New Formats: A Price Worth Paying?
The IAB’s Rising Stars formats were selected for their potential to drive brand equity at scale. But marketers and planners want to know how they compare to the current ‘go-to’ standard formats for branding at scale such as the MPU.
Why? Because nowadays it is all about ROI not risk. The new formats are more expensive to buy, so the market needs evidence to justify that price premium and discover their true value in brand storytelling.
What we did
We recruited three groups of 600 people.
- Group 1: exposed to the premium formats
- Group 2: exposed the same campaign, but in standard formats (MPUs)
- Group 3: the control group, exposed to completely unrelated campaigns in standard formats
Our 1,800 people tested a handful of premium format creative that have run on the MSN Homepage in the UK: 3 x Billboard ads, 4 x Filmstrip ads and 1 x Pushdown ad.
The study took place over two sessions. The first session was positioned as a ‘User Experience’ questionnaire, with the second session taking place three days later. The second session was about the sector related to the advertising that they had the opportunity to see during the first session. E.g. if they saw an automotive creative, the second survey was about ‘car manufacturers’. It wasn’t explicit to respondents that we were really interested in their reactions to the advertising, and the three day delay gives a clear sense of what is truly remembered.
So let’s look at the recall metrics:
The premium formats are show to be more effective than the standard formats, especially in with regards to consideration (twice as effective, from 3% to 6%) and opinion (two-and-a-half times more effective than standard formats).
In terms of creative evaluation, the premium formats outperformed standard across all measures, especially in differentiation, click intent and purchase intent.
The uplifts here represent the increase in levels of agreement with statements. E.g. Click intention = agreement with the statement “This ad makes me want to click on it”.
The final piece measured respondents’ attention levels and areas of focus during the crucial first eight seconds after they land on the MSN Homepage.
The premium formats attract the attention of an additional 32% of MSN homepage visitors compared to the average of standard formats. Why?
Some of this will be down to the ‘shock of the new’ – consumers are not yet completely familiar with the premium formats. Premium formats are also larger, with enhanced functionality, enabling brands to deliver their stories in more imaginative, content-rich ways. By acting now, brands can capitalise on this differentiation, and the associated high levels of attention. And in the mid- to long-term, premium formats will be deliverable across many devices.
Finally – some advice. Our research found all the campaigns we tested delivered strong increases in attention levels. However not all campaigns successfully transformed the higher attention levels into strong brand uplifts. This tells us that creative execution remains fundamental for driving brand equity.
Download the Microsoft Advertising UK Premium Adformats Research PDF now
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