Not So Fun Fact: Consumers Don’t Recall 75% Of Spots They See

April 29, 2015 by Dave Haynes

Nielsen president Randall Beard has a sobering little stat on the company blog today, noting how only 25% of consumers exposed to an ad the previous day can correctly remember the ad and the brand it was pushing.

That’s based on Nielsen’s measurement of 1.7 million TV ads, over the past 13 years.

In other words, three of four ads are seen and forgotten, and that’s on TV, which gets more focused attention in most cases than Digital OOH advertising, which is often in visually chaotic, noisy and moving environments.

“That’s a real problem,” he writes. “You’ve reached your audience, but the majority of consumers you just reached can’t remember your ad or incorrectly attribute the ad to one of your competitors.”

What is in between reach and reaction that explains these results? Resonance. What’s resonance? We define resonance as the ability of your advertising to break through clutter, deliver your message to consumers and change consumers’ attitudes or opinions about your brand.

Now I know what many of you are thinking: “I copy test my advertising, so doesn’t this cover me for resonance?” The answer is yes and no.

Yes, because the creative itself will always be the most important determinant of whether your advertising will resonate or not. In fact, Nielsen’s own multivariate models show that creative explains more of the in-market resonance score variation than any other factor.

No, because few advertisers copy test all their creative or even the final versions. In addition, copy testing is not the real world. The real world is filled with programming content that surrounds your ad, crying babies andscreaming teens, DVRs, channel surfing, competitive advertising and other annoying things that might disturb your ad’s ability to resonate. And these are many of the reasons for the 75% slippage number above.

We’ve clearly established the problem. Is there a solution? Yes. The answer is to assess your advertising resonance in the real world—every day—and then use the results to improve your advertising performance. 

His post goes on to suggest some counter-measures, like assessing effectiveness.

Your biggest countermeasures in signage:

1 – de-clutter your screens so the ads don’t have competition in those fleeting moments

2 – get your creative done by people who know this medium and its demands and quirks

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