Fluid Lives: Oath's latest research study

January 25, 2018

There is a body of scientific research that supports the notion that much of what drives human decision-making is not consciously accessible. This creates a unique set of challenges for someone like me, in the research field; how do you truly get to the drivers behind human behaviours? Our approach at Oath has been to use multiple research techniques in our exploration. Our latest research piece Fluid Lives is no exception.

To get to the crux of what content resonates across which screen we blended the results of three different research techniques, capturing what we SEE, SAY and the SECRETS that lay underneath.

SEE - Passive tracking – we observed peoples digital behaviours through both our own 1st party data and 3rd party tracking tools.

SAY – we polled people through online surveys and listened to their responses.

SECRETS – we conducted a series of EEG neuro lab studies to capture the underlying thoughts/unconscious drivers.

This research was conducted in both UK and Germany.

We observed our multi-screen existence first-hand. In fact, at the heart of traditional media peak-time (2000-2100), there are just as many people utilising two or more devices in the UK as those that are using solely one. Mobile devices and younger consumers (18-34) are driving the multiple device usage in prime time. This was reflected in what we heard via the online surveys, consolidating that this is a trend that is set to continue.

Half of German's aged 16-34 and 57% of 16-34's in the UK believe that in the next 2 years the majority of the items in the household will be 'smart' and connected to the internet. In addition, two thirds of 16-24's in the UK claim that the screen we use is irrelevant, it is the content that matters; 62% of Germans also agree with this sentiment. However, when there is a choice, the screen we choose is both an emotional and rational decision, linked to a consumer need, which is why we need to dig deeper... which is where the secrets come in.

We scanned over 900 people and 2 hours of content across UK and Germany capturing over 2.6 billion data points. This is one of (if not the) biggest neuro study outside of the North America, which gave us a rich picture of how different content types, on different screens affect three core metrics:

- Our attention levels

- Our connection – Are we developing a deeper relationship with the content?

- Encoding to memory – Is the content being committed to memory for longer-term recall and association?

We compared the results we obtained to a number of norms captured from over 10,000 hrs of content.

So what are the rules of engagement across screen?

We saw that each device has its own part to play in cross device storytelling, the challenge for creative is to articulate the story or message through the lens of different screens, choosing appropriate visual cues, guides or references. We also saw the need to utilise the 'real estate' of the screen wisely. On the larger screen of a TV or PC, visual content needs to be rich, immersive and have some level of complexity to stand out. In contrast, a simple visual mechanic works well for smaller screens as they tend to benefit from a more structured, uncluttered and punchy narrative.

There were also common traits that worked well regardless of device namely:

1) Repetition is a killer. Ultimately, use the appropriate length to match the message. We like to feel a sense of progression through a storyline and hence the use of sequential storytelling can assist here.

2) Do not be afraid to use the brand throughout – we saw that the highest levels of attention, connection and encoding have arisen when a brand is integrated throughout the ad.

3) We are both rational and emotional beings and hence marketing messages that have a balance of both will reap rewards. The EEG work enabled us to explore the level of emotional anchoring within the creative, enabling us to see how the use of familiar faces (such as celebrities) can provide an initial boost but that alone will not create lasting relevance and engagement, it needs to be combined with great branded content strengthened by audio cues.

A great example of a brand whose marketing worked well across all screens was HSBC's The game the ball wants to play created for the HSBC World Rugby Seven Series

HSBC example

This advert focuses on a rugby balls journey around the world to fulfil its destiny of being used in a World Rugby Seven Series match. This spot appeals to a mobile audience as it uses a single, focal object (the rugby ball) to keep small-screen users engaged. However, it has a constantly changing and visually diverse background that also keeps consumers on larger- screens engaged. Fantastic use of sequential storytelling leads to sustained strong levels of Attention, Connection and Encoding.

I hope this provides you with some thoughts and tactics for creating content that resonates across screens to reflect our fluid lives...if you want to find out more – feel free to get in touch with your local Oath contact.

Tags: Tech/Telco