NEWS13 December 2021

AR offers better engagement than traditional advertising

Behavioural science News UK

UK – A neuroscience study commissioned by messaging app Snapchat and strategic market research consultancy Alter Agents has found that augmented reality (AR) offers significantly more immersion and engagement than traditional advertising. 

Mobile phone demonstrating the concept of augmented realiity

The in-depth neurological study of consumers from across the world used smart watch technology to measure their immersion. It found AR experiences command continuous high attention, compared to traditional advertising experiences which have peaks and valleys over time.

Participants in the study took part in virtual, individual research sessions. They watched content from home or out and about, with engagement measured in the most natural environment.

Immersion’s neuroscience platform – the technology behind the methodology – makes it possible to map the distinct patterns in heart rate, indicating a participant is engaged in an immersive state. That’s translated into the immersion index, which rates a person’s level of immersion on a scale from 0 to 100.

Key findings included the fact that immersive experiences offer significant value; when people are highly immersed, they are paying attention, emotionally engaged, and actively committing information to memory. Immersion predicts consumer action and memory with 83% accuracy.

Respondents’ average scores on the immersion index were higher than industry benchmarks for the entertainment category across all social media platforms, which includes 350 experiences across television, film, music, gaming, and sports. There was an average of 56 versus 45.

In addition, AR experiences maintain high attention throughout; a heart rate tracker graph demonstrated that every second is that much more impactful and delivers positive memory encoding. 

The report’s author, Andy Pang, head of international marketing science at Snap Inc, said: “We commissioned this research to deepen our understanding of the unique impact of engaging with augmented reality and whether consumers are more receptive and engaged by AR advertising as opposed to traditional advertising formats.

“When people are highly immersed, they are paying attention, emotionally engaged and actively committing information to memory. They are in the zone and the experience is resonating with them on a fundamental level – to the point it can predict future behaviour.”

The 30-minute virtual in-depth-interviews (IDIs), utilising immersion neuroscience technology, was conducted by independent research firm Alter Agents between 16 August and 16 September this year.



3 years ago

Interesting study but were all the findings derived from heart rate? If so, how did you control for variables e.g. walking pace when out and about vs standing still? And how did you make the leap from heart rate to 'positive memory encoding'? It's known that emotional arousal increases memory encoding but this could have negative valence as well as positive.

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2 years ago

The study around Immersion was conducted in lab and therefore in a controlled environment. All respondents were guided through the same experience before they we involved in the test - so no external factors would have impacted heart rate variability.

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