Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NMSBA)

Articles and Blogposts

  • January 27, 2016 12:34 | Simone Oude Luttikhuis


    We depend on our eyes while navigating the retail environment. Without visual clues to orient ourselves, we become confused, frustrated and overwhelmed. In-store signage helps us get to where we want to go. It also helps retailers to:

    • Lead shoppers to locations where they will make purchases
    • Promote brand awareness
    • Stimulate customer spending by making value propositions visible.

    To understand how in-store signage works, researchers frequently observe and interview shoppers. They look at sales data and even walk with customers who are willing to narrate as they shop. In 2013, Swedish researchers Tobias Otterbring, Erik Wastlund, Anders Gustafsson and Poja Shams undertook a field study to investigate how instore signage affects the visual attention and decision-making processes of shoppers. Eye-tracking devices, worn by volunteer shoppers, enabled Otterbring and his colleagues to quantify the amount of visual attention directed at instore signage. 1] These devices 2] made it possible for “researchers to watch what the subject’s watching, with the gaze point continuously marked onscreen …the footage transmitted wirelessly from the glasses.”

    The team conducted two experiments that:

    • Took place at the same food market
    • Utilized test subjects recruited on-site
    • Measured eye-fixations with Tobii Glasses.

    Experiment 1 investigated how store-familiar and storeunfamiliar customers use in-store signs to navigate and make decisions. One hundred and one volunteer test subjects were recruited while shopping in a market that functioned as the experiment’s setting. Unbeknownst to test subjects, thirty in-store signs were installed for the experiment. Half provided navigational clues, such as advertisements or information regarding nearby goods (Figure 1).


    The other half provided decision-making information, such as discounts or product details (Figure 2).


    Test subjects were told that the study they were participating in would investigate visual attention and how

    it relates to shopping. Those undertaking the 15-minute experiment were fitted with a pair of Tobii Glasses and given a list of six items to retrieve. Test subjects were told that they would not have to pay for the items they selected 3] and were encouraged to act just as they would on any other shopping trip. Test subjects were free to choose whatever products they wanted, as long as they were on their shopping list. Shopping commenced at the entrance to the store. After retrieving their six items, test subjects had their eye-tracking devices removed. Then they filled out a questionnaire asking about their demographic information, store familiarity and navigational ability.

    Experiment 1 revealed that:

    • Store-unfamiliar shoppers rely on navigational signs more than store-familiar shoppers do
    • Store–familiar shoppers read decision-making signs more than store-unfamiliar customers do

    Researchers believe that, even with the assistance of in-store navigational signs, store-unfamiliar shoppers

    expend most of their energy searching for products. By the time they find what they are looking for, they are too tired to read more signs. On the other hand, by knowing where their intended purchases are located, store- familiar customers save energy, which they can use to read signs at the store shelf. It follows that store managers, who desire to influence store-unfamiliar customers during the decision-making process, are fighting an uphill battle. Any signage they produce with this objective in mind should be simple, bold and “to-the-point.” Ideally, their signs should also offer a tempting value proposition.

    Priming is a technique which exposes a subject to a stimulus that is intended to influence future behavior.

    For example, imagine that it is hot out; you walk in a store and the first thing you see is a giant sign advertising ice-cream. Experiment 2 investigated how exposure to instore signage priming influences subsequent purchase decisions. Test subjects were recruited on-site and told that they would be participating in an experiment designed to explore visual attention, customer behavior and choice. The prime in experiment 2 was a sign displaying a photo of a muesli product. The sign was positioned next to the actual product and similar, closely priced substitutes.

    Test subjects were exposed to the prime from afar. They were then instructed to walk over to the muesli shelf, select a box and deliver it to a researcher. After completing this task, test subjects returned their eyetracking glasses and filled out a questionnaire concerning shopping habits, product usage and demographics.

    The results of Experiment 2 suggest that:

    • After customers view in-store signage primes, they will look at visually similar products quicker and more frequently than non-similar products
    • Priming by in-store signage may stimulate remembrance, but this in and of itself, won’t motivate a customer to buy.

    The researchers believe that in-store signage primes may be more likely to motivate customers if they offer a value proposition. As this was not explored in the experiment, it warrants further investigation.

    In closing, I share a personal communication which I had with Tobias Otterbring, one of the researchers involved in the studies above. In this passage, he discusses future research possibilities…

    “The structured shopping-list procedure in experiment 1 only asked participants to collect the items on the

    shopping list, which, by implication, precluded us from studying phenomena such as unplanned purchases.

