This is Your Brain. This is Your Brain on Ads. How Neuroscience affects Advertising.

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by Jessica Bedussi

There’s no better way to entice a group of advertisers than with a “This is your brain on…” joke. This is exactly how I ended up in one of my favorite #SXSW sessions where two neuroscientists, Dr. Manuel Garcia-Garcia (Advertising Research Foundation) & Dr. Aaron Reid (Sentient Science Center), and Pranav Yadav, CEO of Neuro-Insight US, discussed the “non-conscious” decision-making of consumer purchasing behavior.

I scoured through my 8 pages of notes from the session and picked the most jaw-dropping statistics to share.

 

Only 38 percent of campaigns use creative customized for each platform

It sounds like common sense, but common sense is very often ignored. Dr. Garcia-Garcia shared the results of a Millward Brown study that the neural pathway to great creative is cross platform, with a unified message, and custom execution on each platform.

While cohesive campaign messaging is essential, users consume content differently depending on where they are. The enrapturing effect of a TVC is lost when viewed within the Facebook NewsFeed. In fact, a study showed that the same spot on TV and mobile was 50 percent less emotionally engaging to consumers viewing on mobile.

Each social platform has distinct audiences, capabilities, and community rules. The easiest way to shoot a creative campaign in the foot is to plaster the same creative on every platform with no customization.

 

95 percent of consumers say ads don’t affect their decisions

LOL. Most of the effects of advertising happen within the subconscious, meaning the everyday consumer believes they’re immune to advertising’s influence. This explains why emotional advertising can be effective.

As Dr. Reid put it, “We don’t want to know how you feel about an ad, we want to know how an ad makes you feel about a brand.”

 

Long-term memory encoding is the most important factor in predicting purchase intent

Layman’s terms: People are more likely to buy what you’re selling if they can recall your brand long-term.

One of the most crucial ways to do this is to align your brand with your target audience’s core values. It’s simple: People like brands they can relate to.

Above this is a simple reminder: Know your audience.

Individual brains respond to ads differently. Yadav recalled Mountain Dew’s 2016’s Puppy Monkey Baby Super Bowl spot as a prime example. Women overwhelmingly responded negatively to the spot, but males aged 18-35 (the brand’s target audience) loved the commercial and brand.

Neuroscience research is an important and fascinating element of advertising.

TL;DR: Customize creative for each platform, connect emotionally, and know your target audience.