Award winning end to 2018 for Data Stories



I’m delighted to announce that three client projects have been recognised with industry honours this year. Each one has been a pleasure to work on. If you’d like to learn more about how Data Stories can help harness award winning research for your business then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The time spent with social video ads matters more than ever: three to four seconds is optimum for driving purchase intent

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This article was first published on On Device Research are a mobile surveying and digital ad effectiveness research company with whom I work in my capacity as an independent data consultant. To find out more about On Device please get in touch.

On Device Research has today released findings from its social media effectiveness measurement solution that reveal the optimal video ad exposure time on social platforms is three to four seconds: a time frame in which both Brand Consideration and Purchase Intent are maximised, increasing by +4% and +6% respectively.

“Obviously we stopped wasting money on 30-second ads, and we’re designing ads to work in two seconds.”
Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G

It was little over a year ago that Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of the world’s biggest advertiser, made a rallying cry at DMEXCO for the digital ad industry to create the next generation of video ads. Citing the fact that only 20% of video ads are viewed for longer than two seconds, the need to drive brand impact in an ever shorter time frame in a medium where consumer attention is scarce, is more important than ever.

One year on, and having tested several video ads running in social platforms across 3,000 survey responses, On Device Research has seen a trend develop that highlights that while video ads in social environments can indeed have impact after just one to two seconds of viewing time, optimum brand impact is seen at just three to four seconds. At the three to four second mark, a +4% increase in brand consideration and a +6% increases in purchase intent has been recorded on average.

While previous industry research (such as this 2016 study) points to shorter video ads having an impact on smartphone, perceptions around the definition of “short” will increasingly fall in line with Marc Pritchard’s two-second claim if the trend seen in On Device’s data continues.

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It’s clear from the ads tested, that creative design is catching up with the reality around the attention consumers have for online video ads. With On Device Research’s Guide to Retail Marketing Effectiveness revealing that four fifths of consumers always or very often skip through video ads in social platforms, the importance of having immediate impact is again highlighted. Early and prominent branding and product shots are both commonalities of successful social video ads.

The debate around the role of social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram in the marketing mix, continues to rage on, as highlighted by the recent high profile disagreements between Mark Ritson and Gary Vaynerchuk. Either way, what is clear is that social video can drive brand impact throughout the branding funnel and that the time we spend with ads matters more than ever in terms of maximising impact.

The proven unconscious impact of digital advertising

On Device Research has released a report that highlights the unconscious impact of digital advertising. The findings reveal that consumers who have been exposed to digital ads but who don’t actively recall having seen them, still record uplifts across a range of brand metrics: from an average increase of +10.2% in Unaided Brand Awareness to +1.6% in Purchase Intent. In other words, digital advertising works, even though you may not know or remember having seen it.

The unconscious effect that advertising has on consumer attitudes and behaviours is a well-established assumption of marketing effectiveness. Daniel Kahneman’s often quoted book Thinking Fast and Slow highlights the role that the brain’s System 1 performs in driving fast automatic decisions at the unconscious level (unlike System 2, which focuses on conscious and rational decision making). Where advertising is concerned, it is System 1 processing that creates emotional brand associations and drives long term brand preferences.

An analysis of ten digital ad impact studies across seven advertiser categories and 3,000 consumer responses has enabled us to shed light on this issue. By tagging campaign creative and visualising digital exposure on our consumer panel we can compare brand metric scores among those who we know have seen an ad but don’t recall doing so, and those who we know have seen an ad and do recall doing so.

Our key findings are as follows:

1. Our memories are not perfect: Most people don’t recall the ads they have been exposed to. In fact 76% of people who we know have been exposed to test ads, claim that they haven’t seen them in the last 30 days. Brand impact therefore happens for most people passively, highlighting how important it is to measure alongside ad recall.

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2. Digital ads have impact passively: Those who don’t actively recall seeing test ads still drive brand metric uplifts throughout the purchase funnel vs those who we know definitely haven’t seen test ads. On average we see uplifts of +10.2% increase in Unaided Brand Awareness; +5.9% in Top of Mind Awareness; +2.3% in Brand Consideration; and +1.6% in Purchase Intent.