    Therefore, one interesting suggestion for future research would be to investigate whether the specificity of the task at hand influences customers’ subsequent visual attention and choice behavior. Will an initial shopping task with a high (vs. low) level of detail lead to more or less visual attention being directed toward various instore cues at a subsequent shopping task?” These are the issues to investigate next.

    By Michael St. Germain


    Read more:

    This article was published in Neuromarketing Theory & Practice #11. Want to enjoy more excellent neuromarketing reading? Subscribe to this quarterly at www.nmsba.com/join


  • December 07, 2015 13:49 | Anonymous

    Author: Oxytocin Increases the Influence of Public Service Advertisements, Lin P-Y, Grewal NS, Morin C, Johnson WD, Zak PJ (2013) PLoS ONE 8(2): e56934. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056934

    Research Description

    This paper presents a neurophysiologic model (PMEP) of effective public service advertisements  (PSAs) and reports two experiments that test the model. In Experiment 1, we show that after watching 16 PSAs participants who received oxytocin, compared to those given a placebo, donated to 57% more causes, donated 56% more money, and reported 17% greater concern for those in the ads. In Experiment 2, we measured adrenocorticotropin hormone  (ACTH) and oxytocin levels in blood before and after participants watched a PSA. As predicted by the model, donations occurred when participants had increases in both ACTH and oxytocin. Our results indicate that PSAs with social content that cause OT release will be more effective than those that do not. Our results also explain why some individuals do not respond to PSAs.

    Approach

    Tradition research methods based on self-reports fail to deliver objective measurements of attention and emotional responses. By measuring the presence of specific hormones in the blood such as ACTH (corticotropin) and OT (oxytocin), we were able to collect information from the brain’s autonomic nervous systems.

    Research setup

    We designed two experiments to test the PMEP. We used PSAs in our experiments because we could measure actual behaviors in response to these ads, donations to the featured charities, rather than simply attitudes. The novel part of the model is the role of OT, so Experiment 1 tested whether OT would affect actions in response to PSAs. In Experiment 1, we manipulated OT pharmacologically to establish a causal relationship between OT and donation decisions in response to PSAs. In Experiment 2, we sought to confirm the interactive physiologic mechanisms for attention and action in the PMEP. To do this, we measured endogenous changes in OT and ACTH levels in blood before and after participants watched a PSA from Experiment 1.

    Research hypotheses

    We expected that the PSA would cause an increase in both ACTH and OT release in most participants. Further, we expected that participants who had increases in both ACTH and OT would be the ones most likely to donate to the charity in the ad.

    Results

    Participants who received OT made donations to 33% of ads, significantly more than those on a placebo (= 10.835,

    p = .001). Those who received OT donated, on average, 56% more money than those given the placebo (OT: $0.84;

    Placebo: $0.54). Watching the anti-smoking PSA produced a significant increase in ACTH (M1 = 52.5 pg/ml, M2 = 59.1 pg/ml; two-tailed t-test, p = .01), indicating that the ad attracted most viewers’ attention. As predicted by the PMEP, the change in ACTH was positively correlated to attention to the ad (r = .38 p = .02). Overall, the change in OT was, in isolation, unrelated to the donation amount (p>.05). Both attention and engagement with the ad’s characters appear necessary to result in a donation

    Conclusions

    Advertisers obviously cannot spray OT during viewings of their PSAs, but the findings here, coupled with studies identifying the variety of stimuli that induce OT release, suggest several ways that PSAs and perhaps other marketing efforts that include social content can be made more effective. Indeed, our findings indicate that the brain may not distinguish triggers for OT release that occur in-person compared to those that are viewed through visual media. Activities that induce the brain to release OT include watching an emotional video clip, being trusted, being touched, attending a wedding, petting one’s dog, moderate stress, holding one’s infant, breastfeeding, sexual activity, and perhaps even Tweeting.

    Final thoughts

    This approach indicates that effective marketing campaigns should be seen as ways to build relationships and solve customers’ problems rather than focusing on a one-time sale. Marketing that causes OT release is a step toward building an emotional relationship with a product or brand.

