Boosting brand visibility with AOIs

Thomas Z. Ramsøy

August 10, 2020

With Predict's Areas of Interest (AOI) feature, it is now possible to make even better analyses and comparisons of your visual assets.

Visual attention is key to understanding customer psychology. After all, attention works like a gatekeeper to a dinner party: if you don't get through the door, you won't get to the feast!

In the same way, visual attention is a gatekeeper for all other types of responses. A stimulus that goes on unnoticed will not trigger an emotional response or any form of association. That's why attention is the new currency in today's modern society.

Now, Predict has a new tool: Areas of Interest (AOIs). This is a tool long used in eye-tracking studies. For ensuring that we could bring AOIs as a valid offer at Predict, a lot of footwork had to be put in.

Above is an example of the AOI tool overlaid on the saliency heatmap. Here, you can see how the main text gets the most amount of attention, while the Estée Lauder brand only gets 3% attention. The products also receive only a little attention, around 11%. To see how this can be improved, have a look further down in this article. This does, of course, intend on where you want attention to go first: product, brand, text, or models?

Some AOI analysis examples

So now that we have AOIs, what can you use it for? Let's take the example of improving brand attention.

One way to improve brand attention is to frame it. In the ad above, it was clear that the brand would not get any visual attention -- only around 3%. This means that people may remember the ad contents and perhaps the people in it, but they may miss that it was from Estée Lauder. They may remember that it was a cosmetics ad, but for the brand owner, this is a lost opportunity to stand out and differentiate.

What we have done is to run a few iterations on the design with Predict AOI tests. After only 10 minutes, we identified a design version with a frame around the brand lead to an increase in brand attention:

A slightly updated version of the ad to focus more on branding is seen above. Here, a framing around the brand name was added, while reducing the saliency of the text area slightly.

As this image shows, brand attention went from 3% to 9%. That's a tripling of brand attention, done in only 10 minutes! How often can you say that you have a solution to reliably do this?

Sure, 9% is still not optimal, so further changes could look at ways of reducing the text. Here, priority is key: what you want to have people focus on is what you should get the heat map on. What is secondary (while still important) has to take second or third place. In the present ad, it might be good that customers will see "Double wear Nude SPF 30", but for them to feel a desire to purchase, you should connect it to the brand or the products, or both. Neither the products or brand gets much attention, so we'd have to rely on that customers understand and remember "Double Wear Nude SPF 30."

Setting your priorities

So here's what you need to ask yourself: what is most important that people see first and most? Here are some thoughts:

  • Brand focus -- If your brand is strong, then the brand imbues value to the product. If your brand strategy is to build the brand and be top of mind, then brand is the most important aspect. Whether people understand the ad or not, it's actually most important that they see the brand.
  • Product focus -- If the product is key, it will depend on whether your brand is strong or not. If you are launching a product from an existing strong brand, a focus on the brand is also important. Make the brand-product connection, which will give the product a higher value. If the brand is relatively unknown, the product should be key, and possibly with a key asset and association word to go with it. Here, the brand should be secondary.
  • Influencer focus -- Using influencers is often a risk. As shown in the Neurons Academy course "Advanced Neuromarketing," we often see that influencers are actually attracting attention away from the brand. This means that viewers will remember the influencer but forget which brand it was for. Thus, in general, use influencers as a secondary asset and not the primary goal of attention.

These and other findings are very much in line with studies that have been run using hardware-enabled eye-tracking and EEG studies.

Just to demonstrate the point again, a 5 minutes editing of this Honda ad moved attention to the brand from 2% to 9%. Again, much can be done to improve the branding even more, but if 5 minutes can move the needle this much, how much could an hour move? Here again, iterative testing is the key: redesign, test, redesign, test.

New ad

Here, you can see how 5 minutes can change brand attention in an ad by 350%! On the left side is the original ad, where the bottom brand gets 0% attention and the top left gets only 2%. Nobody will connect the ad to the brand. On the right side is a slightly edited version, which was made in only 5 minutes. In this short time, after trying a few iterations, it was clear that a larger ad in the top right corner would get 9% attention.

Now, it's time for you to try out the new AOI feature in Predict. If you don't already have an account, sign up for one now.

Boosting brand visibility with AOIs

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