By: Dr. David Bridwell, People Scientist and Jake McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer

A recent study from the Advertising Research Foundation shows that attention matters. In fact, the more attention to or involvement with the content, platform, device or media brand, the more likely an ad will be effective.

The study also shows that attention leads to an increased intent to purchase, even after a single exposure. However, there are some things to consider. First, scroll speed in digital marketing matters a whole lot. If we’re advertising on a site where people are scrolling quickly, such as social media platforms, consumers are much less likely to pay attention to any advertising at all. The good news is that we can make sure our ads grab viewers’ attention by taking the following steps:

Use of psychologically powerful images. Choose images that quickly convey the intended message so your audience gets the message quickly. These images should incorporate your important brand elements or brand codes, which ensures that you keep your brand fresh in the mind of consumers. Building a core set of brand codes will help customers recognize your product and gain familiarity and affinity toward your brand. 

Understand scan patterns. Consumers move their eyes multiple times per second as they scan a scene. These eye movements are mostly unconscious and they’re driven by an intuitive need to extract meaning from what we see. Take a quick look at your advertisement to make sure that the way the consumer’s eyes are likely to scan across the ad makes sense in terms of the message you are trying to send. 

Understand clichés and break them. Make sure you take a survey of all the clichés within your product category. In addition, be sure to take a look at the clichés that are common on different media platforms. Once you understand what people expect then you can thoughtfully break these clichés to get consumers attention. Just be sure to break clichés in a way that is consistent with your brand values. 

Overall, these steps will help marketers maximize System 1 processing of their marketing messages. It will help get people to notice your ads, store information in memory, and can ultimately shape behavior. For more insights on how to break through the attention barrier check out our most recent webinar.

At Intermark Group, we leverage psychology and neuroscience insights to help make sure that advertisements have the most impact. We work with you at all levels of the campaign, from strategy, creative, production, and media, and more. Feel free to give us a call at 833-578-1314 or email us at to discuss how we can help with your marketing challenges. In addition, sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch with the latest insights in marketing psychology. 

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