    Contact

    Christophe Morin / cmorin@fielding.edu

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing yearbook of last year. Click here to order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015. (The yearbook is included in diverse NMSBA membership plans, review here)

  • November 23, 2015 12:33 | Anonymous

    Author: Hayk Khachatryan, Bridget K. Behe, Benjamin Campbell, Charles Hall and Jennifer H. Dennis. No 150333, 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. from Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

    Research Description

    This research focuses on the relationship between impulsive  buying behavior and product attributes, evaluated with the use of neuromarketing techniques. Specifically, this research examines a consumer’s likelihood to purchase horticultural transplant based on the signage and characteristics of plants displayed. The Green Industry market is mature, and it is clear that innovation and marketing will drive growth. This study expands on previous research conducted, which examined the relationship between product specific characteristics and choice behavior. It expanded on previous work by collecting gaze duration on product signs, and tested the relationship between impulsive purchase behavior and likelihood to purchase.

    Approach

    Eye-tracking technologies were used to evaluate the relat

    ionship between likelihood to purchase and impulsive purchase behavior. These technologies allowed us to indirectly assess intention.  We hypothesized that impulsive buying behaviors are influenced by eye gaze patterns, which occur at the subconscious level. Finally it also examines how plant signs are viewed, and which characteristics are most important to consumers. We set out to determine if buying impulsiveness influences intentions to purchase, and if the effects of impulsiveness will be impacted by gaze duration. A display was created that contained three types of plants with three blank signs spaced equally throughout. Using Photoshop, text was added to the signs describing the environmentally friendly production methods, price, and plant type. Sixteen scenarios were designed and presented to participants at six North American universities. Verbal, behavioral and eye tracking data were collected.

    Results

    Research showed that there was a moderate and positive relationship between a consumer’s likelihood to buy and eco-friendly production methods, which were preferred over conventional methods. Less impulsive people and women were more likely to buy plants, while education and income were inversely related to the purchase of plants.  

    Data revealed that energy saving was the most important indicator of a purchase, and that the time spent looking at prices increased as prices rose. Those with a higher impulse score were not concerned about environmentally friendly features of the plants.  Likelihood to purchase increased along with the number of individuals in a family, but as education and income rose, likelihood to purchase declined. There is a positive relationship between likelihood to purchase and production method. While it was not surprising to find a positive relationship between likelihood to purchase and production method, new insights were gathered in the role of impulsiveness on plant choice and production method. Lower impulse levels are correlated with a greater probability to purchase, while more thoughtful consumers are more likely to purchase plants grown using eco-friendly practices. Gaze duration results suggest that more impulsive consumers may disregard production practices and related product descriptors displayed at the point-of-sale.

    Conclusions

    Marketers can use the research data to better understand the role of product attributes and consumer characteristics when making purchase decisions. With more than half of the decision making process occurring subconsciously, it is important to understand the role that product attributes play when decisions are made. The research reveals that in order to achieve higher sales growth, businesses need to understand their target clientele and develop labeling strategies that cater to their target audiences. 

    Contact Person:

    Hayk Khachatryan / hayk@ufl.edu

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing yearbook of last year. Click here to order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015. (The yearbook is included in diverse NMSBA membership plans, review here)

  • November 09, 2015 16:36 | Anonymous

    Author: Vecchiato et al. “Neuroelectrical Brain Imaging Tools for the Study of the Efficacy of TV Advertising Stimuli and their Application to Neuromarketing”. Springer. Series: Biosystems & Biorobotics, Vol. 3. 2013, XVIII, 136 p. 55 illus.

    Research Description

    Nowadays, neuroscientific methodologies include powerful brain imaging tools to gather the hemodynamic or electromagnetic signals related  to the human brain activity during the performance of a relevant marketing task. Each year, a huge amount of money is used to promote commercial communications. It is really important for marketing research to provide benchmarks and evaluations of how the commercials impacted on people. The reason why marketing researchers are interested in the use of brain imaging tools, instead of simply asking people to indicate their preferences in front of marketing stimuli, arises from the assumption that people cannot –or do not want to- fully explain their preferences when explicitly asked. Hence, marketers are investigating the use of neuroimaging tools to quantitatively assess the outcome of a produced advertisement. In this study, the focus was to measure and analyze the brain activity and the emotional engagement that occurred during the “naturalistic” observation of commercial ads. The final goal was to link significant variations of electroencephalographic and autonomic variables with the cognitive and emotional reactions to the TV advertisements presented. In order to do that, different indexes were employed to summarize the performed measurements and to be used in the statistical analysis.

