Memorability Matters: The Role of Creative Innovation in a Post-cookie World

As publishers and advertisers contemplate the realities of a post-cookie world, many see attention metrics as a viable currency for evaluating inventory and assessing campaign success.

To date, however, “attention” has been thought of as site placement + ad unit. Should the creative format itself be considered in attention calculations? What is the impact of creative innovation on critical attention metrics, such as brand recall, ad recall, and attention rates? 

To answer these questions, Emodo teamed up with Persuasion.Art to create a new attention metrics methodology, called Creative Attention Effectiveness. This methodology allows advertisers to measure the impact of both ad slots and creative formats on ad effectiveness.

Let’s dig in.

The partners began by testing the effectiveness of animated ads and found they delivered strong performance on key metrics:

Digging deeper, the researchers tested the animated ad format against static units across three different ad sizes. The animated format outperformed static ones across all units.

Next, the researchers tested the impact of creative format by site category, looking at four categories: gaming, news, weather, and productivity properties. 

The chart below shows that animated ads consistently did better on all Attention and Memorability metrics, across the site categories. The highest lifts were seen on brand recall (61.8% lift) and ad recall (56.4% lift) in the News category.

Ad Format vs. Site Selection: Which Affects Campaign Performance More?

Current attention metrics tend to focus solely on the impact of site and ad unit, not the actual ad format. This, according to the researchers, misses a critical opportunity to drive campaign performance with innovative creatives.

The chart shows that site selection had a modest  impact on performance, as there were small variations across site categories:

Next, the researchers compared the best and worst performing creatives and the best and worst performing sites. The results show that creative formats play a critical role in optimizing all metrics.

“Our tests conclusively show that creative has an impact on attention and memorability, often more than site. Optimizing only for ad slots, not creative, is a missed opportunity. While optimizing creative formats boosts performance, the real opportunity to drive Memorability and compound effectiveness lies in a combined optimization of creative and media,” said Megan Saunders, SVP of Global Marketing & Growth at Emodo.

The Connection Between Attention and Memorability 

Finally, the researchers wanted to explore a potential correlation between attention and memorability at an ad and campaign level. Unsurprisingly, the study found that the more time a consumer spent looking at an ad, the greater the likelihood of recalling the brand.

The data showed a consistently positive correlation between attention and memorability at a campaign level. Specifically:

  • We see a strong 0.6 correlation between time spent on an ad (attention) and brand recall (a key measure of Memorability) across all 9 tests at the campaign level 
  • We also see a 0.52 correlation between attention and ad recall.

This means that by driving attention, advertisers will consistently drive better brand metrics. Even if the lift itself is modest, such as when the creative format is held constant (as the chart above illustrates), it is consistent. When optimizing to creative formats that are more attention-grabbing, however, the lift in recall is far higher.

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Download the complete report here.