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Ad Effectiveness: Tablets Trounce PCs by 28% – Implications

The tablet is turning out to be the brand’s BFF.  First we learned that people are willing to pay more for products seen on a tablet (if you can manipulate them through a touch interface – endowment effect). And now research this week shows that spontaneous ad recall is 28% higher on a tablet than on a PC.

The research was conducted with University College London Business Psychology School and sponsored by media agency PHD and involved and A/B benchmarking of ad recall when viewing an online newspaper (with ads) on a PC vs. a tablet.  The study also found that the ads viewed on a tablet are received more positively than on a PC.  I haven’t seen the data or full report yet, but if validity and reliability of findings hold up, then it’s more evidence that the interfaces used to access content can be as important as the content itself.  I suspect a key mediating factor will be the immersive nature of tablet reading.

Of course, what this doesn’t mean is that brands should start plastering ads all over tablet content – that would be a sure way to spread and mutate the epidemic of banner blindness from PCs to tablets. We should learn from our mistakes.  Personally, and it’s but a hunch right now, I believe the way forward lies in taking magazine advertising as our start point (as the FT is doing with the tablet version of How To Spend It) – and upgrade still images to short form hyperlinked ephemeral video ads (Snapchat-style – press and still ad turns to video – but only once).  Interruptive yes, but immersive and interactive. The ability to manipulate to manipulate such ads – turning them from still image to moving image would trigger the endowment effect – and drive not only recall, but also desire.

Could the future of digital advertising on tablets be ephemeral video ads?

Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.