Influencer advertisements have a definitive edge over ads on television, Facebook, and YouTube, according to a recently released study commissioned by influencer marketing agency Whalar.
The research, which Whalar claims is the world’s first neuroscience study on influencers, is titled ‘The Science of Influencers’ and has been conducted by Neuro-Insight (a market research company that uses brain-imaging tech to measure the brain’s response to communications).
“Influencers are growing incredibly quickly, and Whalar recognised the need to not only understand what is driving this and how it can benefit brands, but also the huge merit in looking beyond conscious responses,” said Neuro-Insight CEO Shazia Ginai.
The study, which aimed to analyse the power of influencers, sought to answer one basic question – ‘why do influencers work.’ To do this, it used Steady State Topography (SST) – a technology used by Neuro-Insight – which uses headsets to measure consumers’ brain waves when they interact with content, providing unique insight into their real-time responses.
To answer the set question, the study compared influencer ads with TV, Facebook, and YouTube ads based on two criteria – their ability to evoke intense emotion, and create strong memories. The study was conducted using 187 participants, who were all regular users of Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. These respondents were made to wear headsets which measured their brain activity (their emotional valence and memory encoding, to be specific) while they viewed influencer, TV, Facebook, and YouTube ads.
The results revealed that influencer ads were 277% more emotionally intense as compared to TV ads, and were also 87% more memorable. Influencer ads were also 64% more emotionally intense and 182% more memorable than Facebook ads. In addition, influencer ads generated 28% more emotional intensity and 73% more memory encoding than YouTube ads.
The results also showed that influencer ads prime consumers to respond well to ads on other mediums. According to the study, if consumers viewed an influencer ad before they viewed a TV, Facebook or YouTube ad for the same product/service, they were 58% more likely to feel positively towards the ad on TV/Facebook/YouTube, and 47% more likely to remember it.
Overall, the study indicates that influencer ads are an immensely powerful and essential tool for marketing campaigns, and may overtake other more traditional and established mediums.
“… the priming effect of influencers on TV, Facebook and YouTube is huge,” observed Ian Forrester, SVP, research and analytics at Whalar. “Without first being primed by influencers, responses to TV, Facebook and YouTube ads were generally negative, and after being primed by influencers they were positive. This is a massive shift, indicative that influencers should play a pivotal role in campaign strategy and media mix.”