Reappraising ‘matching luggage’: How creative consistency could supercharge your campaign

Dominic Tillson is head of insights at Inskin Media.

“Short-termism” is currently a growing concern in the digital advertising business. While explicit measurement was the promise of digital advertising a decade ago, that same capability has driven a focus on short-term ad impact metrics, i.e, efficiency over effectiveness. 

Measuring campaign effectiveness is an essential part of digital advertising; but it’s also one of the most challenging. Not only this, but with more and more questions being raised about the true value of current methods such as click-through rates, it could be time to consider setting a new industry standard.

Finding an alternative

So, what could this new standard look like?

Over the past decade Inskin has found that attention – defined as visual engagement – is the most potent measure of ad effectiveness. Working with eye-tracking specialists Lumen Research, we have been able to prove that attention is directly linked to brand uplift and conversion.

It might sound intuitive, but data supports the notion that when people look at ads for longer and more often, they’re more likely to remember the advertising.

The problem is that attention is becoming increasingly difficult to attain. Humans only have one set of eyes and ears and just 24hrs in a day, so their capacity for attention is relatively finite.  Yet the volume of messages they get bombarded with is increasing exponentially.

So, is it possible to attract incremental attention toward your campaign without annoying consumers or spending more money on media?

Thankfully yes, and it’s all because of a skill that all consumers possess already – the ability to recognise patterns.

Understanding pattern recognition

Pattern recognition is a process we’re employing all the time in our daily lives. We need it for reading words, understanding language, and even recognising people’s faces. Brands that can use visual prompts to appeal to this subconcious drive will definitely get a reaction from the user.

This visual pattern could be something as simple as “matching” the aesthetic of different ad formats within the same campaign. In fact, our own research found a link between creatively consistent digital campaign formats and attention levels, with those featuring individual ads that looked similar to each other attracting 170% more attention from viewers. Campaigns with ads that looked different saw an uplift of just 3%, in comparison.

This “matching luggage” technique is nothing new to the marketing world. In fact, the tactic of deploying creatively in-sync campaigns was highly popular among TV advertising up until 15 years ago (anyone remember the launch of the Insignia Deodorant range from the 80s?).

Unfortunately, that’s not always how the agency world is structured. Different formats and media are often funnelled through disparate processes and teams, with the result that this creative consistency is not always maintained. 

But with research linking creative consistency across different ad formats to attention levels in the digital space, perhaps it’s time we hark back to our roots, and think about the implications this technique could have for modern advertising too.

Maximise engagement without additional spend

We shouldn’t forget that people don’t go to websites to look at ads. Thanks to our work with Lumen Research, we know that of all ads served, just 12% are even looked at, and only 4% are looked at for one second or more.

Therefore, finding techniques to encourage users to engage with ads in a positive way is pivotal; and if we can do this without increasing budgets, we could help lift both short and long-term effects of digital ad spend.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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