    Approach

    Since temporal resolution of milliseconds is necessary to track the shifts of brain activity related to the processing of visual and acoustic stimuli of TV commercials, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) devices cannot return information on which scenes of an advertisement are of interest for people and which ones are not. On the other hand, high resolution electroencephalography (hrEEG) is able to detect rapid changes of the cortical activity on a temporal scale of milliseconds. Moreover, EEG devices are relatively inexpensive, robust and even wearable by people, making such technology suitable for the evaluation of marketing stimuli. Also, indirect signs of the emotional processing can also be collected by picking variations of the anatomical structures activity linked to the limbic system, such as one of the sweat glands of the hands and the variability of the heart rate. The particular procedure of the experimental task consisted of observing a documentary in which a series of TV commercials were inserted. The experimental subjects were told to pay attention to the movie they would be watching, and were unaware that an interview would be held within a couple of hours after the end of the recording. In the interview, the subjects were asked to recall commercial clips they remembered and to score them according to the degree of pleasantness they perceived. The dataset was then divided into several subgroups in order to highlight differences between the cerebral activity related to the observation of the remembered and forgotten ads, and those between the liked against the disliked commercials. Finally, the experimental questions of the present study were the following: are there particular EEG activities correlating with the memorization and the perceived interest related to the observed TV commercial? Are there particular cerebral and autonomic indexes describing the emotional state experienced while watching the TV commercial?

    Results

    The hrEEG technologies allowed to track the temporal trend of the cortical activities to be analyzed thanks to a high temporal and spatial resolution, distinguishing changes of activation of cortical areas by means of a graphical representation on an average brain model. The reconstruction of the cortical activity Led to highlight the cerebral regions that were significantly activated when compared to the observation of the documentary, frame by frame. Statistical cortical spectral maps returned that the theta band activity during the observation of the TV commercials that were remembered is higher and localized in the left frontal brain areas when compared to the activity elicited by forgotten advertisements. A similar increase of the alpha rhythms occurred during the observation of advertisements that were judged pleasant when compared with the others. Both cognitive and emotional processing have been described by the Memorization (MI), Attention (AI) and Pleasantness Index (PI). The percentage of spontaneous recall is linearly correlated with the MI values (R2=0.68, p<0.01). In particular, when both MI and AI are below their average values the percentage of spontaneous recall (18%) is below average as well. This percentage is slightly increased (20%) when the AI exceeds the average threshold. The highest values of spontaneous recall correspond to MI values above average. In fact, in this case the percentage reaches the value of 33% when the AI is below average and the value of 41% when both MI and AI are above average. As to the PI, the de-synchronization of left alpha frontal activity is positively correlated with judgments of high pleasantness. In addition, the heart rate activity elicited during the observation of the TV commercials that were remembered or judged pleasant is higher than the activity during the observation of commercials that will be forgotten or were judged unpleasant.

    Conclusions

    The results underline that properties of the EEG rhythms, collected during the observation of TV advertisements, are linked with the overt preferences of the observers in terms of cognition and emotion. They can be used to generate metrics that automatically point to parts of the examined commercials that are congruent from the emotional and the cognitive point of view. This information could be used a posteriori to redraw the advertisement in order to highlight the pleasant frames while suppressing the unpleasant ones. Finally, these tools allow the cognitive and emotional processes dynamics tobe analyzed.

    Final Thoughts

    From the marketing researcher’s point of view, there is the hope that these brain-imaging techniques will provide an efficient trade-off between the costs and benefits of the research. Improving the quality of the marketing messages will enable industries to waste less money in the production of ineffective or inappropriate advertisements and help them to better match the demands of people related to the products being advertised. The use of neuroimaging tools in the evaluation of the commercial ads will help to reduce the amount of money that is wasted in the advertising industry.

    Contact information: Giovanni Vecchiato / giovanni.vecchiato@uniroma1.it

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing yearbook of last year. Click hereto order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015. (The yearbook is included in diverse NMSBA membership plans, review here

  • October 20, 2015 13:25 | Simone Oude Luttikhuis

    Author: Life&Brain and Siegfried Voegele Institute

    An important and costly issue for marketers is the placement of TV ads. Longer commercials might have a stronger impact on consumers, but are also more costly. Methods that might help to decide whether a shorter version creates the same impact would be very helpful. In this study we investigated how functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be applied to the analysis of TV commercials in addition to eye-tracking.

