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Neuroscience Affirms the Value of Digital out of Home Advertising

11 November

The research is in. Digital out of Home advertising is not only eyecatching but memorable. The use of emerging technology creates a vehicle that blurs the intersection between real and digital worlds, through the use of eye-catching messages and interactive campaigns, making it truly the future of advertising. Over the last few years, researchers have taken a deep dive into the neurology underneath DOOH advertising, using biometrics and wearable tech to record eye-tracking, and skin conductance responses to determine the emotional response to advertisements.

Combined with interviews to determine the retention of specific advertisements for short and long term memory (it is long term memory that can directly influence behaviour and drive sales), neuroscience is creating a trove of compelling insights into the value of DOOH. Here is some of the most interesting research - what it sought to discover, the method, and the outcomes delivered:

Static vs Full motion advertising


Neuro-Insight has conducted four scientific studies for Ocean Outdoor in London. Their focus has largely been the right hemisphere of the brain (where the global brand image is built and stored), taking a look at the response of viewers to advertising regarding:

  • Peaks in emotional response
  • How positive that emotional response was
  • The number of brand impacts encoded into memory

In the most recent research, 107 participants took part in a study room exercise. Headsets recorded their brain responses. Participants were given four tasks to complete:

  • The uploading of their photograph to a social media feed on a screen in front of them;
  • Seeing their picture in an AR world on a screen featuring different animations;
  • Using an app on their smartphone to interact with a screen and unveil an image; and
  • Viewing two simulated live content streams.

The results: While both static and full-motion content delivered high levels of positive emotional response, full-motion content delivered even higher emotional and memory intensity peaks when it was combined with interactive technology.

To be specific:

  • The net impact of these measures in combination equated to an eight times stronger impact for full-motion DOOH with technology compared to static content
  • Full motion DOOH with technology also registered an effective index three times stronger compared to just full motion without any interactive capability
  • The use of wi-fi within a campaign elicited a 52 per cent higher impact of memory encoding
  • The addition of social media interaction equated to a five times stronger impact of memory encoding
  • The use of augmented reality using image detection equated to a four times stronger impact of memory encoding
  • Exposure to live streaming equated to a three times stronger impact of memory encoding compared to regular DOOH

Greater eye motion leads to increased brand affinity

What do you get when you combine tennis and Jaguar cars? Described as a UK first, a study by COG Research used neuroscience to explore the relationship between broadcast content and DOOH and its effectiveness in boosting eye dwell times and engagement. Eye-tracking technology via smart glasses and skin conductance response (SCR) monitoring were utilised to measure and analyse audience engagement with large, full-motion digital screens in outdoor spaces.

Ads, pre-scheduled highlights, and live content from Wimbledon (tennis) were broadcast in 12 UK Digital Cities and in both Westfield London and Stratford City.

The research found that the screening of dynamic live and pre-scheduled highlights content triggered a significant behavioural change in the study’s participants. In outdoor environments showing DOOH content, eye movement slowed and focused, gaze dwell time increased, and brand engagement and affinity was boosted:

  • DOOH highlights content followed by ads is 5.1x more engaging
  • DOOH ads followed by highlights content is nearly 4x more engaging
  • Dynamic (live scoreboard) content alone on DOOH screens was 5x more engaging
  • Live match content alone on DOOH screens was almost 9x more engaging

Additionally, where Jaguar set up a viewing area at Westfield Square, with deck chairs, large format digital screens and an outdoor car showroom, viewer engagement was ramped up almost 3x.

The Iconic Triggers Optimise TV Commericals in DOOH

Australian research in 2016 by Neuro-Insight for DoOh! media focused on the impact of the most powerful or iconic moment in television commercials and whether they could impact digital out of home advertisements.

Focus groups were held to view television commercials on DOOH screens, whilst the individual’s brain patterns were monitored. A week later, respondents came back and were shown a series of images from the ads as well other random images on various out of home formats.

Results showed on average; long term memory increased the most for those outdoor scenarios that used the Iconic Trigger (vs those that didn’t). Specifically, by identifying the most powerful, or iconic moment in TV commercials and applying it to Out Of Home environments, advertisers could increase a respondent’s long term memory, by an average of 42%. As digital videos and streamed are becoming part of the tools in DOOH advertising, the connection between television and digital screen commercials becomes more important than ever.

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