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Direct mail ads beating Digital ads?

A recent study carried out by Temple University has found that Direct Mail ads top Digital Media for engagement time, recall and final purchase decisions.

The study found Direct Mail ads to be far superior to those viewed online in 8 out of 9 categories.  Digital ads grabbed the attention of customers quicker. However, direct mail ads held attention longer, elicited a greater emotional reaction and played a more direct role in the final purchase decision.

40 Digital ads and Direct Mail ads were carried out. To track results, there were three monitoring methods. Eye tracking measured visual attention; fingertip sensors monitored heart rate, respiration, and sweating to reveal emotional engagement; and MRIs performed scans to uncover deep brain activity.

Direct Mail was superior to Digital in 4 of 9 attributes measured: engagement time, emotional reaction, recall and building subconscious desires for a product or service. Digital ads led in just one attribute: focusing a customer’s attention. The two tied in three areas see below:

Chart 1

During the study, MRI scans found that Direct Mail triggers a part of the brain. This is linked to desirability and value. Based on that, the researchers concluded that Direct Mail has a deeper, longer lasting effect than Digital adverts.

Based on the above results, we have suggested ways in making better use of Direct Mail in the marketing mix:

Test the Piece for Maximum Reaction

Take neuromarketing a step further by doing your own studies to determine how specific elements of a Direct Mail piece. Whether colour, shape, or use of white space — elicits the best reaction from consumers.

Explore Sequencing Options

Another option is Neuroscience. This would determine the most effective sequence of media elements in a campaign. Does email followed by direct mail work best, or vice versa?

Consider Digital Print Technology

Test whether using augmented reality or QR codes in mail pieces ramps up conversion rates in multichannel campaigns. A previous study found that such methods resonated well with younger digital natives.

However, similar results were handed down in 2009. It too found that physical media generated deeper brain activity than digital media.