    Approach
    Our study was performed on a 1.5 Tesla MRI (Siemens Avanto). The commercial was presented to the subjects via video goggles and soundproof headphones. Response Grips were used to record the behavior of the subjects. In order to gain a more complete picture of the performance and impact of the commercial we used eye-tracking in addition to the fMRI measurement. The subject of the investigation was a commercial for Deutsche Post - DHL . It ran nationwide to advertise the launch of the E-Postbrief . The E-Postbrief is a service of sending and receiving emails with high safety standards. Users can also have their e-mail delivered by a classic, postal mail service. 

    The examined commercial was aired in two different versions which differed in length. The short version corresponded exactly to the last 30 seconds of the long one, which had a length of 50 seconds. Since we wanted to investigate how the perception of the two versions differed, we divided the total of 38 subjects randomly into two equal groups: Group long vs. Group short. Both groups only watched one of the two versions. In the first 20 seconds of the long version a suggestive atmosphere was used to illustrate the dangers of the internet. In accordance with this intention, the atmosphere of this part can be characterized as dark, sleazy, cluttered, loud, hectic, confusing, dubious and futuristic. 

    In the subsequent 30 seconds the commercial showed how the E-Postbrief can help customers to address these problems. In contrast to the first part the atmosphere here was bright, idyllic, clear, calm, tranquil, friendly and familiar. 

    Results
    Subjective Ratings
    During the presentation of the commercial, subjects were asked about different attitudes towards the ad. 18.75 % of Group long subjects described the commercial as “threatening”, whereas in Group short no one agreed with this statement, as intended by the creators of this commercial.

    Eye-tracking
    Using an eye-tracker, we investigated the perception of the two versions. We defined areas of interest (AOI) and compared the average dwell times between the two groups.

    We found that subjects of Group long looked (significantly) longer at all marketing-related AOIs (e.g.:

    slogan, logo, product features, etc.) than subjects of the other group. Subsequent analyses showed that the longer dwell time had no positive effect on the impact though, i.e. neither on recall of the information nor on the rating of the commercial.

    fMRI
    In order to compare the two groups with each other, we focused on the last 30 seconds of the long version. As already stated, those exactly match the short version. The only difference between the two groups therefore was that subjects of Group long had additionally seen the threatening atmosphere in the first part of the commercial. 

    Contrasting the activation patterns of both groups revealed stronger activity in the insula for subjects of Group long as compared with Group short. This brain region, among others, is associated with aversive emotional arousal. As this part of the commercial was completely identical for both groups only the first part of the commercial could be responsible for this activity.

    Conclusions
    The threatening atmosphere in the first part of the commercial seems to affect the neural processing and perception of the second part, i.e. there seems to be a hangover effect of the threatening atmosphere, which cannot be completely resolved by the positive atmosphere of the second part. Subjects of Group long were still dealing with the negative emotions that had been triggered by the first part while watching the second. Without the use of fMRI these effects would have remained hidden from us. According to the available data the idea to arouse potential customers in the first part and then offer a solution in the second does not seem suitable to present the product in the desired manner. The positive atmosphere of the second part - which should rather be linked to the product and the brand - is instead dominated by the negative emotions evoked in the first part. 

    Final Thoughts
    In many commercials companies attempt to fan fear in order to motivate potential customers to purchase certain products and services. This strategy still enjoys great popularity among banks and insurance companies. Many marketers disregard the fact that our brain gives more weight to negative information than to positive. The reason for this difference in treatment is evolutionarily grounded and an important part of human survival strategy. 

    How the aversive emotions affect the perception of the product and brand on the long run was not the subject of this study and requires further investigation. 

    Contact Information
    Joined work between “Life&Brain” and “Siegfried Voegele Institute – International company for dialog marketing”
    www.lifeandbrain.com

    Contact Persons:
    Professor Dr. Bernd Weber / bweber@lifeandbrain.com
    Dr. Chrisian Holst: Holst / c.holst@sv-institut.de

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing yearbook of last year. Click here to order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015. (The yearbook is included in diverse NMSBA membership plans, review here)

  • September 22, 2015 13:06 | Simone Oude Luttikhuis

    Author: EigenWijze Marketing

    Testing Estelle online campaign for Courlux

    We were asked to optimize the conversions by applying neuromarketing techniques and psychological insights. The case in question was an online campaign for women’s razors. The conversion in this case was the request to test a women’s razor by filling in an order form. Our customer was curious about the effect of persuasion techniques.

