Facebook recently released a study it commissioned from neuromarketing agency SalesBrain looking at how people's brains respond to ads on smartphones versus televisions. It's certainly worth noting that much of Facebook's business depends on people buying mobile ads, but the findings indicate that smartphone-based content tends to resonate more.
Specifically, the study looked at how the brain responds via engagement, attention, emotion, and retention. They divided participants into two groups. The first group was shown ads ranging from movie trailers to brand ads at 30 to 120 seconds in length, first on televisions then on smartphones. The second group viewed the ads in the opposite order.
According to Facebook, people were more attentive and felt more positively toward what they saw on smartphones compared to TV. They found that people were more distracted and had to work harder to process what they were consuming on TV.
"We found that overall mobile was on par with TV with regards to emotional intensity and engagement," said Helen Crossley, Head of Audience Insighs at Facebook IQ. "Having said that, emotions and engagement were significantly higher for a couple of the ads. People were equally likely to be as engaged on mobile as they were on TV. As an added layer on top of the neuro research, we also saw an uplift in message recall when participants viewed the stimuli on TV followed by viewing it on a smartphone."
"We did not expect that the mobile viewing experience would produce more positive emotions. This was surprising," said Dr. Christophe Morin, Founder and CEO of SalesBrain. "You would assume that because the TV screen is larger than a smartphone screen that the bigger screen would yield a more positive emotional response. It seems that when viewing a stimulus our neurological systems don’t really require a grandiose experience to feel a response. Overall, the more data that we seem to be exposed to, the more effort is placed on our brain. And, in some way, due to its size, the smartphone may provide a more efficient, less energy-demanding experience."
"It is our conclusion that the smartphone experience is more immersive than the experience of TV viewing overall," he added. "When the same ad stimulus played on a smartphone, the reaction was greater than TV on both attention and positive emotion, and, to some degree, on engagement, which was quite remarkable."
While the conclusions drawn by the study definitely suit Facebook's best interests as a business, they also make sense when you think about how likely you are to look at your phone while you're watching TV. How often has your phone distracted you from your TV viewing? How often has your TV distracted you from your phone? I bet the former has happened a lot more.
The people behind the study discuss it more on the Facebook IQ site.
Images via Facebook