Shoppers will engage with advertising when happy and responsive

25 November, 2010

LONDON — Shoppers respond better to digital advertising in larger malls because they are consistently happier and more engaged, according to the second wave of the groundbreaking digital malls study from lifestyle and environments network Kinetic Worldwide and Clear Channel Outdoor.

The latest instalment of face-tracking research into consumer moods and engagement was conducted at Westfield Merry Hill, West Midlands - a huge retail and leisure destination ranked in the top five malls nationally . The new research progresses an earlier study in January which was conducted in Westfield Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells – a smaller mall in a commuter town.

The study showed that young people (16-24) were found to engage with ads for longer than older shoppers, particularly if they felt an affinity for the brand. Meanwhile digital advertisements for youth brands were looked at for more than twice as long as untargeted ads. In general the public was happier and more engaged in the larger mall regardless of time of day or day of week.

Cutting-edge face-tracking technology from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute – inventors of the revolutionary MP3 audio format – was employed over seven days on a Clear Channel digital screen to capture shoppers’ expressions or moods and contact duration, as well as their gender and approximate age. The camera was also able to detect recurring views, recording multiple viewings by the same person.

The duration and quality of people’s engagement is linked to the size and breadth of offering within the mall. The initial study showed engagement levels differed significantly at the weekend to the week, and towards the end of the day. However, in the top-five mall people were in a consistent mindset throughout their visit, remaining engaged all day and during both the week and weekend.

The research found that contact duration and mood states differed by age and gender, but recorded that younger people looked for longest and, perhaps unsurprisingly, women were generally happier than men in the malls.

Younger shoppers looked at the digital ads for 5.8 seconds on average, 2.6 seconds longer than the next nearest age group, 35-44s. The overall average across all age groups was more than six times the Postar definition of conscious engagement.

The camera detected different levels of happiness and net ‘feelgood factor’ which was highest among 16-24s and when shoppers were viewing the ads for H&M and BlackBerry Messenger, suggesting an emotional connection is important in driving mood.

The research also revealed that the presence of animation offers a clear impact benefit. However, full video is slightly less effective than the dynamic images now being widely used by advertisers.

Shopping malls are very popular for Christmas shopping and 45% of people genuinely love the shopping experience. And while November is the most popular month for Christmas shopping, with a third of consumers likely to have started their shopping by then, visits to shopping centres also double in December.

Figures also indicate that 54% of people will spend the same or more on presents for Christmas this year and that 66% are planning to make a big purchase before the 2.5% VAT increase in January 2011.

Nick Mawditt, Global Director of Marketing and Insight at Kinetic, said: “By repeating this ground-breaking face-tracking technology in a larger destination mall we have discovered a consistency in mood and engagement levels that is invaluable knowledge for advertisers. Once people are inside the mall they are in a positive mindset which they remain in throughout the duration of their stay in that environment.”

Pip Hainsworth, Marketing Director at Clear Channel, added: “Proximity to the point of purchase combined with the ability to tap into positive moods and mindsets makes the shopping mall the ultimate destination for advertisers. The flexibility and engagement that digital out-of-home offers our clients has been a huge step forward for our industry and this research is extremely important in providing insight into the type of creative executions that work best.”

Key learnings:
  • Engagement duration is linked to the experience, and is consistent at all times in larger malls
  • Younger audiences look for longer, particularly if they feel an affinity for the brand
  • Shoppers are generally happy, responsive and positive in the mall environment
  • Women are generally happier than men in malls, and younger people much more happy and engaged
  • Increasing animation leads to more impact – but degree of movement is critical

1 Trevor Wood Associates
2 Kinetic People Panel, October 2010
3 BCSC The Shopping Centre Industry Report
4 Kinetic People Panel, October 2010

For further information contact:

Kinetic Worldwide - Sarah Crawley-Boevey, PR Consultant
+44 (0)7979 964107

Clear Channel - Zoe Jones, Head of Communications
+44 (0)207 478 2946  

About Kinetic
Kinetic is the global leader in understanding how brands can connect with people’s lifestyles and the environments they engage with. A NewCo company, fully owned by WPP, Kinetic’s expertise and insight helps deliver solutions for clients that achieve ambitious brand and marketing goals. Kinetic is traditionally an Out of Home media agency and in addition today delivers wide-ranging specialist expertise through its complementary service divisions including Joule, Aviator, Target Health, Destination Media Group, Kinetic People, Meta, ALCANCE, Zone and Hi Rezz. Kinetic employs over 800 professionals across 42 offices. The agency has global billings of US$4.4bn.  

About Clear Channel
Clear Channel is the world’s largest out-of-home advertising company, part of Clear Channel Communications, a global media and entertainment company. Our portfolio of close to one million displays delivers intelligent, effective and creative media campaigns in 44 countries across five continents. In the UK we provide more than 60,000 advertising opportunities across our premium Pinnacle division, billboards, street furniture, digital networks, shopping malls and Sainsbury's panels. Innovation, flexibility and accountability lie at the heart of our business and ensure we are best placed to deliver any target audience as effectively as possible.  
Twitter: @clearchanneluk

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