    Approach

    In this campaign we wanted to be more responsive to emotions. Triggering emotion is crucial if a subject is to be prompted to take action. When women shave, they prefer to do this in a clean and fresh environment. The bathroom used in the original design looked dull and grimy, and did not give a particularly hygienic impression. In addition, the bold colors of the letters used in the ad had a cheap appearance. We gave the design a more friendly and feminine appeal and added a greater sense of experience. We also provided the “What’s in it for me” aspect by asking the question “Are your legs ready for summer?” We always see things from our own perspective, so it’s important to formulate a proposition from their advantage. This has the greatest effect of triggering the customer.

    Priming elements were also added such as droplets of water in the header, beach sand at the bottom, flip-flops and a map to conjure up a true holiday feeling. When a woman walks along a beach or wears flip-flops, she usually has bare legs or bare feet, so it is vital that her legs are perfectly smooth. The USP buttons were also changed into droplets of water and the text was made more specific. The colors applied in the design were fresher looking, more feminine and less blatant. The online neuromarketer reported all this advice, which the art director then translated into a visual design.

    Results

    The proposed neurovariant achieved a 36.6% higher conversion than the original version. This was an extremely positive result, and our work on this project was highly appreciated by the customer. We are currently optimizing more campaigns for the same customer, and are performing projects for many other enthusiastic companies.

    Conclusions

    Provoking the right emotion in the target group is essential. It is therefore crucial to know who your target group is and what kind of experience you want to create. An essential factor in this respect is elements that are not consciously perceived.

    Final Thoughts

    Dare to go beyond traditional marketing tools and never underestimate the power of the unconscious brain!

    Contact Information
    Eigen&Wijze Internetmarketing
    The Netherlands
    www.eigenwijze.nl
    Contact Person: Linda Oosterveld, linda@eigenwijze.nl


    Want to learn more about online persuasion? Visit the Shopper Brain Conference on October 15-16 in Amsterdam! www.shopperbrainconference.com


  • September 02, 2015 09:15 | Simone Oude Luttikhuis

    Author: Decode Marketing

    Leveraging decision science for British Telecom

    BT operates in a highly competitive market (broadband, TV, phone) in the UK vs Sky, Virgin and others. Response rates to their offers had been falling and they had to meet aggressive sales targets. They needed a new approach because their ”traditional” research was not giving them the reasons for the low response.

    Approach
    This was a consultancy approach to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their communications. Recommendations were made based on principles of perception, attention, cognition and motivation from the fields of ”decision science” (cognitive psychology, neuroscience, social psychology and behavioral economics). No research was conducted.

    Results
    The advice was executed in direct response TV and print advertising. Response rates rose by 85% and 76% respectively compared to their previous benchmarks. As a result they met their aggressive sales targets and customer acquisition costs were halved. The client (General Manager, Marketing) commented that these response rates were “the highest in living memory”at BT.

    Conclusions
    The conclusion, as an ex-Marketing VP myself, is ”if only Marketing knew what science knows”. In this case, no research was required - simply the application of principles already studied and known in the fields of decision science.

    Contact Information
    Decode marketing ltd, United Kingdom
    www.decodemarketing.co.uk
    Contact Person:
    Phil Barden, info@decodemarketing.co.uk

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing yearbook of last year. Click here to order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015 which has just been published. (The yearbook is included in diverse NMSBA membership plans, review here)


  • August 11, 2015 13:27 | Simone Oude Luttikhuis

    Author: AAT Research

    Testing website design and user interaction for GFI Software

    The project for GFI Software was related to the company’s process of re-designing its key customer-facing website, GFI.com, and designing and launching GFISoftware.com. The two sites are positioned to engage with a number of target user groups. The organization of content (text, photography and video) within the overall design and layout schemas of the new sites are critical factors in  determining whether users will actually interact with content in the manner envisaged by the GFI project team -i.e., whether they will progress to specific inner pages within the site, click on promotions, engage with specific areas, proceed to checkout, etc. 

    GFI entrusted AAT Research to apply its neuromarketing expertise and proprietary technology to conduct in-depth usability analysis of the proposed design schemas of the new sites by testing a large number of webpage templates (screens). At AAT we were confident that we were in a position to help optimize GFI’s online marketing and customer relationship management operations by focusing on the areas of the brain that would produce the desired response in GFI target demographic groups. In the process, this will help GFI secure a competitive advantage in an aggressive marketplace.

