We were really looking forward to last night’s Techmap and boy did it not disappoint!
What did we love most? The practical approach our speakers took to the topic we were exploring.
If you weren’t able to make last night’s meetup then you will definitely want to read on and hear about the session’s key highlights. For those lucky enough to be apart of last night’s Techmap, why not give yourself a reminder of the session’s key takeaways.
Our speakers took to the stage to explore how to employ neuroscience research techniques to drive marketing performance. But who were they?
- Thom Noble, CEO, NeuroStrata
- Mev Bertrand, Research Manager, Neuro-Insight
- Will Nicholson, Managing Director, The Vision Network
As we hope you will agree, a pretty strong line-up of expert speakers who really know their stuff! Check out what they had to say. Their insights were invaluable.
Thom Noble – Neuro Marketer, kicked started the evening’s talks.
Thom has prior experience working with a range of large brands such as Diageo and Disney. He explained the extreme frustration he felt towards traditional marketing research techniques due to the the lack of innovation injected as well as the lack of depth uncovered.
He no longer feels this frustration because now, almost every sector is involved with neuromarketing techniques; including the likes of Facebook, Coca-Cola, Google, PayPal, McDonald’s and P&G.
Because the market research sector has been formalised over the past 60 years – new innovations have surfaced. However techniques such as focus groups have only helped somewhat; Thom states that they’ve hardly transformed the market research industry.
Looking below the level of consciousness to see how consumers are actually responding has only become an option over the past 10-15 years.
Thom highlighted the key neuro-facts:
- The non-conscious dominates our perception and decision-making
- We are mostly auto-pilot – our decisions are made without us consciously being aware of how and why
- Neuroscientists agree we use two very different ways to think:
- System 1 – Implicit – unconscious emotion
- System 2 – Explicit – conscious emotion
- Emotions play a key role in every decision
- We can’t really articulate our emotions – these non-conscious and emotional influences: we are typically not aware of them
What makes neuro measures different?
- Reaction – system 1 – implicit
- Expression – system 2 – explicit
Thom explains the benefits of neuro research techniques:
- Can evaluate what people think and feel response instead of what they say
- Quantitative data – more robust / testable and cheaper than qualitative data
- Cause and effect
- Fresh, deeper insights
- More accurate, more predictive
How do we do all this stuff?
- NeuroMetrics – measuring activity directly from the brain
- BioMetrics – measuring biological or physiological at response e.g. lie detector and facial decoding
- PscyhoMetrics – measure the mind’s associative response
Mev Bertrand then went onto discuss the application of neuromarketing techniques and in particular Steady State Topography (SST).
This is a research technique that analyses the reflex reaction in the brain and is effective at tracking exactly what’s going on in the brain.
What does it measure?
The speed at which the signal travels and reaches the different parts of the brain.
Mev explained that neuro research techniques have advanced to a level whereby we don’t need to conduct studies in labs anymore; systems have developed which are robust – thus studies in home environments are becoming very much the norm.
Another break through?
We no longer need to show the same thing more than once in order to achieve results which we can draw meaningful analysis from – this definitely makes life easier from a market research perspective.
Long term memory encoding – an area of the brain which folds things away forever. Mev went on to detail how memory encoding can be used to test the effectiveness of an ad, for example we can measure the exact parts of a TV ad which are most effective and engaging from a viewability perspective.
Once Mev’s team of neuroscientists had analysed the results in the summer of last year, they predicted that Volvo’s ‘Epic Split’ TV ad would be highly effective based on the strength of viewers’ left brain memory encoding responses at key branding moment. So it was no surprise when Volvo Trucks won the 2015 Cannes Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix.
Birds Eye case study:
Maximising memory encoding response to branding moments. Mev took us through the Birds Eye Frozen Fish US TV ad and then detailed how Neuro-Insight worked to improve its effectiveness.
Initially the ad wasn’t performing very well. There were two key points which were missed opportunities.
- The set-up scene – an ocean scene
- The pause / sudden silence / anticipation build-up moment – this had nothing noticeably obvious to do with the brand
What feedback did Neuro-Insight provide BirdsEye with?
