Facebook Neuromarketing Study

Do Facebook ads get respect? Many of the ads I see are for cheesy sites and suspect offers. Web marketers I talk to all complain about low click-through rates on Facebook ads, and that matches my own experience. Facebook is determined to do a better job generating ad revenue, and hired neuromarketing firm NeuroFocus to study how users perceived ads on “premium” websites.

Since we are seeing the results of this study, astute readers will have guessed the outcome: ads on Facebook do very well compared to the competition.

Website Comparison

The study looked at three popular web destinations:

  • A user’s own “News Feed” page on Facebook
  • The default home page of Yahoo!
  • The default home page of NYTimes.com

Separately, NeuroFocus determined that these sites all captured more of the viewers attention and were more engaging emotionally that “average” websites. The key finding from Facebook’s standpoint was,

People viewing their own “News Feed” page on Facebook exhibited high levels of activation on all three metrics: attention, emotional engagement, and memory. The Facebook page had statistically higher levels of emotional engagement than either of the other two pages tested.

Mynd headset from NeuroFocusNeuroFocus uses an EEG device, Mynd, to measure brainwave activity as consumers view ads and other content. Their literature says that they turn the collected data into three key metrics: attention, emotional engagement, and memory retention.

Should we be surprised by the results? One might expect that a social network like Facebook, where we interact with friends and family, might be more emotionally engaging than a news site or web portal. Still, the data is interesting, and, if you read the whole report, you’ll see it isn’t universally favorable to Facebook. The published study also provides a relatively uncommon glimpse into the sort of neuromarketing study results that are normally kept confidential. And, if the NeuroFocus study gets some quality ads on Facebook to replace “women looking for mature men” and phony “Lord & Lady Titles,” I’m all for it!