Ad Gist: Ad Communication in a Single Eye Fixation

Posted: 24 Oct 2012

See all articles by F. G. M. (Rik) Pieters

F. G. M. (Rik) Pieters

Tilburg University, CentER

Michel Wedel

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business, Marketing Department; University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Most ads in practice receive no more than a single eye fixation. This study investigates the limits of what ads can communicate under such adverse exposure conditions. We find that consumers already know at maximum levels of accuracy and with high degree of certainty whether something is an ad or is editorial material after an exposure of less than 100 milliseconds and — if the ad is typical — which product is being advertised. Even after an extremely coarse visual presentation of 100 milliseconds, the product and brand in typical ads are identified well above chance levels, with atypical ads doing slightly better at the brand level. We propose a new metric that quantifies how effectively individual ads communicate their gist in adverse exposure conditions and that predicts the immediate interest that ads draw. Bayesian mediation analyses show that because of their better gist performance, typical ads rather than atypical ones raise immediate interest after very brief exposures. These findings challenge some of the received knowledge in advertising theory and practice, and they reveal the immediate communication benefits of typical ads.

Keywords: advertising, gist, clutter, typicality, eye fixation, Bayesian models, mixed-outcome models

Suggested Citation

Pieters, F. G. M. (Rik) and Wedel, Michel, Ad Gist: Ad Communication in a Single Eye Fixation (2012). Marketing Science, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012; pp. 59-73; DOI: 10.1287/mksc.1110.0673. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2161305

F. G. M. (Rik) Pieters (Contact Author)

Tilburg University, CentER ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Michel Wedel

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business, Marketing Department ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301.405.2162 (Phone)
301.405.0146 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/marketing/faculty/wedel.html

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business ( email )

Postbus 72
9700 AB Groningen
Netherlands

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