Sleek images of fast cars hugging tight bends impact the viewer’s mind less than seeing relevant people talking about the vehicle.
That’s the surprise research finding by Britain’s biggest automotive digital content and commerce platform, Autovia.
Autovia wanted to understand why its most popular car review and promotional videos struck such a chord with readers and viewers, so they recruited neuro-analytics specialists Neuro-Insight to tap directly into viewers’ brains.
The findings will help Britain’s automotive industry to better understand how to entice customers in more engaging ways than simply advertising to them.
The research used a unique patented technology called Steady State Topography which measures second by second brain responses quantifying which moments of audio and visual content are encoded into long term memory.
Readers of the popular Autovia title, evo were invited to browse articles and videos as they usually would while Neuro-Insight researchers measured the electrical activity in different regions of their brains.
They could then see which moments impacted viewers most positively – and what was most likely to be instantly ‘encoded’ into memory.
Around 80 evo readers were wired up and invited to read four articles about cars, in the way they usually would, without being told what the researchers were looking for.
The surprising finding was that while dramatic external images of a performance road car naturally excited the viewers, what stuck in their minds and felt most relevant was when presenters were talking directly to the viewer about the cars, making them feel more involved.
Compared with ordinary car advertising videos online, they found that Autovia’s longer films, presented by trusted experts, were watched by 45% more people, each of whom continued watching for more than 50% longer than the industry’s standard duration for adverts.
Further analysis revealed that in order to leave a lasting impactful impression on the viewers subconscious a combination of factors should be considered as key ingredients in creating effective content:
- Context is key – Matching the video content with the article context within which it sits gives it an even greater chance of success
- Narrative & human interaction are most compelling – A known and relevant presenter addressing the viewers and talking about the product is more impactful than just showing the product
- The brain is enticed by intrigue – A teaser at the start creates suspense which holds the brain’s attention. Engaging the senses also creates benefits eg. aligning visuals of cars with the sounds they make further brings the narrative to life
A wide range of more subtle, but equally effective, factors were also discovered to make a deeper impression on the viewer’s brain, ranging from references to famous places in the dialogue – and even portraying close ups of two characters interacting with each other.
Experts at Neuro-Insight say that the study reinforces what they already know about the human brain and its love of storytelling rather than bland promotional information about brands or a hard sell.
Holly Jordan, Research Director at Neuro-Insight (UK), said: “This was a fascinating project that really showcased how Autovia’s long form content combined all the right factors required to make best in class long form video content that truly impacts the subconscious.”
“Autovia’s writers and presenters construct videos that tell a story, with an instinct for real human engagement, which is undoubtedly why their content and videos really hijack people’s attention and stay in the mind, even long after they have read or watched a piece of content.”
Seema Hope, Global Customer Insight Director of Autovia, said: “Understanding what will most likely become rooted in a viewer’s memory is such a powerful insight because that is what makes a brand more likely to be considered for purchase.
“This research not only helps us to understand why so much of our own content is so popular with readers and viewers, but also signals to our partners around the automotive industry what works best in helping them to establish their brands in the minds of consumers.”
“It’s an open secret that ordinary online advertising can feel jarring to internet users when it pops up in the wrong places but now we understand the secret sauce which helps to remove that friction and really lure our automotive partners’ customers to their brands.”
Mike Hind, Autovia