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3. Significant brand multiplier for actively recalled ads: Despite the fact that brand impact happens for most people at the passive level, when ads do cut through and are actively recalled they can drive a significantly higher impact. Amongst the 24% of our sample who actively recalled seeing the tests ads that they were exposed to, they drove shifts in awareness metrics three times higher than the passive exposure group; along with six times greater shifts in Brand Consideration and seventeen times greater shifts in Purchase Intent. Indicative analysis reveals that those who actively recall ads are far more likely to be existing brand customers, so while ad cut through matters, it is likely to be your existing customers who will be most primed to recall your ads.

4. Passive ad measurement matters: Much of ad measurement still relies on the imperfect human memory to record ad exposure. Many brand tracking studies and ad impact measurement solutions determine who has and who hasn’t seen advertising through simple ad recall questions which ignore the effect that advertising has on those who do not actively recall having seen an ad. To ignore the impact on those who do not actively recall ads results in an under-estimation of total campaign brand impact. Passive measurement should not just be confined to the digital space either. ACR (audio content recognition) technology can be used to measure TV and radio exposure, while geo-location data enables us to track exposure to out-of-home media.


Listen to the UK Guide to Retail Marketing Effectiveness

Listen to a reply of the On Device Research Guide to Retail Marketing Effectiveness report. In it I discuss:

  • The extent to which mobile now commands consumer attention vs linear TV.
  • The role that mobile plays in the retail path to purchase.
  • The impact of direct to consumer models on consumer shopping habits.
  • The role of emotion in driving brand impact.
  • Benchmark data on the impact of digital on retail brand building and store footfall.

On Device Research are a mobile surveying and digital ad effectiveness research company with whom I work in my capacity as an independent data consultant. To find out more about On Device please get in touch.

Royal Mail Market Reach launches JICMAIL powered insight engine

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JICMAIL is the youngest media planning currency in the industry, gaining new subscribers by the week. This free tool from Market Reach is an extremely useful way of accessing JICMAIL data and unpicking how consumers are interacting with DM and door drops with an accuracy never before seen. Give it a whirl at

Alongside my independent consultancy work, I act as Director of Data Leadership and Learning within JICMAIL. For information go to

Direct to consumer, mobile shopping and geo-location data all drive new digital opportunities for some of the UK’s biggest retailers


On Device Research has today released its UK Guide to Retail Marketing Effectiveness report, revealing that while some of the biggest names in UK grocery retail face more digital disruption than ever before, digital advertising had a significant role to play in building brands and driving store footfall.

Mergers, acquisitions, and continued structural changes to the retail landscape driven by ecommerce: the last twelve months have continued to place considerable competitive pressure on UK retailers. The rise of discounter supermarkets on one hand and direct to consumer models on the other hand, should both be viewed against a looming backdrop of Amazon’s ever-expanding footprint in the consumer path to purchase. Sainsbury’s and Asda took action by announcing a merger in April of this year, while rumours swirl of an Amazon Morrison’s acquisition.

Never has there been a greater role for marketers in applying the power of digital to retail brand building, and as a result, the measurement of marketing effectiveness has never been more important. Digital has had a rough ride over the past few years with justifiable accusations that much effectiveness data sits behind walled gardens. At the same time the industry keeps talking about the value of long term brand building online, while still getting caught up using basic short term behavioural metrics such as click through rates. However, the digital opportunity for retailers is far greater than that measured by a simple click: it can build brands and drive store footfall.

Mental availability and measuring brand impact

To understand the value of digital advertising for retailers it’s important to understand the shifting nature of UK media consumption habits. As revealed in the report, mobile dominates consumer attention. 88% of our sample of UK consumers use the mobile internet daily, 87% use mobile apps and 72% watch online video. In comparison liner TV lags behind with just 68% viewing it daily.

With mobile commanding consumer attention, it is the ideal platform for growing mental availability by influencing brand consideration. Brand metrics tell us more about long term ad impact than clicks ever will and an analysis of On Device Research’s ad impact database reveals that digital retail ads can have impact throughout the funnel. Across 60 retail ads tested, and average uplift of +9.1% percentage points in Unaided Brand Awareness is seen following ad exposure, while further down the purchase funnel we can see an average uplift in Purchase Intent of +1.9%.

