Watching TV

Television ads are far more potent than online ads for viewer engagement and brand resonance, according to a new study by Fox Broadcasting and neuromarketing firm Innerscope Research. According to information released by Innerscope, “television ads across the spectrum of familiarity evoked 38x more emotional engagement, a combination of intensity of and time spent in engagement, than the same brands seen in online rich media display advertising.”

Even when online ads were shown on a contextually appropriate page (e.g., an auto ad on a page about autos), the study found that TV was 30x more engaging.

The real question, I suppose, is how a media planner should interpret these numbers, i.e., what does “30x more engaging” mean in terms of sales impact, brand recall, etc. Apparently, the study attempted to measure branding impact using a measure they call “brand resonance,” which they define as “the lasting, positive effect of ad messaging post-exposure.” They say that brand resonance was nearly three times higher for TV ads vs online ads.

As is often found in studies like this, the greatest impact was achieved by a combination of media placements, with combined TV and online impressions achieving 48x the emotional engagement and 4x the brand resonance of online ads alone.

Whatever numbers like “38x more emotional engagement” actually represent, the thought that a viewer would be more engaged by a TV commercial that occupies 100% of a large viewing area than by an online ad that is part of a small screen containing other content isn’t shocking. One concern about traditional TV is the declining viewership of commercials due to DVR use, though a previous study by Innerscope suggested that even fast-forwarded commercials have a branding impact (see Do We Process Skipped Commercials?).

More from Innerscope: Innerscope Research and Fox Broadcasting Company Debut Biometric Study Scientifically Validating the Creation of Brand Equity through Immersive Media Exposure.