Addressable TV ads more memorable, study reveals

However, viewing on smaller screen appears to be less effective despite growth in TV viewing on smartphones.

Vauxhall: car ads appeared to show biggest difference in addressable's impact on memory
Vauxhall: car ads appeared to show biggest difference in addressable's impact on memory

People remember images from addressable TV ads more accurately than non-addressable ones, new research suggests.

A new study by addressable TV provider Finecast and University College London found that people accurately remembered 74% of all images they saw in addressable ads, compared with 68% for non-addressable ads. 

Joe Devlin, the UCL professor who led the neuroscience study alongside research company DRG, told Campaign that this six-percentage-point improvement in recall represents “a pretty serious difference”.

When responding to the memory questions, people’s mouse movements were also more direct when answering questions about addressable ads than when answering questions about non-addressable ads, reflecting more confidence in the answer given. 

Heart-rate data also showed that people have a greater focus when watching addressable ads compared with non-addressable ones, with lower heart rates linked to greater concentration.  

Perhaps surprisingly, car ads showed the biggest difference in terms of how addressability – the degree to which ads are personalised towards viewers based on data held about them – affects users. For example, people in the study were better able to recall brand logos. 

People also seem to better remember ads shown on a big screen (75%) compared with those on a small screen (69%), while focus levels appear to be significantly higher too.

The most recent Barb Viewing Report shows that tablet devices are a first choice for most people who do not watch video on a TV screen, while smartphones and tablets dominate non-TV set viewing at certain times of the day. 

Researchers measured engagement through a combination of physiological markers and behavioural measures to see how viewers psychologically process TV advertising. Each participant saw the same 16 ads (eight addressable and eight non-addressable). 

The report also found that, despite being increasingly subjected to personalised advertising online, consumers are more likely to engage with relevant TV ads, with one in three explicitly stating they would be more likely to view TV ads if they were relevant to them and liked addressable ads almost four times as much in the neuroscience study.

Harry Harcus, UK managing director at Finecast, added: “Both at a conscious and subconscious level, addressable TV advertising has the potential to positively impact viewers, but it needs to be done correctly. 

“TV is an opportunity to tell a story and the expectation from consumers is that it should be relevant to them too. Our research demonstrates that by marrying compelling creative with addressable capabilities, it’s possible to engage with a range of consumers in a variety of contexts and emotive viewing states through TV.”

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