Outdoor media owner Clear Channel and WPP out-of-home agency Kinetic tested digital ads from the washing detergent brand Surf by BBH, American Express by Ogilvy, Lloyds TSB by RKCR/Y&R and a fourth unnamed advertiser to determine which ads consumers engaged with most.
The research used new face-tracking technology which can not only determine whether someone walking past the digital ad is looking at the poster but also the person’s gender, an estimate of their age and what mood they are in.
The study found that consumers were 1.42 times more likely to be happy when looking at the 'It's not just for posh nosh' American Express ad than the average ad.
Positive feel-good scores were also achieved by an American Express ad with an image of a bubbly cosmetics bottle and the tagline 'It's not just for vintage bubbly' and a Lloyds TSB ad promoting its mobile balance-checking service with a picture of a young woman shopping.
A second ad for Lloyds TSB's mobile service, featuring a pregnant woman and her partner with a shopping trolley, had the most negative response, with consumers 1.95 times more likely to have a negative facial expression compared with the average ad.
The research also found that when animation is added to static artwork, more people look at the ad. Animated ads were looked at 98,782 times, 9% more than their static equivalents.
In addition, Kinetic and Clear Channel found limited and bespoke animation was more engaging than full video. While 24% more people looked at ads with video and animation than static ads, full video only gave a 4% uplift compared with static ads.
The research found that ads have a longer impact at weekends. People looked at the ads for an average of four seconds at the weekend and an average of 1.4 seconds on weekdays.