leaders True Impact and Neurons Inc. designed to help marketers understand how users react to and engage with in-app mobile video ads.

Researchers found that embedded, opt-in ads that rewarded attention and presented within the context of user’s app experiences yielded eight times more mental engagement, more than three times the amount of time spent with the brand, and significantly higher brand recall and positive sentiment than standard interstitial video ads.

“We believe mobile is the most powerful advertising medium of our day, but the industry as a whole lacks research and real innovation to capitalize on it.” said Ari Brandt, CEO and co-founder of MediaBrix.” This research allows marketers to understand the opportunities that lie in mobile and the implications of how we approach consumers there. We’re excited to expand upon these findings and analyze more formats in our mission to build meaningful, coveted one-to-one connections between brands and consumers.”

To learn how different methods of delivering an in-app ad impact a user’s receptivity to advertising, thought leaders in neuroscience and neuromarketing had subjects in a controlled environment interact with a mobile app from developer Magmic. They used scientific-grade technologies to monitor subjects’ interactions, neuro and biometric responses before, during, and after the moment of ad delivery.

Subjects also underwent a post-test interview for further insights into their reaction and interactions with the test app and advertisements. The lead researchers were Dr. Thomas Ramsoy, PhD, CEO, Neurons Inc. and adjunct professor at University of Copenhagen, and Diana Lucaci, neuromarketing expert and CEO of True Impact.

“In order to truly understand consumers’ reactions to different ad delivery methods within an app, we decided to go beyond standard physiological data and looked to neuroscience and years of trusted methodologies,” said Lucaci. “What we’ve learned about the consumer’s state in the moment of being approached by a brand speaks to how much a mobile ad can either alienate a consumer or inspire brand affinity. The stakes for marketers are huge here.”

“As we looked at the neuroscience and biometric data, the disparity between the two mobile ad executions became glaringly obvious,” said Ramsoy. “Positive indicators like cognitive load, or engagement, and motivation, the brain’s manifestation of wanting, were much stronger in the contextualized, rewarded ad, whereas arousal, or erratic sentiment in the brain, was much more common for standard interstitial ads.”

Overall, the study found that people engage more with mobile video ads that are embedded in the app experience, opt-in, and contextually relevant with a value exchange compared to a full-page interstitial ad unit. Here are some key findings:

  • Interstitials stimulate negative responses: the full page video interstitial ads triggered fight-or-flight responses at a rate twice that of the embedded opt-in ads, and interstitial ad viewers fixated 22 percent of time spent looking for the X button. Viewers are more likely to be more receptive to an ad message when it’s seen as adding value to their viewing experience.
  • People actually watch the embedded, opt-in units: close to 90 percent of viewers watched the full 30-second video, compared to only 25 percent when exposed to an interstitial.
  • Embedded, opt-in ad viewers actually pay attention to the brand: not only do they watch the ad, but they also spend three times as much time fixated on the brand creative watching the embedded, opt-in ad, and they’re eight times more cognitively engaged with said ad.
  • Embedded, opt-in ads help users remember and understand the message: for the embedded, opt-in ads, research found that viewers spend 9.5 times more time understanding/considering the embedded value exchange ad over the interstitial ad unit. This time considering/understanding the ad resulted in 70 percent of viewers remembering the product and 73 percent understanding the brand offer, as opposed to 40 percent and 49 percent respectively of users who experienced interstitial ads.
  • Embedded, opt-in ad viewers are more motivated: those who experienced the contextual ad unit had four times a feeling of motivation according to neurometric measures, and 25 percent said the ads made them want to keep using the app.

“As the ARF gears up to release its findings on mobile advertising at its Annual Conference next year with focus on creative factors and delivery – this research adds substantial data to the existing body of knowledge,” said Dr. Manuel Garcia-Garcia, senior vice president of the Advertising Research Foundation and adjunct assistant professor at the New York University Stern School of Business. “It is exciting to see that the industry thought leaders are taking an aggressive yet thoughtful approach to the mobile channel and how brands can be best served.”

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