The UK Guide to Retail Marketing Effectiveness report further reveals that for those wanting to shift the dial on Purchase Intent for offline and online brands, driving a positive emotional response from consumers is vital. The emotion vs Purchase intent dynamic is one that entertainment, tech and consumer electronics brands have taken advantage of to great effect, but it’s an area in which retail brands need to work a lot harder.

Physical availability and measuring store footfall

Mobile doesn’t just dominate our media consumption habits, but also plays an increasing role in our shopping habits. 29% of UK consumers claim to have bought groceries on their mobile phone in the last three months, but even when a purchase isn’t fulfilled on a mobile device, mobile still plays a crucial role in the path to purchase. 55% use their mobile to check prices and 30% read product reviews when in store.

However, with the ONS reporting that 82% of retail sales still happen offline, it is important to acknowledge that digital is a channel not only for retailers to build brands, but for driving store footfall too. On Device Research and Location Science have combined mobile geo-location data and passive ad tracking technology to provide a clear picture of lower funnel impact, revealing an average 14.2% uplift in store footfall following digital ad exposure.

Different retailers face different challenges

Ultimately the disruption that digital brings to both mental and physical availability will vary by retailer, with each one presented with its own unique set of challenges. The report reveals that not only are Marks and Spencer food shoppers the least likely to be watching TV on a daily basis, but they are also the most likely to be shopping directly on a brand’s own website, bringing to light the potential impact that direct-to-consumer brands could start to have on the high street (23% of consumers claim to shop directly on brand’s websites). Lidl shoppers on the other hand claim that they are most likely to skip online video ads. With Lidl shoppers also claiming that they trust product recommendations from social media influencers more than any other supermarket shopper, clearly the ever-growing influence of online personalities in the path top purchase cannot be ignored either.

Ultimately, digital disruption creates huge digital ad opportunities for retailers. Measuring the end-to-end impact of digital in a framework that translates impact into actionable, optimisable learnings is vital, and this is a framework that On Device Research calls Return on Brand impact. Digital should not only be measured in isolation however. Ad recognition software allows to passively measure TV ad exposure, while geo-location data allows us to determine exposure to out of home ads. The building blocks are now well and truly in place to paint a true picture of marketing effectiveness for retail brands. To find out more, download a copy of the The UK Guide to Retail Marketing Effectiveness report here.

Mastering Digital Emotion: Entertainment, Tech & FMCG brands maximise the link between purchase intent & emotion

tech and emotion

This article was first published on On Device Research are a mobile surveying and digital ad effectiveness research company with whom I work in my capacity as an independent data consultant. To find out more about On Device please get in touch.

On Device Research has released new analysis from its database of over 330 brand impact studies to reveal which advertiser categories are making the most of the digital brand opportunity from both a purchase intent and emotional resonance perspective.

As we revealed in our last blog entry, the link between emotion and purchase intent in digital creative is a strong one. The seminal IPA study The long and short of it by Peter Field and Les Binet revealed that emotional advertising is twice as efficient as rational, and delivers twice the profit. Our own research reveals that the top 25% of campaigns in terms of emotional response deliver an average purchase intent uplift of over five percentage points higher than the bottom 25%, contributing to an understanding of the link between emotion and sales effectiveness in advertising.

From a category perspective, Tech & Consumer Electronics, Entertainment, and FMCG & Food and Drink brands are making the most of the link between emotion and purchase and are seeing digital brand activity drive above average scores across both metrics.

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The reasons will be varied, but Entertainment brands are selling products (e.g. films, TV shows) which implicitly demand emotional response and it is natural that their ad creative is doing the same. Similarly, FMCG is almost entirely dependent on brand building to combat the forces of commoditization and is a category featuring some of the most well-known brands in the world – brands which are experts in triggering emotions in consumers both consciously and subconsciously.

Finance is a notable underperformer in terms of capitalizing on the link between emotion and purchase. Finance ads are often duty-bound to deliver highly rational messages to consumers which leave little room for emotion, but the rewards if they do manage to resonate are plain to see.

For more information on the metrics that you should be using to measure and benchmark digital campaign impact, download the On Device Research Brand Advertisers’ Guide to Digital Effectiveness here.