LONDON: Three quarters of consumers who have been exposed to digital ads do not recall seeing them, according to a meta-study which casts doubt on the effectiveness of traditional ad measurement techniques.

On Device Research, the brand effectiveness company, analysed 3,000 consumer responses from ten digital ad impact studies across seven advertiser categories, and reported that 76% of people who the research specialists knew had been shown ads, did not remember viewing them.

When it then isolated the exposed research respondents into Active Recall vs Passive Exposure sub groups, it found that consumers exposed to digital ads but unable to recall seeing them still recorded an uplift in Unaided Brand Awareness of 10.2% and an increase in Purchase Intent of 1.6%.

Further, uplifts were seen in Top of Mind Awareness (5.9%) and in Brand Consideration (2.3%).

On Device Research concluded that digital ads have a passive impact across all brand metrics regardless of ad recall.

And in those cases where consumers were able to actively recall ads, it found “a significant brand multiplier effect”.

Consumers who actively recall ads reported awareness metrics three times higher than passive consumers, whilst there was a six times greater shift in Brand Consideration and a seventeen times greater shift in Purchase Intent.

One possible reason is that those consumers who actively recalled seeing an ad were more likely to be existing brand customers – since being an existing customer is likely to prime consumers towards a brand’s marketing communications.

Alistair Hill, On Device Research CEO, remarked that most ad measurement continues to rely on imperfect human memory to recall ad exposure, and so ignores the effect of advertising on those who do not actively recall seeing an ad.

“In doing so, total campaign brand impact is under-estimated,” he said. “To address this issue, it is essential the research industry embraces passive ad measurement, to ensure advertisers are obtaining a true picture of ad effectiveness”.

Sourced from On Device Research; additional content by WARC staff