By using brain scans and eye-tracking software, neuromarketing has been able to provide new insights for designing powerful print ads. New research provides useful hints for creating an impactful advertising campaign.

The insights noted below are presented by the research company Validators. The agency has developed methods to explore the impact of an advertisement before publication. On the basis of passive measurements, the agency makes recommendations to optimise the impact of the final campaign.

Less is more

The outcome illustrated by three advertisements shows that simplicity pays off. The rule of thumb is that an ad has only two seconds to get a message across. Therefore, if possible, use only one visual in an advertisement. Also, be as thrifty as possible with text.

Nike ads combine a powerful visual with minimal text.
Nike ads combine a powerful visual with minimal text.

Many advertisers tend to put too many messages and images in one creative. The example of the Nike creative shows an unmissable message. In general, this brand is strong in the consistent use of its logo and font. It only takes a fraction of a second to recognise the brand and the product.

People and faces

People like to look at other people. Real people in advertisements, therefore, deliver instant attention. By displaying a specific person, an advertisement is almost automatically noticed in the frame.

People in advertisements attract attention, but be mindful of the direction in which models face.
People in advertisements attract attention, but be mindful of the direction in which models face.

When preparing a print campaign, make sure you pick the right picture. When selecting the image, pay attention to the viewing direction of the photo model. Readers tend to look at the eyes. Therefore, make sure the main message of the ad is placed close to the face or, alternatively, in the viewing direction of the model. The research agency has been able to improve the impact of various advertising campaigns simply by adapting the layout with this rule of thumb.

When the model does not face the audience, be sure she is facing your message.
When the model does not face the audience, be sure she is facing your message.

Other recommendations for more impact relate to the font, logo, and contrast. Readers need more time to compute copy in capital letters. Knowing this, you should avoid long texts in capital letters in advertisements. The same goes for italic letters.

Also make sure you use a creative with a lot of contrast. This ensures quick message processing.

The logo of the brand also plays an important role in the message transfer. In this video (in Dutch) the neuromarketers give insights about the placement of this element.

About the method

Eye tracking measures the reading behaviour by recording 50 times per second. The fixation points of readers are shown in this type of analysis. With this technique, it is possible to measure exactly those campaign elements that succeed in attracting attention. The viewing pattern of the target audience is reported as well.