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The interactive future is here - and this is what you need to know

Ocean's latest neuroscience research reveals the impact of technology integrated with full-motion digital screens on encoding memories and driving engagement

Above: Fashion is delivered via a simulated live stream. Live streaming is 3x more effective than full-motion
Above: Fashion is delivered via a simulated live stream. Live streaming is 3x more effective than full-motion

Digital out-of-home advertising has transformed the outdoor advertising space. Located in iconic locations such as Landsec’s Piccadilly Lights and the Birmingham Media Eyes, Ocean’s full-motion digital screens create an innovative canvas for creative work – and meaningful interactions with consumers.

But DOOH is about more than just full-motion video; with screens now incorporating cutting-edge technologies including image detection, vehicle detection technology, live streaming, and augmented reality, DOOH locations are more interactive than ever before.

Now, a new study has revealed the impact of interactive technology on consumers, showing that full-motion screens which include interactivity are, on average, over three times (3.3x) more impactful than regular full-motion sites.

Use your brains
The study, the fourth wave of neuroscience research carried out by Ocean and neuromarketing research company NeuroInsight, used brain imaging technology to measure electrical activity in the brain. It tracked participants’ responses to non-interactive DOOH creative against a series of interactive creative treatments – using either Wi-Fi, live streaming, augmented reality or social media interaction.

"We measure brain response, looking second-by-second at what’s happening in different parts of the brain," says Heather Andrew, founder and CEO of Neuro-Insight at the time of the study. "Most importantly, we measure what’s being sent down and encoded into long-term memory. If information gets into memory, it indicates we’ve already potentially found a use for it – and because of that, there’s a very strong correlation between memory and behaviour."

By measuring the speed of electrical responses in the brain, Neuro-Insight generated an indexed effectiveness score that combines attention, engagement, emotional intensity, positive or negative emotional impact and memory encoding. "We tested the indexed effectiveness of full-motion DOOH against Ocean’s suite of interactive technologies," says Catherine Morgan, director of Ocean Labs. "In every case, the interactive creative was more effective at encoding long-term memories."

Put to the test
In the first of four tests, participants connected to Wi-Fi and used a torch app on their phones to interact with the screen – eliciting 52% higher impact in terms of memory encoding effectiveness than simple full-motion sites.

The second test involved watching either a fashion show or a Formula E race. "When people were seeing something they perceive as a live film, as opposed to a regular fullmotion film, levels of memory encoding were more than three times higher," says Andrew.

That figure rose even higher for the third test, which used Ocean’s LookOut image detection technology to place participants in an augmented reality world on the screen, interacting with animated characters. This AR experience was almost four times more impactful than full-motion DOOH. "There’s nothing that drives brain response more strongly than seeing ourselves as part of a brand story," explains Andrew.

Most effective of all, though, was social media interactivity. "The subjects took selfies and saw them projected onto the screen as part of a chain of Twitter interactions," says Morgan. "This activity drove the strongest levels of brain response – it was over five times the level we got for full-motion digital. It’s because it’s driving the two things that are most important to us in terms of brain response – it’s interactive, and it’s featuring us."

"Interactivity really matters," says Andrew. "If you look at people’s brain response to a Facebook page, you get really high levels of visual attention, and quite low levels of memory encoding – because we’re just sifting through content, we’re not filing it away. As soon as we become part of that content, then it’s a very different experience."

The science of outdoor

Iconic sites
Ocean’s 2013 study found that premium out-of-home sites delivered higher memory encoding than standard ones.

Prime mover
Research by Ocean in 2015 revealed that, when primed by DOOH, mobile advertising created 45% higher levels of memory encoding.

Full-motion
In 2017, Ocean demonstrated that full-motion DOOH is 2.5 times more impactful than equivalent static sites.

The Ocean view

"Often, people are surprised by just how far the technology of digital out-of-home has come; a lot of the things that people think of as futuristic are available in Ocean locations right now. Ocean Labs has developed screens with features including live video streaming, LookOut image detection technology, SimplyFi Wi-Fi sponsorship, social media interactivity, vehicle detection technology, and augmented reality.

"With this study, we wanted to explore how Ocean’s suite of interactive technology drives human engagement. We couldn’t be more pleased with the findings. They show that not only is interactivity over three times more impactful than full-motion DOOH; it is over eight times more impactful than static OOH sites. Different types of interactions have different levels of impact, too.

"Over the years, our work with Neuro-Insight has shown a clear, unfolding story – that full-motion digital screens in iconic locations, used as part of a cross-media campaign, create strong emotional associations in consumers and prime them for brand communications in other media.

"Now we’ve shown that interactivity adds a strong incremental impact, immersing consumers in the DOOH experience."

Helen Haines, head of marketing & events, Ocean 

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