In a world filled with countless advertising messages, advertisers must comprehend neuroethics and its impact on advertising. Composed of 80 to 100 billion neurons, the human brain is an immensely complex organ. And while we're still learning how it works, we know that advertising messages can affect our brain's function. Neuroethics, or the study of the ethical implications of neuroscience, offers advertisers valuable insight into ethical marketing. Backed by a growing body of scientific research and renowned advertisers, neuroethics is becoming an increasingly important consideration for marketers. But what exactly is neuroethics and how does it relate to advertising?Let's take a closer look.
What is the Neuroethics of Advertising?
In its broadest sense, the neuroethics of advertising refers to the ethical implications of using neuroscience in marketing. In other words, it studies how advertisers can ethically use neuroscience to influence consumer behavior. This includes everything from using brain imaging to target consumers more effectively to psychological techniques to create more persuasive ads. When it comes to the neuroethics of advertising, however, there are some considerations that marketers need to consider. First, it is essential to consider consumer neuroscience and how it can be used to understand and influence consumer behavior.
What is Consumer Neuroscience?
Consumer neuroscience is the study of how our brains react to marketing stimuli. This includes everything from understanding how we process visual information to making decisions. Measured by tools including an EEG, fMRI, eye-tracking and more, consumer neuroscience seeks to understand how we respond to marketing. Marketers can then use this information to create more effective campaigns and better understand consumer behavior. Consumer neuroscience can also be used to study how we react to new products, media, and technology. By understanding how our brains process information, companies can create more user-friendly and appealing products. So far, consumer neuroscience research has yielded some interesting findings about how we make decisions. Luckily, Dr. Carl Marci, Chief Neuroscientist at Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, has pioneered neuroscience through neuroethics research. At Wizard of Ads™, we utilize Marci’s research to create more effective campaigns and better understand consumer behavior. Backed by science and ethics, our ad Wizards can help you connect with your consumers on a deeper level.Book a call with Ryan Chute today to find out how we can help you increase your marketing effectiveness.
The Lessons for Advertisers
Regarding modern technology, advertisers have to work harder than ever to attract their target audience. And while there are plenty of different ways to advertise, not all methods are created equal. Thanks to neuroscience, some methods are proven to be more effective than others. Here are the five lessons for advertisers that we’ve learned from the science of persuasion with neuroethics examples:
Lesson 1 - Understand What is “Engagement”
Engagement measures how well someone is paying attention to what you’re saying or doing. And while it might seem like engagement is simply a numbers game, that’s not necessarily the case. We have so much activity in our brains that it's incredible we can concentrate on anything at all. For advertisers competing for consumers' attention, this can be a particularly challenging task. To understand how the brain engages with advertising, let’s look at the two different types of thinking:
- Fast Thinking
Fast thinking, similar to autopilot, is when our brain is moving at a rapid pace. It is as if the information is being absorbed without being processed. This is the kind of attention we usually get when we’re scrolling through social media or watching television.
- Slow Thinking
Slow thinking, similar to when the pilot takes over the controls from the autopilot, is when our brain is focused. This is the kind of attention we’re usually in when we’re reading a book or having a focused conversation. In terms of fast vs. slow thinking, our brain can only perform one or the other. That being said, research studies and focus groups meant to gather information in the past have employed slow-thinking methods. This has made many market researchers and data analysts slow to adapt to how people consume content. Luckily, neuroscience has begun to offer new insights into how the brain processes information and how we can utilize it.
Lesson 2 - The Bar is Higher Than Ever for Advertisers to Engage People
To paint a picture of the modern-day attention landscape, Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience conducted some groundbreaking research on the topic. In a series of studies, Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience measured the viewing behavior of two different groups: group 1 and group 2. For some context: group 1 was composed of one person sitting in a room with a television and nothing else. Group 2 was formed of two people sitting in a room with a television, smartphones, and other smart devices. According to their findings, group 2 paid far less attention to television than group 1. When multiple devices and people were present, the consumer’s attention to the television was nearly absent. This research has important implications for how advertisers and television should consider the modern consumer. In other words, advertisers must work harder than ever to engage the common consumer.
Lesson 3 - In Video Ads, Shorter is Better. Brand Early on and make it Big
Now that we understand how various media streams can affect attention spans let’s look at video advertising. When it comes to video advertising, the size of the screen plays an important role. In fact, according to Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, smaller screen ads elicited a lower brain response than more prominent screen ads. Research shows that people pay less attention when ads are shown on a smaller screen, such as a smartphone. On the other hand, ads played on a larger screen, such as a television, had higher brain responses. Why is this?Advertisements today must engage the consumer, deliver a robust and emotional message, and strategically link imagery or associations to their brand. If one or more of those pieces are missing, the ad will likely be unsuccessful.
Lesson 4 - Small Changes Can Make a Huge Difference
You've probably heard the saying, “the devil is in the details." And this is true when it comes to advertising. Even something as small as changing when your business logo is displayed in an ad can have a significant impact. In fact, a video ad from pettheshelterpetproject.org reflects this perfectly. In the original ad, a dog was featured interacting with the camera and running back and forth across the screen. At the end of the ad, the logo and business message was displayed next to the dog. While this ad had excellent consumer engagement, the consumers were focused on the dog rather than the logo or message. To fix this, the team at pettheshelterpetproject.org decided to place their statement and logo when the dog was off-screen. Once the new commercial went out into the market, pettheshelterpetproject.org saw a 133% increase in website visits. In addition, there was also a 28% rise in pet finder database searches. Pettheshelterpetproject.org is a great example of how a minor change in your marketing strategy can make a big difference. That said, if you don't see the results you want from your current marketing efforts, consider making a small change.
Lesson 5 - Persuaders to Engagers
The final lesson about advertising is to refine what advertisers want to achieve. Traditionally, we aimed to persuade people to buy our products through knowledge, emotion or a mix of both. However, in the modern world, consumers are more likely to be turned off by cold-selling tactics than ever before. So, what do consumers want?If you ask consumers if they like advertising, the answer is often a resounding "no." However, if you ask them if they want to learn information about products they need, you may get another answer. What we are looking for is to create engagement with our audience. No longer can admen rely on cold strategies to achieve their objectives. The goal now is to become engagers, to get involved with our audience and create a connection. At Wizard of Ads™, our advertising approach is based on engagement principles. Using the advent of new technology, we can create more personalized and engaging ads than ever. Driven by data and insights, rest assured that your ads will reach the right people at the right time and place. For a more engaging way to advertise, book a call with Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads™ today.