About The Benchmark Series

How Australians really engage with advertising
across different platforms and devices

Groundbreaking research from respected marketing science academic Professor Karen Nelson-Field has uncovered new insights into how and why video advertising works for brands across different media platforms.

About The Benchmark Series

Enlisting leading academic Dr Karen Nelson-Field, a Professor of Media Innovation at The University of Adelaide, ThinkTV commissioned an independent, large-scale in-home study into how Australians really engage with advertising across different platforms and devices.

The Benchmark Series sought to challenge common assertions around what works and doesn’t work in media. It identifies how the various attributes of video advertising deliver growth for advertisers.

The Methodology

Data was derived from bespoke A.I, machine learning tech and eye-tracking software from 2,583 Australians, viewing over 18,219 advertisements and the consideration of over 38,745 different brands, included the ones they were exposed to in the study’s advertising, from a discrete choice modelling exercise after their natural viewing sessions.

Watch these short videos on The Benchmark Series methodology and results:

Research Findings

Part 1 – Media Attributes That Matter

The first part of The Benchmark Series looks at the common elements within media platforms that contribute to brand growth. The research outlines a number of significant findings that are designed to help advertisers and their agencies get the best out of video advertising.

The research revealed:

  • Sales
    Using the well-established metric of short-term advertising strength or STAS** to measure the impact an advertisement has on a brand’s sales, the research found that TV was 24.1% stronger than YouTube and 22% stronger than Facebook.
  • Attention
    The same pattern carried for the attention paid to an ad, which Professor Nelson-Field scored based on a number of factors including active ad viewing, active ad avoidance and passive ad avoidance, measured for each second that a commercial ran. On an aggregate of these measures, TV scored 58 points out of 100. This was 13 points higher than Facebook, which scored 45, and 38 points higher than YouTube, which scored 20.
  • Screen Coverage
    The study found that screen coverage (the percentage of a screen occupied by an ad) was highly correlated to attention and sales. On this measure, TV, at 100% screen coverage, provided 10 times more “Coverage” on average than Facebook and three times more coverage than Youtube, which Professor Nelson-Field identified as one of the key reasons for TV’s ability to have the most impact on sales.
  • Brand Prominence
    The research also showed that the size, frequency and speed of introduction of a brand or product within a commercial correlates to attention and sales impact. The ads that produced greater sales impact:
    – showed the brand at twice the size of poorly-performing ads;
    – showed the brand almost twice as often;
    – and were 25% more likely to display the brand within the first two seconds.

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Part 2 – Visibility

This part of The Benchmark Series compared the attribute of ad viewability across TV, Facebook and YouTube. The concepts of screen coverage, pixels rendered and time-on- screen were assessed against their ability to impact attention and sales.

The research revealed:
• Attention and sales are strongly correlated
• TV commands 2x as much active attention as YouTube and 14x that of Facebook
• With the same creative executions tested, TV generates a greater sales impact
• Sponsorship in quality programming improves attention and sales
• All broadcast content has a greater sales impact than other platforms
• TV screen coverage is about 3x Youtubeand 10x Facebook
• Inventory playing full screen will have a greater sales impact than ads playing on a smaller proportion of the screen

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Part 3 – Emotions and Advertising

As part of the Benchmark survey of more than 2,600 Australians, Professor Nelson-Field’s team asked 140 consumers to view 15 TV advertisements and classify their feelings upon viewing. Viewers were asked to classify the intensity of their reactions and whether their emotional responses were positive or negative.

The Professor and her team then rated each ad’s sales impact using the well-established metrics of:

1. Attention – how much their eyes were on the screen, measured using eye-tracking software
2. Short-term advertising strength or STAS* (measured by how often brands were picked out by viewers in an onlinesupermarket after they had watched a series of ads)

The attention and STAS scores for each ad were then matched against the types and levels of emotions each ad elicited.

The study found that ads which generate a strong reaction, irrespective of whether or not the reaction is positive or negative, garner 16% more attention than ads which elicit weak reactions.

Professor Nelson-Field’s findings also demonstrate the link between strong reactions to advertising and resulting sales impact. Ads which generated a high emotional response had a 2.4x greater sales impact than ads which elicited a low response.

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Part 4 – Video Advertising on Mobile

The mobile tranche of The Benchmark Series from Professor Karen Nelson-Field compares the awareness, coverage and, most importantly, the sales impact of TV, Facebook and YouTube video advertising delivered via mobile devices. While the results may surprise, the bottom line is that when it comes to brand and business growth, nothing trumps TV, on any device.

This tranche of The Benchmark Series seeks to compare the sales impact and attention generated by video advertising viewed on mobile devices on Facebook, YouTube, and TV (over Broadcaster Video-On-Demand services).

It found that:

  1. Video advertisements viewed on mobile devices by consumers of Facebook, YouTube and Broadcaster Video-On-Demand (BVOD) all generated a positive sales impact for brands.
  2. On mobile devices the sales impact of BVOD is nearly 3x greater than Facebook and 1.6x greater than Youtube.
  3. The sales impact of TV video advertising outperforms Facebook and YouTube irrespective of screen.

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Part 5 – Decay

We know that the truly great campaigns drive a strong sales spike initially, but then keep working for the brand in the longer term to raise the baseline. So, for this tranche we asked Professor Nelson-Field to re-test how these platforms perform over a longer time period. And what did she find?

Ads watched in a TV content feed, viewed on any screen, not only generated a greater immediate sales impact than ads watched on Youtube or Facebook, but they also continued to generate a greater sales impact long after Facebook and YouTube advertising memories had completely faded. The Professor found that following one execution, TV advertising keeps working to drive a sales impact for 109 days, compared with YouTube at eight days and Facebook at six days.

So, not only does TV advertising generate a greater sales impact in the short term, it sustains this sales effect by remaining in consumer’s memories for longer. TV advertising is so powerful in fact, that the residual impact from an ad exposure in a TV content feed on mobile after 28 days is still at around the same level that online platforms deliver at their peak, immediately after the exposure.

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Part 6 – Cross Screen Effects

ThinkTV commissioned Professor Karen Nelson-Field and the team from the Centre for Amplified Intelligence, to build on all the previous learnings from the Benchmark Study by investigating cross platform effects.  The research revealed that for advertisers who run their advertising on TV and wish to extend their campaign into online video, advertising on TV with Broadcaster VOD (BVOD) generates more than twice the sales impact of brands that combine linear TV with social video platforms.

Professor Nelson-Field found TV plus BVOD has twice the sales impact of TV plus Facebook, and the TV plus BVOD combination had 2.4 times the sales impact of TV combined with YouTube.

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