Despite the common notion that campaigns with emotional relevance and creative engagement often lead to pick up in sales, a new study has found that only 15% of ads deliver messages which consumers can quickly absorb.
This is according to insights by Kantar Millward Brown, garnered from a typical week’s viewing across TV, pre-roll and social media across global ad markets. The study states that less than one in seven ads deliver messages which have quick uptake. Hence, marketers need to deliver creative collateral which make lasting impressions, focussing less on functional messages.
The study found only 20% consumers do not mind ads. Meanwhile, 61% of consumers skip ads whenever they can and 48% install ad blockers. 45% are not engage with the ad when its running, choosing to either look away or do something else.
In terms of messaging, almost two thirds of ads studied utilise explicit product messages to get their point across. According to the study, this is at odds with evidence from cognitive science that consumers rarely think through decisions, resulting in snap judgements and instinctive reactions playing a key role in the brand decision making process.
The study also notes that going down the path of implicit messaging is more important in digital ads. However, majority of brand content is still explicit and focuses on message rather than creative impact. Brands need to overcome the viewer’s intended goal and get them to view pre-rolls videos.
Currently, 54% of ads studied on social media still contain explicit messaging while 60% of pre-roll ads are explicit in terms of messaging in nature.
The study also found that emotional relevance and creative engagement in advertising are critical to success. When compared with ads which focus on a key message, ads with creative impact are driven by branded and emotional engagements. 72% of ads with creative impact drew high short term sales increase.
Getting key messages across is also crucial according to Kantar Millward Brown, and failure to do so is associated with a lower chance of a sales response.
The study suggests that in the long term, brands which have clear meaning have ads which are more powerful and successful. Hence, marketers need to move beyond the message and focus on the overall impression the ad leaves on consumers.
Good storytelling still lacking across the board
The study found that globally, only 38% of ads tell a story and majority still use explicit messaging to drive the point across. It added that ads that use storytelling have more involvement, are more noticeable and more memorable, all of which contribute to sales.
Despite the importance of implicit messaging, branding in ads is still important – creating an engaging film without branding would not add value to the brand. According to the study, 68% of ads with high branding scores strongly correlate to stronger sales effects in the form of short term sales increase.
Brand fit is also vital in making the story ads more compelling. According to Kantar Millward Brown, ads with weak branding have less ease in brand recall during consumer decision making. Meanwhile, ads with a strong narrative increase motivation of purchase when well branded.
Kantar Millward Brown’s report Make a Lasting Impression analysed 160,000 tested ads to demonstrate how understanding the factors that drive engagement can make advertising more effective. It also looked at post-campaign sales across 1,700 campaigns and analysis showed a strong focus on emotional relevance and creative engagement led to increased business.