The Advertising Research Foundation Unveils Latest Original Research on How Advertising Works™ at their Annual Conference


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This week, the Advertising Research Foundation (The ARF) presented findings from its 2017 How Advertising Works™ research initiative.

This research looked at data from more than 5,000 global campaigns across television, print, radio, desktop and mobile platforms representing $375B in advertising spend. The overarching goal is to gain new insights that help marketers make advertising more effective, with this year’s initiative focused on three key research topics. Topline findings are as follows:

Cookies vs. Context: Maximizing Media ROI

Members have asked the ARF to explore the balance between audience targeting and contextually relevant advertising, due to the rise or programmatic.  A look at the study suggests that while targeting the right consumers is essential, ignoring the context in which an ad is seen or heard appears risky. The ARF Context Effects Model, released as part of Phase I of this study, provides a framework and examples for marketers thinking about how to take advantage of context effects. 

Mobile Research Quality

Almost 3 out of every 10 surveys begin on a smartphone today—a 700% increase in the past 5 years. Yet, we haven’t made it easy for consumers to take a survey on their phone. Can we design surveys to solve this problem without compromising data quality? To answer this, experiments were conducted by replacing text questions with either an emoji or number. Consumers enjoyed the survey experience as much or more on a smartphone using emojis with no difference in data quality.  

Creating Effective Mobile Advertising

Video ads that are customized to mobile are far more effective than those repurposed from TV. But how do we optimize or develop a video creative for mobile? Creative experts from top agencies were surveyed to gain insights on this topic. Experts said that the execution needs to be adapted to the smaller screen and make sure it works vertically. Also, the creative needs to be very engaging in the first two seconds in order to capture the user’s attention and make them turn the sound on (in case it is not). 

As Scott McDonald Ph.D., ARF President & CEO, explained “The How Advertising Works™ original research, focused on the key issues for our industry today, helps our members to drive greater business impact through more effective advertising.”

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