Science finds “short snouts, high foreheads, round faces and big eyes activate the dopamine reward center in the brain,” says the Wall Street Journal. With the advent of neuromarketing, research can link baby-, puppy- and kitten-based brain activation to buying — and even to which channels work best for what and why.
Here’s a rundown:
1 Use Original Content on Social Media. The Facebook algorithm cut ViralNova’s 1 million-fan post reach in half, its founder tweeted in January 2014. On Friday, a Mashable post with 1,200 shares by 3 p.m. says Upworthy is responding by creating original content, even as some publishers with millions of followers are using stolen videos to ready for Facebook’s rollout of video ads. “Virality, once a mysterious feature of the growing Internet, had more or less been figured out,” Mashable writes. “Puppies, cats, babies, heroes, redemption stories — there was a method to the madness. It worked well, but for the Facebook issue.”
Retailer Big Lots had its agency create original videos that would be a sure-thing: The digital content series “Doggies vs. Babies” asks viewers to choose who won, #TeamDoggies or #TeamBabies.
“We have less than three seconds to get customers’ attention on social platforms, and thought we’d play to the most popular Internet content,” says Tom O’Keefe, CEO of O'Keefe Reinhard and Paul, in a May 2015 piece on MediaPost.
After watching the “trailer,” maybe considering watching the telemarketing video from the series, too.
Speaking of Facebook, the social media giant just published smartphone vs. TV neuromarketing research on June 24.
“Overall, people were more attentive and tended to feel more positively toward the information presented on a mobile phone than on a TV,” says Helen Crossley, head of audience insights for Facebook IQ. “With TV, people’s brains were more distracted and had to work harder to process the information. We found that overall, mobile was on par with TV with regards to emotional intensity and engagement. 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.”
Budweiser may be a king of that crossover. On Feb. 2, 2015, Time writes about the “Lost Dog” ad that debuted during the Super Bowl.
“The ad was the most-shared spot online, garnering more than 2.1 million posts on Twitter, Facebook and blogs since it debuted last Wednesday, according to video ad tech company Unruly,” Time writes. “ ‘Lost Dog’ was also voted the best Super Bowl by viewers on Hulu’s AdZone, which gathered all the national ads for the big game in one place.”
This YouTube clip has nearly 30 million views as of Friday afternoon.
2. Emotional Rewards Sell in Direct Mail and Print, With Repetition. As the WSJ says in an April 2015 video, “many scientists think baby features evolved to release caregiving behavior in adults." What’s more is those emotions appeal to detail-oriented areas of the brain, too, says an April 2015 WSJ article. “Researchers have found that pictures of babies make their viewers more precise and careful in fine motor tasks, and make them pay more attention to small details,” writes Robert M. Sapolsky for the WSJ.
How that works in favor of direct mail and print channels comes up in June 15, 2015, research from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.
“We found that participants were more likely to remember an ad and its context if they were previously exposed to it in the physical format,” according to the USPS OIG report. (opens as a PDF) “ … We found increased activation in the ventral striatum when participants were estimating their [willingness to pay] for items previously exposed in the physical relative to digital format. Based on prior results and the role of this region in reward processing and desirability, we argue that items are perceived as more valuable and desirable to the consumer when they were exposed to them previously in a physical ad.”
3. Repetition Always Helps, Except When It Doesn’t. In an article published on Tuesday by AllVoices, Steve Genco says relevance is the key. “Quite a bit of research in the neuromarketing field has now confirmed that when we filter out distractions, like ads we're not interested in, we tend afterwards to dislike everything about them a little bit more, including the product or brand being advertised,” he says. “So striving for attention and failing to achieve it does come at a cost, one that marketers may not be aware of.”
Repetition of the wrong concept can also lead consumers astray. A Forbes.com post from Thursday illustrates this:
In your head, say the following word five times, then answer the question below as fast as possible.
What do cows drink?
How many of you said milk?
4. Actual Need. Some consumers have babies. It happens. “A 2011 USDA report states that middle income families will spend between $12,400 and $14.300 yearly on their children,” Avrick Direct tells Target Marketing via email in February 2015. “Now, multiply this figure by the approximately 4 million births in the U.S. every year. The total amount spent on new babies annually is staggering.”
Give them a useful product to buy, and it may happen. Breathable crib mattresses by Secure Beginnings videos got more than 3 million views after appearing on the TV show “Shark Tank,” says the release from digital media agency and video creator Media Genesis.
“The buzz on social media due to the help of the videos has helped Secure Beginnings more than triple their sales,” reads the email sent to Target Marketing on June 17, 2015.
How else are marketers using neuromarketing?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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