Opinion

Using uncommon sense is the key to mobile advertising

Given how much we are using our phones, it might be common sense to migrate marketer attention to the device, says Howard Kingston, founder of Adludio, but it's actually the uncommon senses we should using.

Using uncommon sense is the key to mobile advertising
Using uncommon sense is the key to mobile advertising
In a time where our phones are constantly in our hands, as we touch, move and feel them…shouldn’t we be looking beyond the sense of sight to touch people with our marketing messages?

Since its inception, advertising has engaged mainly two senses – sight and sound – and this, for the most part, hasn’t changed as we’ve moved into a mobile era. However, this approach has, for the first time, started to feel out dated, as our phones rely hugely on our other senses: we touch our touch-screen phones, we move them around and feel them buzz in our pockets (even sometimes when they haven’t, as many of us have experienced with something now called Phantom Vibration Syndrome).

The average person checks their phones 221 times a day (that’s over 80,000 times a year). Think for a moment, of the 80,000+ times you checked your phone in the last year, how many brand messages can you actually remember? (If you’re anything like me, it’s likely to be zero).

Beyond sight and sound

In a time where our phones are constantly in our hands, as we touch, move and feel them…shouldn’t we be looking beyond the sense of sight to touch people with our marketing messages?

When humans are able to physically touch something, research simply shows an increase in memorability and strong positive memories

Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, the UCL professor who pioneers the research of multi-sensory engagement & the science of memorability believes our other human senses have the answer. Dr Tsivrikos’ research shows that touch, the first sense developed in the womb, is a critical component in how humans remember things as it creates a personalising effect. For example, an experiment showed that waiters of a French restaurant who briefly touched patrons on their shoulder before giving a bill were 128% more likely to receive a tip vs. waiters who did not touch their patrons on the shoulder. When humans are able to physically touch something, research simply shows an increase in memorability and strong positive memories (if the experience is positive).  

A multi-sensory experiment

In a ‘Multi-Sensory Experiment’, run by next generation mobile advertising firm Adludio at this year’s Mindshare Huddle, Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos attempted to prove his theory of the power of using extra senses in media by removing our most used sense, sight, by blindfolding participants and asking them to touch abstract objects.

As the research suggests, taking away sight had an immediate effect on perception and impression. Specifically, focusing on touch generated positive feelings and more impressively, allowed participants to recognise details that they would have overlooked without using their sense of touch. One surprising result was that blindfolded participants were able to correctly guess the colour of objects they touched.

The ability to engage the other human senses is what stands mobile apart from other mediums

Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos suggests that these findings can and should be, used within digital (ad in particular) mobile media. The ability to engage the other human senses is what stands mobile apart from other mediums, yet it is not being utilised by advertisers who are instead using banner ads & video on mobile for efficiency’s sake.

Via our business Adludio, we have seen first-hand that integrating extra senses such as touch, 3D and haptic technologies into mobile advertising delivers enhanced results for our clients such as Unilever, Nike, Nestle & others, with independent studies showing a 10x increase in brand recall vs. mobile video in campaigns where these mobile first technologies are used.

Speaking about the future of mobile advertising, Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos talked of his excitement in the possibility of incorporating other human senses beyond touch such as depth perception to completely immerse the user in a specific brand experience & the possibilities it can bring.

The mobile phones we use are now multi-sensory devices that engage not only sight and sound, but also touch, movement and depth perception. The science of memorability has proven that by engaging these other human senses, advertisers can generate enhanced results.

Isn’t that an approach to mobile advertising that makes sense?