    Approach
    GFI Software opted for neuromarketing testing as opposed to their usual market testing using focus groups due to the high importance they attributed to these new websites. They believed that neuromarketing techniques could assist them in creating a more engaging experience for their new and regular customers. AAT Research and GFI had already successfully collaborated on a neuromarketing project related to software design so it was only natural that we would extend our collaboration to the testing of the design and functionality of their websites. 

    The project was divided into two phases. The aim of the first phase of the study was to obtain physiological evidence on how people respond to specific elements of the dummy website design using screenshots. A specific battery of tests to highlight sections of the site that triggered “user friendliness” and attention were accurately designed. The website was then created with these results as guidelines. The aim of the second phase was to test the subjects’ physiological response to the actual website design and functionality once it was put online.

    In a project with the scope and scale of the GFI Project, data was gathered using a range of equipment including a clinical 21-channel EEG system, eye-tracking cameras, Galvanic Skin Response, and purposely built software for cognitive analysis and analysis of mouse movement when navigating through the actual website. By analyzing EEG readings, it is possible to detect the processes that lead to certain decisions and to determine the part of the brain that implemented these processes. The additional physiological data gathered on changes in skin temperature, eye movement, as well as mouse movement and clicks, creates a more holistic and accurate picture of the subjects’ responses to specific triggers.

    Results
    The results show that the most effective parts of the webpages are those which mention the company’s products. Subjects focused on these areas as these are the details that offer a product to the customer.

    They lingered on these details as they tried to figure out which product could be of use to them. Sections of the websites which attracted attention were those with colorful details and a visually stimulating layout. This is important to maintain the overall attention span of the subject. If the subject gets bored he or she will quickly move on to another page. Some areas which had too many focal points, created by colored details or buttons, did not hold attention for a considerable period on a particular area, but the eyes, and mouse, moved from one section to the other quickly. This means that the subjects did not stop to consider the information that was given at each section.

    Subjects generally do not focus on areas which contain a lot of text, but read subtitles which are usually in a different color or held in a colored button. These therefore contain short but effective information from which the subjects obtain an indication of what can be of personal interest.

    Users, especially those who are executive, do not have much time on their hands so they need brief details that give enough information quickly, without having to scroll or enter other pages.

    The results show that both websites were engaging and maintained the users’ attention and interest. The pages were also visually enticing and the design concept was highly successful. A number of recommendations were made based on the results gathered, particularly regarding the use of colored details, images and text placement.

    Conclusions
    The research on this project for GFI shows that neuromarketing can be an integral part of the design process of any product. Testing was done on the first drafts of the design of the webpages. The results indicated to the designers which areas were effective and which needed amending. The final functional website was tested in the second phase. This project indicates that neuromarketing is not just useful for testing final products, but also for testing products in the design phase therefore saving the developer time and money by being set on the right track from the start.

    Final Thoughts
    Neuromarketers can, and should, work hand in hand with designers, engineers and developers, every step of the way.

    Contact Information:
    AAT Research Ltd, Malta
    www.aatresearch.org
    Contact Person: Krystle Farrugia
    krystle@aatresearch.org

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing yearbook of last year. Click here to order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015 which has just been published. (The yearbook is included in diverse NMSBA membership plans, review here)  

    Interested in neuromarketing applied to retail? Take a look at the website of the Shopper Brain Conference to learn more about this!


  • July 17, 2015 13:46 | Simone Oude Luttikhuis

    Author: Neurons Inc 

    Test effects of ad exposure on in-store neural responses for a major North American retail corporation

    Little is still understood about the actual in-store purchase process, and research is often limited by traditional research methods that rely on conscious self-reports. While traditional market research methods only allow recording of actual purchase and customers’ self-reports about the reasons behind their choices, neuromarketing methods allow better assessment and understanding of key unconscious processes underlying consumer choice.

    Here, we report the result of two consumer neuroscience studies that explore whether in-store decisions can be traced to immediate neural responses that precede conscious deliberation.

    Approach
    In Study 1 we used mobile eye-tracking and electroencephalography (EEG) to identify key neural responses that predict in-store purchase. Customers were asked to complete five different purchase tasks, and were free to use or save money they had previously been given. We used Area of Interest analysis to extract attentional and neural responses when customers looked at a particular product. All data were corrected for movement and eye blink artefacts. To assess customer motivation, we analyzed the prefrontal asymmetry index (PAI) in the gamma frequency. 

