Is mobile more immersive than TV?

What can neuroscience teach us about how people respond to content on mobile platforms?

Neuromarketing is the art of collecting and interpreting non-verbal, unconscious physiological responses to stimuli and it has the potential to provide deeper insight than relying solely on people’s ability to verbalise their own experiences.

Facebook commissioned a neuromarketing company to explore if people respond differently to advertising content delivered on mobile devices than on TVs.  Researchers wanted to explore participants’ attention, emotion, engagement and retention of the key messages. The research monitored and measured participants’ heart rate, eye movements and brain activity.  Participants were split into two groups – one seeing the content first on a 32 inch TV, the other watching it on a mobile device first.

The findings

Mobile is immersive.  The same content, delivered on mobile, generated greater levels of attention and positive emotion. Participants' brains were more distracted when watching the content on the TV.  They were more attentive and immersed in mobile content.  The researchers say this suggests that our neurological systems do not require ‘a grandiose experience’ in order to feel a response and that in fact the size of the smartphone screen means that the brain experiences a less energy-demanding experience.

What this means

  • Our physical closeness to the mobile screen makes users feel more positive about the content. 
  • Make your mobile content efficient – key messages should be made within the first ten seconds.
  • Advertising is about stories and the research shows that people love good stories

Advert blocking

Meanwhile, new research from the UK's Internet Advertising Bureau (reported in econsultancy) finds that 22% of people have downloaded software that helps them block adverts.  They cite privacy concerns, interruptions and irrelevance as their drivers for doing so.

For more background on the Facebook/neuromarketing research, see this video.

Sources: Facebook Insights blog; Social Media Today.