Nielsen confirms the obvious, or is there more to it?

September 30, 2011 by Dave Haynes

Research from Nielsen released the other day drew the forehead-slapper conclusion that advertising shown on multiple platforms substantially increases recall, as opposed to just seeing the ad on TV.

My initial reaction was, “Well … yeah. Of course.”

But I also thought, there had to be some reason Nielsen, working with Google, had looked into this.

Nielsen says the media lab study it did had participants view related content across a TV, computer, smartphone and tablet. A 15-second video ad promoting a luxury car was shown to different groups in different ways.

In the group that was exposed to TV ads alone, 50 percent of people correctly attributed the ad to the correct auto brand. For groups that saw the ad across all screens – TV, computer, smartphone and tablet – the ability to remember the brand jumped dramatically to nearly three-in-four (74%).

Similarly, only 22 percent of the group exposed to just the TV ad was able to correctly remember that the ad was for a 4-door sedan versus 39 percent of the group that saw the ad across all screens.

While research shows that TV remains the strongest driver of awareness, the study demonstrates that the addition of online and mobile campaigns returns the highest overall brand impact.

OK, but that still seemed pretty obvious in terms of more ad frequency resulting in higher recall.

The Media Decoder blogger in the NY Times took a run at the research and started by suggesting the convention wisdom has consumers confused or overwhelmed when ads are aimed at them on different screens in multiple media.

It goes into a little more detail about the research and the thinking behind it, but also points to a Google blog that talks about the value of exposures across multiple screens.

If you’re an advertiser, reads the post on Google’s mobile ads blog, you might be wondering which is the best screen to reach your customers on. The answer is: all of them. These screens are better together. Each screen fills a specific need state consumers have for information at different, complementary points in the day.  Failing to invest in any of these three digital screens not only leaves the door open for competitors to engage with your customers, but also could mean a missed opportunity for brand awareness and sales either on the device itself or through driving potential customers into your place of business.  

Google’s people are referring to tablets, mobile screens and desktop PCs, but this just reinforces what a lot of media people involved or looking at Digital Out Of Home say about integrated media buys that cross many platforms. All screens complement each other, and screens that reach people through the day are part of that mix.

  1. Barnaby Page says:

    There was some Clear Channel research a little while ago along similar lines:

    The upshot seems to be that the message grows geometrically more effective as more media are added.

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