How to Think Like a Marketing Expert: Ad Processing

How to Think Like a Marketing Expert: Ad Processing. Do you have a hard time explaining why graphic design is crucial for successful advertising? These are the 7 ways graphic design boosts ad processing.Do you sometimes have difficulty explaining why graphic design is crucial for successful advertising? Maybe you don’t explain your designs in terms marketing experts use? 

One such marketing term is “ad processing.”

Simply speaking, ad processing refers to the ad’s immediate ability to grab, keep and direct attention, evoke emotions and teach simple facts. Processing only concerns the particular ad and it happens in short-term memory.

And guess what! Good graphic design is crucial for boosting processing of ads. This is how:
 

Graphic Design Attracts Attention

Visuals grab attention. Visuals, especially images, are processed before words.

 “The pictorial is superior in capturing attention, independent of its size.”

Attention Capture and Transfer in Advertising : Brand, Pictorial, and Text-Size Effects, Rik Pieters & Michel Wedel

 

Graphic Design Directs Attention

Graphic design guides the eye to information in a planned order by establishing a visual hierarchy.

“…the best-liked advertisements had few, but informative, focal points. On the other hand, the least liked advertisements had no specific focal point but multiple points spread across the entire page, which confused the participants and generally made the advertisements less memorable and less effective,”

Attention in Advertising,” Louis Perrotta/Michael Vito

 

Graphic Design Holds Attention

The more compelling the ad looks at first glance the more likely it will be that the buyer will dive deeper into its main content/copy. Even a simple text enhanced by visual elements, e.g. colors or bullet points, holds attention longer.

 “What does make a difference? Turns out that reading a nicely designed story can spark creativity and helps you get immersed in what you’re reading,”

Kevin Larson, psychologist and researcher, Microsoft

 

Graphic Design Improves Understanding

Visuals increase comprehension more than words alone. Visual elements like signs, icons, schematics, illustrations, charts and infographics help people to understand complex ideas and make sense of large amounts of data.

“Graphics do what text alone cannot do. Without graphics, an idea may be lost in a sea of words. Without words, a graphic may be lost to ambiguity.”

Robert E. Horn, Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information

“[At least] 65% of the population are visual learners.”

True or False? Visuals are a Superior Medium for Information 

 

Graphic Design Speeds up Ad Processing

Visuals, especially images, are processed much faster than words. Our brain processes visual data all at once, while it processes text in a much slower, linear fashion.

“MIT neuroscientists find the brain can identify images seen for as little as 0,013 seconds.”

In the Blink of an Eye, MIT News.

“The US average reading speed is 5 words per second.”

Do You Read Fast Enough to Be Successful? Forbes 

 

Graphic Design Keeps It in Memory

Visuals, especially images, are more easily remembered than verbal information.

“Pictures have a well-known superiority over words when it comes to learning […] Long-term visual memory, unlike long-term verbal memory, appears to have virtually unlimited capacity, deteriorates very slowly, if at all…”

Visual Imagery: Applications to Advertising, John R. Rossiter.

 

Graphic Design Alters Moods

A pleasing layout, photo, colors and other visual elements induces a good mood.

“…good typography induces a good mood.”

The Aesthetics of Reading, by Kevin Larson (Microsoft) & Rosalind Picard (MIT) 

 

Conclusions

Good graphic design boosts ad processing.

Boosted ad processing means (for the same amount of advertising dollars):

  • More will notice it
  • More will read it
  • More will understand it
  • More will remember it
  • More will like it

All of the above are crucial preconditions for the next step: Long term communication effects.

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2 Responses to How to Think Like a Marketing Expert: Ad Processing

  1. Mark Armstrong September 12, 2014 at 5:19 am #

    A wonderful post, Tomas, thank you.

    “The power of visuals” has become almost a cliche– and that’s unfortunate. But what you’ve done here is give it flesh and bones– really made the power and importance of graphics come to life. Beautifully researched and presented, loved the supporting quotes for each of your points.

    And what’s true for ads is true for any message: a compelling graphic gives it a focal point, captures attention, and stores the message in a reader’s long-term visual memory. Messages without good visuals are at a significant disadvantage.

    Great job. All of us illustrators and visual artists owe you a debt of thanks.

    • Tomas Fransson September 17, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

      Hi Mark! Thanks for commenting!

      About clichés regarding the power of visual communication… When I researched this article I found one interesting claim repeated over and over:

      “We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text”

      I would have loved that to be true! However, there is no reliable source to be found for it (http://cogdogblog.com/2012/07/06/60000-times-question/)…

      An unscientific calculation of the proportion mentioned in the MIT & Forbes articles would suggest that our brain processes visuals roughly 15 times faster than text, and that’s powerful too.

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