Sharethrough and Column Five uncover the science behind why native ads work

Sharethrough, a software company that enables leading websites and apps to manage their in-feed, native ads, commissioned a study from Nielsen to determine how consumers visually process mobile ads. 

The study applied eye tracking and neuroscience—the study of subconscious reactions in the brain—to mobile advertising. Unlike survey-based mobile measurement, which evaluates a consumer’s conscious reactions to ads, neuroscience taps into the brain’s subconscious reactions as well. This is critical: the subconscious is the motivating force behind many of our actions, including which brands we buy from.

To understand the effectiveness of mobile advertising, the study (conducted in accordance with Nielsen’s proprietary methodology) compared native ads and banners, both placed in-feed. Nielsen worked with five premium advertisers, including Boeing, creating mock ads from similar creative elements that were optimized for each format. Study participants were shown a video simulating the experience of scrolling through an editorial feed. The feed was paused and the participants were shown either a native ad or an in-feed banner. Using a combination of EEG data— measurements of neural activity in the brain—and eye tracking, Nielsen quantified where and how the participants’ focus was being directed.

Sharethrough native ads ()

Things you’ll learn from The Science Behind Why Native Ads Work:

  • Why we’re reading more than ever
  • Native ads get 2X more focus than banners
  • Native ads are effective because they require the use of the entire brain

Check out the interactive microsite here.

Find the full neuroscience report published by Sharethrough & Nielsen here.

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