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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Digital Advertising Success Is a Moving Target

Digital Advertising Success Is a Moving Target
Credit: www.BillionPhotos.com/Shutterstock

If you want your online ads to resonate with consumers, you need to make sure the ads have some movement to them, new research finds.

However, not just any movement will do. Consumers who see online ads where the product being sold changes direction when moving across the screen are more likely to perceive the product as innovative, according to a study set to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Marketing.

This perception is critical because the research shows that products seen as innovative are embraced faster by consumers and generate higher profits.

"Psychologically, we don't expect inanimate objects to be able to change directions," Arun Lakshmanan, one of the study's co-authors and an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Buffalo's School of Management, said in a statement. "As a result, when we see something do that in an advertisement, it stands out as atypical and causes us to make judgments instantaneously about the product's novelty, without even thinking about it."

For the study, researchers had more than 740 consumers view fictitious online ads for a variety of products, including tablets, smartphones and cameras. The study's authors monitored their attention and had them rate how innovative they believed the product was. [Your Online Ads Are Creeping Out Your Customers ]

The results showed that ads in which the product changed direction, defined in advertising as kinetic property, influenced perceptions of innovation more than static ads or ads with other moving parts.

"We found dynamic ads are more attention-grabbing than static ads," Lakshmanan says. "But to impact consumer perceptions of product novelty, attracting attention is not enough."

The study's authors discovered that the effect of ads with items that change direction is greatest in products where small improvements have been made, as opposed to radical changes, and those in rapid-moving industries like technology and fashion.

"The majority of new products are brand extensions or products with incremental changes from previous versions," Lakshmanan says. "For marketers, particularly those working with smaller companies and low-budget brands, kinetic property offers a robust, subtle and powerful mechanism to communicate product innovation and influence consumer attitudes."

Marketers need to be careful where and when they use these types of ads, however. The study's authors found that the impact of direction-changing online ads is diminished when consumers watched multiple animated ads in a row or saw an ad with too many moving elements.

The researchers advise advertisers to use behavioral targeting to determine when and where to position animated ads to maximize their effectiveness.

The study was co-authored by Junghan Kim, a University of Buffalo doctoral student.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.