- The need to mention the brand right at the start during the set-up scene
- The need to use the pause moment to really build anticipation levels; how? By inserting a product message
- To highlight the brand during the final ad scene
What were the consequences of redesigning the BirdsEye ad in-line with this feedback?
- Brand linkage increased from 8% to 44%
- Purchase intent increased 23% to 51%
Will Nicholson from The Vision Network then discussed the use of eye tracking to test and evaluate creative to enhance campaign performance.
Will started his discussion by making a key point: “there’s no point making content if no one is going to see it.” According to ComScore, only 46% of online advertising can be seen; more shocking is the fact that this statistic isn’t correct. Actually only 14% of online advertising can be seen. It was this statistic that made Will and his team decide to look deeper into their clients.
Therefore it’s never been more important than it is now to have hold of a tool which tests whether your ad has been seen or not.
This leads us on to Will’s main discussion which detailed the application of ‘Eye Tracking’.
What does it actually measure?
The three S’s:
- Seen – what is seen
- Salience – in what order
- Stickiness – for how long?
Eye tracking is very similar to IRIS recognition used as a security measure at most airports. It works by following your eye gaze.
But what’s the purpose of this? To highlight and plot areas of interest on an ad. It’s important to note that eye tracking is not about how you’re holistically gazing but is a way to divide an ad into different areas of interest.
Areas of interest could include:
- Background colours
Heinz case study:
Will went on to discuss the Heinz creative testing analysis. A variation of the Heinz ad’s were put under scrutiny in order to help the creatives make a decision on which of the ad’s were the most effective. The average percentages of the time spent fixating on the main message of the ad – so the Heinz logo and brand message were calculated.
In the scheme of things, small variations can make a big impact. Thus in the case of Heinz, this meant modifying the background colour of the ad from blue to red.
You can see the end result of the Heinz ad below.
(Image credit: Will Nicholson, The Vision Network)
Heat maps are similar to eye tracking. They also help identify which aspects of an ad people are most engaged with during the time of exposure; you can visibly see where a person is looking in relation to the different ad features.
To conclude Will highlighted that ‘knowledge is power’. We have to start using the new market research techniques available to us if we really want to make an impact with our campaigns.
- How many people do we need to make this research more robust?
This is completely dependent on individual techniques, for example eye tracking requires a minimum of 30 respondents. Whereas explicit techniques require between 100-200 respondents; thus they are far more cost-effective approaches for marketers.
- Do I have to use lots of different neuro techniques – or can I dip in and out / pick-a-mix?
This is dependent upon what you are trying to achieve – what’s the question you want to answer? There are a number of different methodologies which can be adopted. But which ones you adopt are dependent upon your budget and timescales.
A lot of people start using neuromarketing techniques parallel with what they are already doing. The typical route for a marketer? To run a test for a few hundred pounds e.g. automatic eye tracking or facial decoding as these techniques are the most affordable; hence why more people are starting to jump onboard with these techniques.
- What’s next for the neuro research industry?
The industry has some challenges it has to face first. As more people get excited about new techniques, increasingly suppliers are jumping into the area. This creates great confusion and often mis-practice, decreasing the validity of test results.
The industry needs to get open validation out there e.g. case studies. This will help to increase the validity and credibility for those in the industry who are actually practicing correctly.
- Who is the person in the company that resonates best when introduced to your techniques?
To characterise and definitely not define – marketers get much more excited than researchers; why? Because they are more willing and open to change. Marketers are looking for something new and different; they’re open to innovation and more commonly proactively use the insights. They also tend to have more control over budgets.
Researchers tend to be more concerned about the norm and don’t like or openly encourage change. Why? Because change is interpreted as a threat to previous techniques used and hence undermines previous research as it’s a disruption to their work.
The core problem? There’s a huge history of research that companies are usually attached to. Thus its difficult to adapt to new techniques.
WOW – what an insightful discussion.
Thank you again to Thom, Mev and Will for joining us for a really great and insightful discussion. You can see Thom and Mev’s slides here:
Will’s slides here:
For those uninitiated with techmap, it’s our monthly event series where we look at the applications of technology for driving marketing, advertising and PR performance. You can read all about it on our blog here.