News Flash: People Who Stare at Ads Buy (And Search)
Here’s a groundbreaking study: Eyeblaster, Microsoft Advertising and comScore have found that the longer people stare at an ad, the more likely they are to search for brand-related terms. Eyeblaster also found that “ad dwellers” are more likely to buy, too. Somehow, I don’t think that means we’re supposed to make all our creative into a “Where’s Waldo” type quest.
The results of the study indicate consumers who were exposed to campaigns that typically get people to linger longer are more likely to search for brand-related keywords as compared to users who were exposed to campaigns with a low dwell times. The research found that consumers who were exposed to campaigns with low dwell times increased brand related keyword searches by 12%, while consumers exposed to campaigns with high dwell times increased brand-related keyword search by 39%. This suggests that campaigns with high dwell times are three times more effective at driving search than campaigns with low dwell times.
The survey is based on a sample of 800 rich media campaigns from the first half of last year. Eyeblaster also found that conversions also increased. The study also found that video increases “dwell” time by about 29%.
But let’s think about this: dwell rate is calculated, according to MediaPost:
Dwell rate measures the proportion of impressions that were intentionally engaged with by touch, interaction or click. Average dwell time measures the duration of a dwell in seconds for consumers who engage with ads. In both cases, any unintentional time lasting less than one second is excluded.
Might there be a confounding variable here? Maybe the people who engaged with an ad are, I don’t know, already interested in that product? Let’s put it this way: if you’re in the market for a new digital camera, and you see an ad for a digital camera, are you more likely to look at it and possibly interact with it? But if you see a car ad, are you more likely to “dwell” or just move on? While it’s always nice to know that advertising works (and to know that it can invluence a purchase decision, even if it doesn’t force users to buy something they’re not already interested in), it sounds like self-selecting users are really what’s going on here.
What do you think? Is this more a case of ads actually changing consumer behavior or merely influencing already-interested buyers?