Dx3 Canada: How advertising can better explore the brain

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Brain measurement is the new frontier of advertising technology, according to Kevin Keane of Brainsights, who spoke at the marketing conference Dx3 in Toronto today.

Brainsights aims to study the brains of consumers to learn about why an ad or branded content article is more persuasive than another. They use EEG measurement and fMRI machines to study brain waves and neural activity when, say, a brand logo appears in an ad, or the slogan slides into the end of the commercial.

“What drives human decision making is not consciously accessible,” Keane said. He then went on to explain how modern neuroscience technology is both portable and accessible, and often inexpensive…compared to the first-generation hardware famously marketed with electrodes strung up to people’s foreheads.

Those days are over, Keane told attendees. With the rise of wearable tech, consumers are often comfortable donning head-bands measuring their brain activity. “And some are even excited to participate,” he added.

Brainsights, working with brands such as Coors Light and the Toronto Raptors, hopes to find three non-conscious metrics with their tech: attention, connection and encoding.

Attention relates to if “the audience  is dialled into what is front of them. What scarcer resource is there than one’s attention, and capturing that is the precursor to what might follow?” Keane remarked.

Connection is all about the stimuli driving deep emotional response in consumers. Is it rising or falling flat at certain points in the marketing messaging?

Finally, what parts of the ad is encoded deep in the memory?

Brian measurement can also look at the medium where the message is being displayed. Brainsights, based in Toronto, studied the various screens – tablet, smartphone, TV – offering advertising to consumers and learned a few key takeaways: Video ads shown on laptops are often the most persuasive. Articles read on mobiles are the most persuasive compared to reading articles on other screens. And TV maintains an edge in connection.

“Advertising has long been wedded to the currency of impressions and reach,” Kean said. “It will take a long time to shift that mindset, but it will happen.”

Be sure to check out @b2bnewsnetwork tomorrow as we continue to cover sessions from Dx3.

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David Silverberg
David Silverberg is the former editor-in-chief of Digital Journal Inc. He helped pioneer Digital Journal's proprietary technology to leverage content from writers from across the world. He was the host of Digital Journal's annual Future of Media event. David has been published in various publications, writing on everything from technology trends to celebrity profiles.