The human brain needs less than half a second to engage with a mobile ad to create its own positive or negative impression, according to research from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). This means marketers need to think fast and create mobile ads made for maximum instant impact.
MMA’s Cognition Neuroscience Research project was conducted in collaboration with The Advertising Research Foundation and Neurons Inc.
The researchers used eye-tracking and EEG monitoring to measure what participants saw, as well as how they responded. About 900 consumers participated in the study.
The experiment found that consumers have extremely quick emotional responses to mobile ads. On average, it took just 400 milliseconds for consumers to see and react emotionally to 67% of the mobile ads they were exposed to.
This response was much faster than the response to ads shown on a desktop. The research found that it takes two to three seconds for consumers to see most (two-thirds of) desktop ads shown. By comparison, it takes only 0.4 seconds for ads in a mobile feed environment to get attention and trigger a response — with emotional responses to highly recognizable brands being event faster.
Additionally, video ads on mobile were twice as likely to gain an emotional response than static ads when the exposure speed is faster (less than 0.7 seconds, in this research).
The research suggested that marketers needed to consider the impact their ads will make in that first second, rather than just focusing on the totality of a six-, 15-, or 30-second ad impression. In fact, the MMA said brands should develop a “one-second” strategy to capture consumers’ attention in the mobile environment.