    In Study 2 we employed the same methodology to test the effects of prior ad exposure on in-store physiological, neural and behavioral responses. Customers were shown a series of commercials prior to entering the store, and while one group saw a particular commercial for paint, the control group saw all other commercials except this one. We assessed both the level of visual attention and neural motivation (PAI) while customers performed tasks inside the store. Crucially, we compared the effects of prior ads on visual attention and PAI when customers were instructed to purchase paint. 

    Conclusions
    Customer in-store choices are rapid and unconscious. Our two studies demonstrate that long before customers are consciously aware of it, unconscious responses are driving their in-store responses. Besides showing this main effect, we demonstrate that prior exposure to ad materials can affect unconscious attentional and motivational responses that ultimately lead to increased chance of purchase. 

    Final Thoughts
    Our results highlight the importance of the assessment and understanding of rapid, unconscious responses in the in-store situation. Our method provides a protocol for assessing these responses, allowing future studies to improve our understanding of the actual drivers of in-store consumer choice. Such studies could explore the effect of entry signs, in-store signage or long-term effects of ad exposure on in-store behavior.

    Contact Information
    Neurons Inc, Denmark
    www.NeuronsInc.com
    Contact Person: Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy
    thomas@NeuronsInc.com

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing yearbook of last year. Click here to order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015 which has just been published. (The yearbook is included in diverse NMSBA membership plans, review here)  


    Interested in neuromarketing applied to retail? Take a look at the website of the Shopper Brain Conference to learn more about this!


  • June 26, 2015 16:26 | Simone Oude Luttikhuis

    Author: Neuromatters

    Messages can be conveyed through a variety of media such as written or spoken stories, movies, and advertisements. Their impact on human psychology ranges widely from what events we remember most easily to our choices about important foundational behaviors. Since the brain is the proximate cause of our actions, narratives have a direct impact on the neurobiological processes of both the senders and receivers of them. Understanding how narratives inform neurobiological processes is critical if we are to ascertain what effect narratives have on the psychology and neurobiology of human choices and behaviors. Yet, there is at present a lack of practical and non-invasive sensing platforms to understand, detect and present neural events triggered by narratives, ultimately leading to a predictive model of consumer behavior.

    Approach
    It has been previously shown, using fMRI and electrocorticography (ECoG), that narratives can evoke synchronized and time-locked activity in many brain areas across listeners when presented with the same stimuli. This neural synchrony has been shown to correlate with retention of events that occur in a narrative, as well as effective comprehension during a two-way dialog. Neural synchrony is also modulated in strength by the narrative content, in the sense that a cohesive narrative elicits stronger neural synchrony. As such, neural synchrony may be an important and valuable tool to assess the effectiveness of a story. However, fMRI and ECoG are not feasible in practice – they are not portable imaging modalities, they are expensive, and, in the case of ECoG, they are invasive.

    Neuromatters is developing a portable, practical, and non-invasive sensing platform (using scalp EEG and other physiological measurements) to capture and decode neural activity elicited by narrative stimuli. The cognitive capture platform will be available as a service to aid in the design of optimal  arratives/ads/movies and will be the first such tool to be validated in predicting behavioral outcomes for targeted demographics.

    Results
    Neuromatters is developing the Cognitive Capture™ System (CCS), a software suite for comprehensive neuroanalytics of narratives. Its technologies rest upon Neuromatters’ proprietary modular architecture, which enables easy integration of/with sensors, simulation environments, analytics tools and neural decoding engines. CCS integrates the Neural Synchrony Toolbox™ (NST) with Cognitive Storyboards™ to provide a commercial-grade platform for extracting, decoding and tracking neural activity elicited by complex, realworld stimuli to predict behavioral outcomes, such as purchase intent, brand alignment, memory recall, or other business-relevant behaviors as stipulated by clients and thereby alter human behavior.

    Conclusions
    The Cognitive Capture™ System ultimately enables content-creators to produce engaging narratives by providing objective, quantitative and temporally precise measures of viewers’cognitive state throughout the duration of the story.


    Contact Information
    Neuromatters, USA
    www.neuromatters.com
    Contact Person: Paul DeGuzman
    pdeguzman@neuromatters.com


    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing yearbook of last year. Click here to order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015 which has just been published. (The yearbook is included in diverse NMSBA membership plans, review here
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